The suicide bombings in Kampala Sunday night are not an escalation, but a continuation of the terror the world has always suffered.
In the midst of this recent horror, it’s critical to realize that terrorism is a part of our ordinary lives. Americans have this subconscious absurd notion that there wasn’t terror before 9-11.
Yet we remember with grief and horror:
A generation ago when in one year, 1985, the Achille Lauro cruise ship hijacking and the hijacking of TWA in Cairo. Three years later, the Pan Am disaster over Lockerbie. 1995 was the horrible Oklahoma federal bombing by Timothy McVeigh, followed a year later by the tragic Olympic bombings on July 27 during the summer Olympics in Atlanta. Two years later the twin bombings of our embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam. All of these preceded 9/11. And, of course, it didn’t stop: then the Smiley-Face mailbox bomber on May 9, 2002.. On July 7, 2005, the infamous 7-7 city bombings in London when 52 people were killed during rush hour.
And this doesn’t even begin to list the IRA/British terrorism, the terrorism in the Balkans, Palestine, South Africa, the thousands killed in Argentina terror….
What’s the point in this list? This list of hurt and suffering?
There are wicked people out there, and always have been. But modern technology has empowered them in ways never experienced before our own life times. And this isn’t just the technology of weapons; the technology of faster communication is just as important.
Messages transmitted and then acted upon by wicked destruction. This is a late 20th and 21st century phenomenon.
Americans may think they have suffered one of the most grievous of the attacks, but that could be because we just have more of the larger things to attack. The whole world suffers from terrorism.
And right now, Americans’ response is wrong.
You cannot fight terrorism with a military. It just won’t work. Britain’s arduous and troublesome approach to Northern Ireland seems to have worked, but it takes a patience Americans don’t seem to have, and a memory of history most of us were never taught.
And the Argentinian’s solution also seemed to work: and that took a generation. And the South African’s worked: and that took forgiveness.
The solutions to terrorism are patience, forgiveness, sensitivity to why the wicked have become wicked and attempts to remedy the social negligences from which terrorists arise.
That’s a long and tortuous path. But such a hazard if we just think we can resort to the gun.