|Pakistani children hold oil lamps and placards as they hold a vigil in memory of the school children killed during the Beslan school hostage tragedy. AFP/Aamir Qureshi|
The first rule, in your moral calculus as a combatant, is that you don't deliberately harm civilians. The second rule is that you most decidedly don't target children, say by taking them hostage, in your fight against the enemy. And, yes, there's a third rule: You observe the above two rules scrupulously, for by not doing so you ratchet up the scale of your uncivilized behavior so many notches that you put yourself beyond the pale.
We may never know what triggered the massacres of well over 350 civilians, half of them children, at a school in Russia's Caucasus town of Beslan, not far from Chechnya, where the victims appear to have perished in the bomb blasts, automatic weapons, grenades and crossfire of a rescue attempt gone horribly awry.
We may never know because Russian officials are notorious for withholding information from their public when they botch a rescue operation, as they are equally notorious for refusing to exhaust all options open to them before they take drastic action.
In October 2002, it will be recalled, President Vladimir Putin, opting not to negotiate with Russian guerrillas holding hostages in a Moscow theater, ended up killing 250 of his own people when he ordered, again before other action was considered, that a deadly gas be pumped into the interior of the building.
Typically, the government-controlled media at the time, which never revealed the exact number of dead, claimed improbably, indeed comically, that the victims died of, well, "stress."
This time around, Russian authorities stormed the school on Friday, again without any plan, and ended up creating a scene of unspeakable carnage, with piles of corpses of children and their parents strewn around - followed by officials in Moscow providing the usual prevarications, false statements, and rumors (known to Russians and dismissed by them as "lozh").
Then, in an egregious display of double-speak Putin invoked the specter of "international terrorism" to define what in effect is a regional conflict in Chechnya, triggered not only by a genuine struggle of a repressed people for national independence, but also by this repressed people's reaction to the abominable atrocities that Moscow's occupation army has inflicted on them all these years.
By identifying Chechens as "prestupnik," or bandits, he shifts attention away from how Russia has refused all these years to face up to the realities on the ground in Chechnya.
After Russian President Boris Yeltsin ordered an invasion of the rebellious Muslim republic ten years ago, his troops turned Grozny, the capital, once a quaintly attractive city of 400,000, into rubble, strewn with copses, and caused tens of thousands of Chechens to flee their homeland.
Commenting on that, the Washington Post editorialized last Friday: "President Vladimir Putin has since made the situation worse, launching a second invasion, cutting off the region from aid groups and journalists, refusing negotiations, and allowing Russian troops to torture and torment Chechen civilians."
Instead of seeking a long-lasting reconciliation between Russia and Chechnya - a nation that for the last 300 years has endured the yoke of Russian domination - Putin instead has sought to impose on the Chechens one puppet government after another, through one transparently rigged election after another.
Just as we may never know what brought about Friday's massacre, we may never know either what the ultimate aim of those Chechen militants was and what drove them, so callously, to take almost a thousand civilians hostage. Were they trying to make a point, perhaps to create among Russians an atmosphere of terror, panic and helplessness in order to remind them of the havoc sown in Chechnya by their occupation troops? After all, the history of Russian oppression - including the time in 1944 when Joseph Stalin ordered the mass deportation of the entire Chechen population to Central Asia in the middle of winter, which resulted in the death of 78,000 en route or soon after arrival - runs deep in the Chechen archetype, historical sensibility and collective memory.
This, however, we do know: Chechens do their long-suffering nation and their just cause no favor by seizing a school and taking children hostage.
The families of the victims, along with the traumatized survivors, of this dreadful event deserve our complete sympathy.
Fawaz Turki can be reached at [email protected]
Source : Arab News
Ramadan Moubarak to you and yours and to all the Muslims around the world.
Good answers Madmax. These hard heads, it takes to drop an atomic bomb on New York for them to understand the sufferings of the Muslims!
I am fed up too, have you never been told not to generalize? It is hazardous to your health.
