(the Eiffel Tower lights up in Belgium flag colours to show support after the Brussels bombing)
Paris, Turkey, Jakarta and now Brussels – more and more countries have been surfacing to the top of the news because of terrorist attacks.
The most recent attack was the Brussels bombing that occurred on 22nd March. At least 34 people have died and nearly 200 were injured in the terrorist attacks that struck both a subway station and an airport in Brussels at 8 am local time. According to a member of Brussels counter-terrorism task force, “Previously we were mostly dealing with ‘radical Islamists’ — individuals radicalized toward violence by an extremist interpretation of Islam — but now we’re increasingly dealing with what are best described as ‘Islamized radicals.’”
From the seemingly never ending increase in terrorist attacks, it is clear that something needs to be done in response to them.
As the highly controversial Donald Trump once remarked, “If they can expand the laws, I would do more than waterboarding [on terrorists]. You have to get information from these people and we have to be smart and tough.” This advocates the use of violence against terrorists, to the extent of torturing them to gain information.
Violence, even violence in the name of anti-terrorism should not be permitted. Even though terrorists do unjustified harm to many innocent people, we should not use violence to counter terrorism because it will only incite more anger of terrorist groups against countries and fuel their resolve to carry out more acts of terrorism.
How then should we effectively combat terrorism?
I believe that as citizens ourselves, we need to have the responsibility and maturity to keep our vigilance up during such times of rampant terrorism. After all, Singapore is not beyond being attacked by terrorists, as proven by the Yishun MRT bomb threat in 2001. We can do our part to keep our community safe by alerting the authorities if we see any suspicious behaviour. An example of this would be the US Department of Homeland Security has introduced the “if you see something, say something” campaign as part of public awareness. Furthermore, ISIS, one of the main terrorist groups organising terror attacks across the world, mostly recruits its members through the Internet. As such, I feel that we also need to have more cyber security, not allowing people with ill intentions to manipulate us or influence us negatively.
Terrorism may be on the rise, but if we do our part to make sure that terrorism does not spread in our society, I believe that we can make a significant impact on the world.
Soh Wen Shuen (4S)