If we are to ever succeed in bringing terrorism to an end, we must categorically denounce all acts of terrorism, no matter which side these acts are committed by and no matter whether they’re committed by non-state actors or nation-states.
The first-ever instance of terrorists blowing up a civilian airline was Cubana de Aviación Flight 455. In 1976, two bombs were planted on the plane, killing all 73 people on board. One of the four men who masterminded it all — a Cuban exile and former CIA agent — still lives in Florida is considered a hero by many. I remind you that it was President George W. Bush who said that Afghanistan’s crime was not 9/11 but giving sanctuary to the perpetrators.
Over the decades, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg have all made us aware of the barbaric acts of terrorism committed by the U.S. government. For instance, in recent years drones have been used in countless attacks against people suspected of being terrorists, but thousands of innocent people have also been killed, including guests at wedding parties. When first responders come on the scene to frantically treat the wounded, the drone often repeats the attack, obliterating the first responders.
In another case just weeks ago, the U.S. military bombed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders, which had provided the coordinates of the hospital to all combatants in the region in order to ensure that neither side attacked the hospital by mistake.
After the bombing began, hospital staff frantically contacted the American military to plead for them to stop. These pleas were ignored. Innocent patients and staff, including volunteer doctors from Doctors Without Borders were killed, many of them beheaded by exploding bombs. No one can deny that this was an act of terrorism.
Recently, Israeli undercover agents stormed a hospital in which a Palestinian was a patient. Without warrant or warning, they began interrogating the injured Palestinian in his bed. When the patient’s friend objected to the interrogation, he was shot dead and the Israeli secret service personnel fled. No one can deny that this was a barbaric act of terrorism.
These are just a few of the examples of “our side” committing acts of terrorism against “their side”. I fear that we have now descended into a vicious cycle of “tit for tat” with both sides committing barbaric acts of terrorism against the other.
Citizens of the world, no matter which “side” they are on, must unite in denouncing terrorism — no matter who is the perpetrator.