The answer is: does the faith of the Judeo-Christians ever take responsibility for all the extremists running your countries and imposing wars on others for the last 2 centuries?
My thinking of the Judeo-Christians should bare responsibility for the crimes committed by you countries has no merit, and your thinking about Islam's is zero merit as well.
I would invite you to sober up and re-pose your question one more time.
You are the only that can stop the madness.
You = the government that serves you and your countrymen.
The only places where you find people killing people for no reason, is in places like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and London, and now Moscow with all the narcotics and the filth of a decadent and debauched society, not brilliant is it?
P.S. when was it the last time you, Mark, blamed Christianity for the killings of innocent Muslim children? When was the last time you, Mark, heard Muslims people blame the Christians world for the slaughtering of Muslims? When?
Mr. Putin, the Muslims care about your people more than you do. You know it's true, you have proved it yourself.
Assalum Aleikum Brothers Abdul-Jaleel Mohammad and Mohammad Qasem I agree with you one hundred percent.
If answer to a crime is a worst crime in responce then we are in big trouble of morals values.
Don't forget, Forgiveness is valued higher than revenge. Did the prophet of these believers took revenge in Mecca after the bloodless victory. I guess we just like to read stories and feel good about that but we don't want to put these examples in actions. If actions are different than your example you can spend life to justify and get no result as so called muslim rebels of this time getting no result.
Also, for whatever it might (or perhaps might not) be worth, it seems that victims of the tragedy in Beslan considered their tormentors to be Wahabi. Russians in general - and Christians of the Caucasus in particular - would appear inclined to harbor feelings of goodwill towards Muslims they consider to be Sufi. For example, Boris Yeltsin's '97 invasion of Chechnya was reportedly in response to alleged attempts by "Wahabi" Chechen separatists to undermine the "Sufi" government of the neighboring (Russian) Republic of Dagestan.
It is not obvious what the separatists have attained for Chechnya - or at least not obvious to me - in the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Actually, they almost seem to be fighting to restore it.
Peace be with you. May Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) have mercy on us all. Ameen.
Moral calculus. I do not find any muslim asking the question "How can any believer in 'peaceful islam' even THINK of planning to take elementary school children in a school??". Looking at the pictures, none of the children looked older than 10.
What are they going to do next time? Take hostages of children in nurseries!!
Another case of Islamic Moral Calculus. It is nice to know that children in Pakistan at the vigil. But what are the ADULTS doing? Probably, creating Jihadis out of these children!
This article appeared in Arab News (published in Saudi Arabia); but the picture of children is from Pakistan. So what do the Saudi feel? Probably, they are rejoicing at the tragedy inflicted on infidels, preaching Jihad and collecting money to fund Jihad.
Sorry being harsh. But the author of this article shows no remorse at all at the tragedy, is a supporter of hostage-takers, and blames everything on Putin. Well Putin is no saint, but why did hostage-takers even plan for taking of hostage-taking of children?.
Moral Calculus of the author is 'crystal clear'; he is an islamist fundamentalist and supports hostage taking of children.
No wonder the gulf between the muslims and non-muslims is on the increase; non-muslims no longer trust muslims. Probably, Clash of Civilizations has started, especially between muslims and non-muslims; it is likely to last about 100 years and will be extremely bllody for everybody.
