TERRORISM - A POLITICAL CANCER
Think of the terrorist as a cancer cell. That might help to reframe, if not answer, the agonized questions we keep asking ourselves. What constitutes a terrorist? What madness, what violent range, can cause human being to turn himself into a bomber, killing himself along with his targeted victims, as wed as innocent bystanders? What chemistry of misplaced idealism of reutilization of spirit can create such a fury in the blood? More Importantly, how do we the civilized, the law abiding, protect ourselves from such an Implacable nemesis?

Such questions have been asked before and will now be asked again with renewed urgency, Is the terrorist insane? -If so, how do we defend ourselves against his insanity? Is he a self-styled martyr seeking self-actualization?

Convention?! methods of defence armaments and stringent anti-terrorist laws don\'t seem to work. If anything, they make matters worse. Whether it is Palestine, Sri Lanka, New York City, Kashmir and now Karachi. The fireball of terrorism seems able !o erupt at will And if seemingly quenched In one spot, it bursts out another with recrudescent ferocity, No "Enduring Freedom" no National Missile Defence, no USA Patriot Act can provide a remedy for terrorism. And the more technologies! Advanced and interlinked the global community becomes, the more vulnerable ft is to terrorist attack. The World Trade Center holocaust was directly aided and abetted by high-density sky-scraper architecture; the Anthrax scare by the development of the virus by US laboratories In the 1950s.

Terrorism is not born in vaccum. We breed the terrorism we suffer, as we breed the disease of cancer in our bodies, Cancer, like cancer disease, is a life style manifestation. We cause our own cancer by creating a life style, an environment that Is carcinogenic. We smoke, we drink, increase our stress loads, then when the Big C hits us, we wonder why. How could It happen to me?

Think of terrorism as the political equivalent of cancer. If the International community has, in various trouble spots, created an environment where Individuals or group have In fact or perception been Increasingly marginalized, politically, socially, or economically, it has laid the foundation for the genesis of ideological cancer ceils, which will grow, and spread, and metastasise and spring up In unexpected parts of the world: stamp ft out In Afghanistan, it can flare in Jerusalem, of Chechnya or Washington or London or Karachi

Like medical cancer, terrorist cancer can metamorphose Into different terrorist fronts of the same disease. The links between different terrorist groups in different parts of the world and with ostensibly different agendas is well established. If terrorism is indeed a life-style disease, neither the political equivalent of the scalpel or of chemotheraphy, neither military action nor draconian legislative counter assault will be of much help. Unless the disease Is surgically rooted out In Its entirely— a near impossibility considering the collusive nature of the quarry- It will crop up again. Chemotherapy in the from of ordinances like USA Patriot, will only circumscribe democratic space without enhancing security.

Prevention, by way of life-style adjustments and regular checkups, Is said to be the best cure for medical cancer. Those responsible for the health of our polity might do worse than take a leaf of such prescriptions. Go beyond the symptoms, find out what you live so as not to encourage the growth of the disease. Have your check-ups, gather intelligence, take appropriate remedial action in the affected area. Most importantly, change the conditions which cause such malignant growths. Like the fight against cancer, the fight against the big "T" requires courage, stamina, We capacity to withstand pain and, most of all, faith. Faith that we can beat it, because we must for if we don\'t, it will beat us, by turning us into itself.