War on terror: Pay for security or die as hyenas guard the meat market
Posted Tuesday, October 1 2013 at 01:00
We definitely are in for endless conversations following the unfortunate terrorist attack on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall in which close to 70 people were confirmed dead, scores injured and many more are still missing.
What we are sure of is that these deadly incidents are not about to end whatever the effort we put in to curb them. The terrorist agenda is premised on many factors that are not about to go away. There are quarrels about the alleged injustice meted out to Muslims in Palestine by Israel with the sticking point being the land on which the Jewish State has sat since 1948.
Over the years, hostilities have grown out of this controversy, leading to the birth of militant and extreme Islam that has grown in leaps and bounds from Palestine, Yemen, Syria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Algeria, Mali, etc.
The basis of this streak of Islam is that the world is conspiring to at least desecrate the Great Faith of Allah or at most get rid of it all together. Some Muslims have taken it upon themselves to protect the Great Faith by fighting back.
The groups like the Black September Movement, Fatah, Al Qaeda, Boko Haram and Al Shaabab recruit mainly young people - some unemployed and hopeless, indoctrinate them to appreciate the notion that there is nothing as fulfilling as killing in the name of Islam.
These young people end up carrying out suicide attacks with the promise of glory in heaven and that this martyrdom is the highest honour and glory for any Muslim. This promise in some versions includes a reward of seven virgins with firm breasts!
(It is important to note that not all terrorist groups are associated with Islam. The Irish Republican Army, ETA, Ku Klux Klan, The Lord’s Resistance Army, etc. Also that not all Muslims believe in terror or are advocates of the same.
For example, one of the heros of the Westgate attack who saved many lives while risking his own was a Muslim Kenyan citizen of Somali origin, Abdul Haji. Also that many Muslims, especially those who are thought to be too liberal or unsympathetic to the cause of extreme Islam, have been victims of terrorists the world over.)
The point here is that there are people who will always try to make a statement by engaging in surprise attacks that lead to indiscriminate mass killings, destruction and mayhem to society which they feel has wronged them.
While the debates go on and the high sounding promises to fight terrorists are sounded, the most urgent thing is how to prevent the next deadly incident because the ‘supply side’ of terror is not about to grind to a halt.
In fact, we can be assured that it is on the increase as the world brings forth more marginalised people. Many more will find a rallying point in the response to terror that at times goes wrong. The cases of mistreatment of inmates at Guantanamo Bay, the maltreatment of Muslims in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan, the collateral damage from US drone attacks, etc.
In a country like Uganda, the challenge is great. Most of the people who work in the security apparatus, be it private guard or the regular police, are poorly paid and facilitated. Many times those who man the gates at public places like malls are reduced to begging for ‘water’ and ‘cigarettes’ from the people they are supposed to search and ensure that they are not dangerous.
At Westgate, many of the shops that sell electronics and jewellery, a bank and casino, reported looting after the siege, which says something about the security operatives. One has been arrested and charged with being in possession of a blood stained wallet and credit cards, possibly taken from a dead or injured victim.
Guards who are pre-occupied with thoughts about school fees for their children and the next meal, are a liability in these times of terror. They are like hyenas guarding a meat market. It is not safe at all. We do not know how many people they will let through with arms or if they will not accept money to give cover to terrorists.
The material care and financial reward for security operatives, be they private guards, policemen or army men is now more than ever, a serious priority.