My opinion is that the author spent too much time putting the blame on Putin. We Muslims have got to get out of the habit of blaming others for our ill doings. It sickens me to see how we have sunk to the lowest position where we will target innocent people including children to prove some point. It is even more sickening that so many Muslims try to justify or place the blame on other people. It is not the fault of the US government that many Muslims have become killers/murderers. It is not the Israeli government, the Pakistani government, the Saudi government, the Indonesian government, the Indian government, etc. It is our fault that we have become killers and murderers. All these terrorist activities have made living for Muslims all over the world so difficult and I fail to see how a terrorist would think that his or her actions is helpful to me, the Muslim community at large or even to them. The day we resorted to murdering innocent people was the darkest day in the Muslim community's life. We make a big deal about bidaa. In my opinion, these actions are bigger bidaas than the ones we make a big deal about. The sad thing is that so many Muslims do not even realize it. We have sunk so low that we have now started killing our own. There is no nice way to tell all these militants to stop their nonsense and stop killing other people. Let the non-Muslim carry the blood on their hands instead. Right now it looks like we Muslims are carrying most of the blood on our hands. Please do not regard me as a Muslim hater. I am and will forever be, inshaa Allah be a Muslim. This is the only reason that I am so disgusted by all these Muslim terrorist activities around the world. Quit your nonsense. I hope that Islamicity will show the courage to display my letter for I believe that it is time for us Muslims to take a new stance. NO MORE EXCUSE FOR THE KILLING/MURDERING OF INNOCENT PEOPLE IN ISLAM'S NAME. Thank you.
This article does not explain anything. It is in fact putting the burden of guilt on Putin. This is the real dilemma with Muslims in these days. Either blames west or their rulers for all the screw up things done by other Muslims. The definition of a crime is "An act committed in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it". Looking at this definition there is no explanation in the world that can justify crime committed by Chechen Muslim rebels. Yes they violated their own religious law that commands them not to kill or humiliated civilians including children or non combatants. The problem is with Muslims as they have cross over the grey line of their moral values to dark moral values. No wonder doing this immoral jihadi struggle by these Muslims is producing any fruitful results. Can't these people see?
It is time for fellow Muslims to correct their priorities and understand their own religion with open mind and follow the path of their prophet. Make peace with everyone even if you have to loss on a lot of things. You are a defeated group just because of your own misdeeds. Educate your people and learn technologies and revitalize Islam of the coming centuries. Rather than go back to 7 century and make your own people suffer for the actions done by the few ignorant.
Only the silence majority of Muslims can eliminate this Jihadi attitude and terrorists among them. If you feel things will become better by keeping eyes close, it is the mistake of these sleeping Muslims. You will be judge for not forbidding the evil among you irrespective if you are involve with this crime or not.
Peace with everyone
If no person is allowed to talk about our children, let the world be burned, I do not care or blink if it was a million children burned alive.
The simple fact is that those that believe "the state should have a monopoly on violence" is overlaid with those that believe that a cluster bomb in a china shop is the way to human progress. This being supported by the group that can be considered the "core of evil" on this earth.
Isa once said "I say unto you, thou shat not only love your friend but thou shalt love thy enemy as well. For what profit is there in loving ones friends only. " The system dynamic of escalating violence in occupation and resistance leads to a simple conclusion--> Occupation is terrorism, and the "war on terrorism" is a war of terrorism.
Now that baby Bush's nescient realization that the "war on terrorism" can not be won has been replaced by political self delusion in support of the Christian Right and Zionists it will spread through out the "western" intersection (Christian union Zionist) world. (There is plenty of depth left to the spread.)
A group are not always right because they are moslems.
I am a white english christian who abhors violence committed by any group of people regardless of colour,nationality or religion.
To try and excuse or understand these vicious and depraved terrorists because of their religion only further harms the great islamic faith.
They call themselves moslems but how can they be?,
Islam is a religion that preaches kindness and understanding,yes some of the penalties and punishments do seem a bit severe to me but I defy any moslem to show me where in the Koran it justifies the killing of innocents and if you can,Islam is not the religion I thought it to be
Of course these words have great meanings. President Putin himself has accepted that the Russian military has committed crimes against humanity in Chechnya. The United Nation has not done any thing to secure the rights of Chechen peoples except being a mere watchdog and justifying the brutal Russian terrorism. No guarantee could be given in future that the same killings will not happen in Russian lands. Unless the regime is changed in Russia, the Russian war criminals including Putin is brought to justice and the Chechens are given their homeland free I do not think that the Russian civilians are safe.
May Allah protect all of the innocent people being victim of the crimes of the so called leaders.