Paris Attack Lessons not Learnt


Dr. Umesh Kumar Bhattarai


Islam was propounded by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia. Those who follow Islam are called Muslims. Muslims believe that there is only one God. For Muslims, word for God is Allah. Islam was developed as a new faith to the people of Arabia around 6th century.


Why nations fail is a main question for social scientists as every nation claims that it is the welfare state and guarantees the democracy and freedom to its citizenry. Basically, the democracy is imprisoned by the elites mainly in the developing countries whose regimes are captured in the name of democracy. In the quest of nation-states, the Europeans fought many revolutions to amalgamate emotion and justice within the society in order to guarantee rights of the people so as Asians and Americans in the later dates. Africa and the Middle East are the newest to fight against colonial powers of the Europe whose resources were the lucrative items for them whether it was precious metal or stone such as gold or diamond and the fossil fuel to run their power engines.

Philosophy- A Base to Stability

‘Idealism’ denotes a type of philosophy that an individual or group of individuals follow under the domain of a certain religion or the community. As per Plato, idealism suggests to hold to the reality or objectivity of ‘ideas’. His philosophy was understood as the thoughts of the divine mind for which matter and mind are attributable to one substance. Similarly, Hegal philosophy is based on activity of thought, a self-enclosed and self-sufficient whose purpose is to clarify what has happened. His philosophical goal is to understand ‘the world comes to self-consciousness and man rests in God’.

Likewise, culture is the outcome of early schooling and the philosophy developed in a human being. The individuals are all the time influenced by some persons whom he/she likes most, but every time he fights for or defends against an ideology. So what social scientists such as Marx and Engel’s grand design that they had propounded in 1847 is equally applicable at present to advance humanity into a dictatorship of the proletariat. Here, the proletariats mean the victims of the feudal orientation even in this 21st century world.

Cultural value Vs Fundamentalism

Friedrich Hegel’s dialectic philosophy ‘thesis’ (the revolution), ‘anti-thesis’ (the terror which followed) and ‘synthesis’ (the constitutional state of free citizens) can be interpreted as what Khorshidi and Soltanolkottabi have highlighted into two elemental considerations – firstly, the idea of freedom as the absolute and final aim and secondly, the means for realising it, i.e. the subjective side of knowledge and will. The Hegelian dialectic formula is like A (thesis) versus B (anti-thesis) equals C (synthesis), for example: if (A)-my idea of freedom conflicts with (B) your idea of freedom (C) neither of us will be free until both agree.

Let’s examine further, philosophy is wisdom that is based on the universal truth and facts. The societal development took shape from the perceived philosophy by group of individuals within the society. Cultures are the outcome of religion plus philosophy. Culture and religion transform from one generation to another depending upon the philosophy perceived by an individual. The schooling of the child, his early education, surroundings and environment play a vital role for the development of the philosophy.

Religion is simply a practice on which a person believes and follows. Leo Tolstoy indicated the connection of a person with the infinite universe that must be founded on reason and knowledge rather than faith and intuition. As per Hindu mythology, Hitopadesha says religion is that which a person adopts to live the life; it is affected by his pre-conceived ideas, cultural practice, educational background, teaching of superiors and friends, and environment.

It is commonly understood that one can hide for some time not always. In the words of Albert Einstein (Out of My Later Years, 1950)- about communist system and religion as – “one strength of communist system of the east is that it has some of the character of a religion and inspires the emotions of a religion”. Unlike Karl Marx’s saying – ‘religion is the opium of the masses’ who believed on fact and matter- the religious gurus advocate religion from fundamental perspectives to find the ultimate destiny of peace and salvation. At times, the hypocrite political leaders and dharma gurus misinterpret this philosophy to fulfil their vested interest in the society. As a result, present Jihadist is the product of this philosophy who’s not scared to die as they are extremely motivated.

Islam Religion – A Tool for Salvation

Islam was propounded by the Prophet Muhammad in Arabia. Those who follow Islam are called Muslims. Muslims believe that there is only one God. For Muslims, word for God is Allah. Islam was developed as a new faith to the people of Arabia around 6th century. It was incorporated with some Jewish and Christian traditions and expanded with the set of laws that govern most aspect of life including political authority. Sharia law is the body of Islamic law. It means way or path and also a legal framework within which the public and some private aspects of life are regulated for those living in a system based on Islam. It deals with many topics, including crime, politics, and economics, as well as personal matters such as how one should live life, hygiene, diet, prayer, etc. In reality, coherent definition of Sharia is considered in Islam as the perfect law of God.

Islam is the youngest of the great religion and it is dictated by Qur’an, which Muslims believe to be the perfect words of Allah. Although it is also believed to be dictated by Muhammad but, said to be given by God through the angel Gabriel to him. There is some confusion that has borne conflict between Muslim and the ethnic Jews and is thought to have been the cause of much bloodshed in the Middle East. The split of Shia and Sunni occurred after the death of Muhammad in the year 632 leading to a dispute over his succession, which witnessed battles among his followers and divided the early Islamic community. Due to this, the entire Muslims have differences in religious practice, tradition and customs.

