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Understanding Paris: Terrorism And Its Provocations

17/11/2015 8:42 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST
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Flowers are set in a window shattered by a bullet at the Carillon cafe in Paris, France, Sunday Nov. 15, 2015, two days after over 120 people were killed in a series of shooting and explosions. French troops deployed around Paris on Sunday and tourist sites stood shuttered in one of the most visited cities on Earth while investigators questioned the relatives of a suspected suicide bomber involved in the country's deadliest violence since World War II.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)

Friday night's brutal shootings in Paris have proved that the old European model of nation-states has officially collapsed. Francois Hollande was quick to proclaim that the attacks are an "act of war" by the ISIS. But remember that the ISIS is not an accepted nation-state by the Frances of the world.

Therefore, it's not a war between two nation-states as the West knows them. It's a war between a nation-state and something the West cannot understand, but uses the term 'terrorist group' to identify.

Why can't they understand it? Because they're unable to think outside the nation-state model that they've laid down for the world. This is also the reason why not only France, but every nation-state is incapable of containing what is known as 'terrorism'.

"I find it impossible to believe that 'terrorism' is unprovoked. One needs a special instrument to recognise the provocation. It's called a mirror."

Nation-states have armies, navies and air-forces so that they can fight other nation-states confronting each other in a professional war. But those days are clearly gone. What happened in France isn't a war of this sort. Just think of Mumbai -- was it such a war? Was 9/11 such a war? No.

This is exactly the reason why Islam, a religion and not a nation-state, gets the blame for these 'wars'. Just think about it: people blame a religion for a war on a modern nation-state. As if someone thousands of years ago has chalked out a plan for unleashing the kind of violence we're seeing.

Despite the fact that some parts of the Quran can indeed lead to interpretations in which organisations like ISIS can find their own legitimacy, I find it impossible to believe that any religion can be the source of the kind of violence that Paris witnessed yesterday.

When we're not ready to see our own role in our misfortunes, we end up pointing a finger at all sorts of entities. Therefore, 'Islam' (popular among all other religious groups), 'religion' (popular among atheists), even 'Islamic civilisation' are blamed for these attacks.

The last of these is used by those who think these are attacks on 'western civilisation', the concept of 'freedom', etc. Such analysts seem to realise that the violent attacks in question target not one particular nation-state but something intangible that links all the nation-states of the West. There is truth in this viewpoint.

However, the West refuses to admit any role played by itself in the whole matter. Hence the widespread belief that the shootings in Paris are one-hundred percent unprovoked. That's why the word used is 'terrorism': they're unleashing this sort of violence because it's simply in their DNA. No provocation necessary for the 'barbarians'.

Sorry, this is impossible to believe. Newton's third law applies.

The fact is, Western imperialism is already a provocation. What the nation-states of the West have done to the peoples of the Middle-East, Africa, etc., in the last four or five centuries, must count as provocation. Only, the provoked aren't organising themselves in the only way that the west understands: as formal nation-states. Western thought may require it, but it's not necessary.

Understandably, it is difficult for the current generation of the West to recognise this provocation. It was something they did long ago. It's not as if Africa was colonised yesterday and the shootings happened today. It's not as if the Middle-East was destroyed yesterday and the shootings happened today. Therefore, they don't see the provocation. That doesn't mean there isn't any.

A long time to react doesn't make a reaction a non-reaction. Nor does it rule out an original action.

To summarise, I find it impossible to believe that 'terrorism' is unprovoked. One needs a special instrument to recognise the provocation. It's called a mirror. One also needs an eye for detail and the readiness to remove the elaborate intellectual make-up, together with the old foundation, before looking in it. The make-up may make us appear pretty, but that's not the goal here.

Narendra Modi got it one-hundred percent right in Wembley -- India has the solution to the 'terrorism' problem. But that's not the same as saying India is on the right track today -- that's a completely different topic.

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