Terrorism - We sponsor it.
“Everyone’s worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there’s really an easy way: Stop participating in it.” Noam Chomsky
In 2008, when 10 men come into Bombay, they kill 163 people over three days, in the same three days, by the way, 1500 people died in road accidents.
In 2011, road accidents claimed one lakh eighty-six a thousand lives in India. That’s roughly about 20 people per hour.
So by the time, you will finish this piece, probably 3 more people would be dead because of road accidents.
We lost another half a million people, who were wounded because of road accidents.
In the same year, India lost millions of people because of malnutrition, because of safety features not being there in hospitals, because of spurious drugs, because of adulterated food.
Forbes estimates, 2.7 percent of our GDP was lost in the year 2011 because of road accidents. That’s a big number.
Just to put that in context, India’s entire health budget for the year 2011, was 1.19% of our GDP.
Realize that, we did spend an approx of 1.5% more than the allocated health budget of our GDP.
After the 26/11 attacks, not just in India but in several countries of the world, billions of dollars were spent to put in security measures in the aftermath of 26/11.
So each time you enter a 5-star Hotel and buy a cup of coffee, you pay a certain surcharge, which is added because of the number of people who have been employed to look after security.
We pay for terrorism on a daily basis.
Each time you buy a plane ticket, you are now paying for the surcharge that has been added, because of the number of hours, an aircraft can’t take off, because of the security measures that have been put in place.
Each time you travel on a road and there is a barricade, Each time you walk into a mall, you get scanned through security check-ups.
Think of children, who enters a mall and have to go through these security checks. It’s not about the amount of time they spend during these check-ups, it’s about their psyche, that is being developed.
“Both terrorism and insurance sell fear — and business is business.” Liam McCurry, Terminal Policy
Ironically all these security plans that are turned on after any terrorist attack happens, can never be turned off.
No committee can sit down and say, “you know what, it has been four years since 26/11, maybe we can do away with some of these security measures.”
That's never gonna happen.
Once a security measure has been put in place, it will be paid for, with your money, your taxpayer money, and that’s going to happen forever.
“Funny, for all surveillance, terrorists are still free and we’re not. Guess who’s winning the “war on terror?” Cory Doctorow.
So the next time when you feel you are personally not affected by terrorism, you should think about the answer very carefully.
Because terrorism is not about killing 163 people, it is about changing the way that you take billions of dollars out of your developmental budget, and put it in largely wasteful expenditure, because this is a non-productive investment.
It is going away from places where hospitals should be built, where education should be taken care of.
Million other things, that this money is required for expenditure is, completely wasted.
“Money that is been spend in the terrorism fight, is wasted rather invested.”
You might have heard this phrase every often, “zero-tolerance to terrorism.”
I’m sure you heard this bit, “We want zero tolerance for terrorism.”
It’s a nice macho statement to make, and leaders have to make this statement because that is the beast.
Terrorism is something that plays with the mind of the citizenry and leaders have to encash the fear and they have to make these Bluff — statements to say that we will have zero tolerance to terrorism.
Last year or the year before that or decades before that, there were several million dollars worth of goods that have been imported or exported illegally to India.
It ranges from drugs to spurious medicines to fake DVDs to pirated music to fake Louis Vuitton bags fake watches and many more. All of these things are available everywhere in the Delhi market and everywhere in Bombay as well.
Now the transport which brings these fake DVDs, fake Louie Vuitton bags, fake watches from the Far East, The ships that bring them, the containers that bring them, the ports where they land, and from those ports, the distribution channel which goes through, it is all illicit underground. right?
And, of course, these guys are bad and need to be punished.
But there is a reason why these pirated DVDs are brought here.
Do you want to take a guess what the reason is?
Its because people buy them. You and I buy them.
Now these very same conduits, the underground channels of distribution, the underground channels of communication of illegal transfer of funds, is the channel through which RDX can come in, explosives can come in, weapons can come in, and human trafficking can take place.
There is no way to have zero tolerance to terrorism in a society, that is tolerant of every other crime.
There is no way to say that I’m going to create an enclave of clean water in a polluted river.
It can’t work.
So if you want to have, zero tolerance to terrorism or any crime, then you have to become highly intolerant of every other crime as well.
Because there is no way for Security Forces to decide that this particular container carrying fake Louis Vuitton bags can be allowed to go through because it is not carrying any RDX in it.
There’s no way to determine that.
One more misunderstanding of a common man is this belief, that there is a silver CCTV bullet out there somewhere and that’s the fascinating thing about security and terrorism especially.
Normally if there is a sort of a pandemic like ongoing corona, then doctors come on TV channels, specialists come and they give you advice on what to do what not to do and most of us follow it.
But the moment there is a bomb blast, even page three celebrities turn experts in counter-terror overnight.
People are so afraid, that they want to participate in this battle against terror and they will immediately jump in and say we need to buy more CCTV, more bulletproof jackets, we need to put more boots on the ground.
Now every society including us has got a certain ratio between people, who are economically producing economic stuff and people who are dependent on them, who are not doing anything economically.
Now each time you ask for more battalions to be raised, more troops to be created, essentially you’re skewing this ratio.
Of course, these young educated able-bodied men, with 20–25 years of career ahead of them, are doing a great job protecting our country.
But they are being removed from an economically productive function and being put into a function which is largely carrying pieces of metal and standing on the roads all over the place.
Standing in front of the mall, standing in front of theatres, standing in front of campuses.
You must know that the security industry is the second largest employer of men and women in the country today just behind manufacturing.
So in the last five to six years, that one 26/11 attack has effectively worked debilitating India’s economy, and it’s largely because people ask for more boots, more CCTVs, more gadgets, more bulletproof vehicles.
So this thinking, that somehow by adding more tools and more technology you will solve terrorism is actually a myth.
“The greatest danger of a terrorist’s bomb is in the explosion of stupidity that it provokes.” Octave Mirbeau.
To think about solving terrorism or to think about understanding terrorism, a good sort of analogy is to think about terrorism as a disease and society as a patient.
Now, this is not a disease where specialists can lay down the patient on the table, do surgery, remove the tumor, stitch them up, and say go on on your way.
It’s not that kind of disease.
This is an ailment that is a result of several years of neglect, of ignoring fundamental issues, of not tackling the root causes when they should have been tackled.
This is a disease that can be only cured by physiotherapy.
And those of you undergone physiotherapy, will know that a very good physiotherapist can advise you, he can counsel you, he can design a program with you, he can even come in the morning and wake you up, tell you what kind of shoes to wear, what kind of shots to wear and tell you how to run but the running has to be done by the patient and not by the specialist.
It doesn’t matter how many commando battalions you race to do running for you, the society is not going to improve.
Because this is physiotherapy and not surgery.
Finally, I want to leave you with just three thoughts.
The first thought as I mentioned in the beginning, all of us who think that terrorism is something that happens once in a while and doesn’t affect us personally is complete nonsense. It affects each and every one of us.
Second, You cannot have zero tolerance to one set of crime alone. It has to be zero tolerance across the spectrum.
And the last is, this is an exercise this is a disease which has to be cured by the patient not by the specialist because this is physiotherapy and not surgery.