Sunnis are a majority in most Muslim communities in Southeast Asia, China, South Asia, Africa, most of the Arab World whereas Shia makes up the majority of the Muslim population in Iran (around 95%), Azerbaijan (around 90%), Iraq (around 75%) and Bahrain (around 70%). Minority communities are also found in Yemen where over 45 percent of the population are Shia. Over the years, Sunni–Shia relations have been marked by both cooperation and conflict. Sectarian violence persists to this day from Pakistan to Yemen and is a major element of friction throughout the Middle East. Tensions between communities have intensified during power struggles, such as the Bahraini uprising, the Iraq War, and most recently the Syrian Civil War and in the formation of the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Syrian Civil War – A climax in Middle East Uprising

250 thousand Syrians have lost their lives since 2011. The civil war started in March 2011 in the southern city of Derra amid pro-democracy protest during which arrest and torture of some teenagers took place who painted revolutionary slogans on a school wall. The regressive act of the regime against the protesters triggered the incident nationwide demanding President Basal Al Assad resignation. Sunni dominated Syria is ruled by a president whose religious faith is Alawites (also known as Alawis- an Islamic section who follow school of Shia Islam). Due to this repression and subsequent unpopular action by President Assad to disobey the democratic process as well as the United Nations’ allegation to war-crime, legitimised the action of the Opposition to take up arms against security forces. Hence, the rebel brigades were formed to battle government forces. Fighting reached to Damascus and second city Aleppo in 2012. In June 2013, UN claimed 90 thousand people were killed, which reached to 250 thousand during the two year duration.

The conflict is now more than just a battle for and against President Asad. It has converted now to sectarian overtones- pitching the countries Sunni majority against Shia president’s section and drawn in neighbouring countries and world powers. The rise of the Jihadist group, including Islamic State has added a further dimension. Russian involvement and air strike in Syria in support to President Asad has complicated the Syrian war further. However, the Russian airline blown up in Sinai desert in Egypt and suspicion over ISIL involvement has made it more complicated. Similarly, downing of Russian fighter plane by Turkish Armed Forces against its violation to Turkish airspace has escalated the tension that was further ignited when Russian establishment charged to counter Turkey for its involvement in illegal oil trade with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The US and the West unwillingly accepted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s jump into the civil war has in some way or other complicated the case in Syria. They perceive President Putin’s support to Assad regime to show its power to West and entire world that it has lost after Ukraine tussle and Crimea annexation. However, in reality, it became counterproductive and more unpopular in the West.

Is Counter Terrorism Enough to Combat Terrorism?

An act of creating terror – use of violence and intimidation in pursuit of political aim is known as terrorism. It is a dangerous act to human lives. Terrorist follows coercive activities to forcefully compel the existing authority to fulfil their unlawful demands. The secessionist and the insurgents also follow terrorist tactics when they start losing the popular support and to keep their campaign alive they carry out such activities for publicity.

Mostly the rebel groups turn to terrorist tactics when they lose ground to justify their demands. Due to severe hatred and frustration- they opt for coercive activities to fight against injustice, oppression, aggression, poverty, deprivation, humiliation, exploitation, victimisation of one particular race or religion and isolation in national and international affairs. Although terrorism is always coward and hateful activity in its all forms and manifestations – counter terrorism is not only sufficient to combat terrorism from the world. We seldom try to eliminate terrorist through the same way as what the terrorist follow against the society. It is not like ‘fighting a guerilla like a guerilla’- which is a simple military tactics followed to fight against insurgency of small size in unconventional pattern of operations. Terrorism is not a tactics rather it is a modus operandi to undermine the morale of a segment of larger society.

To combat terrorism, we have applied coercive diplomacy to address the concerns of the victims. We did not honour the right of the indigenous people all over the world. The way feudal orientations exploited in Africa, Asia and all over the world is the root cause of terrorism in actual sense. To combat it, we need to follow public diplomacy which insists in inclusiveness and pluralism through openness, transparency, accountability, responsibility and justice.

The bloodshed in France killing more than 130 innocent people has changed the calculus of Syrian Civil War. Likewise, Indonesia’s recent terrorist attack is another example of its kind. We have seen al Qaeda terrorist attacks in USA. We have also seen PLO fighting with Israel for their existence in the Middle East. Mumbai terrorist attack is still fresh in our memory. What is happening in Afghanistan nowadays? There are many such incidents in world history. And, are not these a millionaire questions that we need to answer ourselves. Paris attack is one lesson that we must try to learn so that such incidents do not happen again and again. For this, we must remember following saying which is very popular in eastern society –

“It is said if someone wants to beat a cat in a room where all the exits are closed to escape – it will retaliate strongly and hold your neck out rightly. So, it is advised to keep small exit for it to escape – to make own self safe”.