It never fails to amaze me the rank hypocrisy of Western politicians such as Theresa May whose countries are members of the Nato military alliance.
While bereaved relatives and a shocked population have to endure the bitter aftermath of an attack we hear the same automated platitudinous statements delivered in the defiant statesman posture such as:
1. "We will never give in to the terrorists".
2. "Hate and evil will not destroy our freedoms and our democracy".
3. "Our values will remain intact".
Yet, the sum "freedoms" that the British people have built up for centuries have been slowly but surely denuded by a series of Parliamentary Acts including the recent Investigatory Powers Act of 2016, the so-called 'Snoopers Charter', the passage of which was presided over by Prime Minister May’s government.
This law gives the state extraordinary powers of surveillance over its citizens. It effectively nullifies personal rights related to privacy as activity over the Internet can be intercepted at will. The security and intelligence services have been given carte blanche to monitor the day-to-day activities of citizens through a variety of means including the reading of private emails.
Thus it makes no sense for politicians to monotonously keep on asserting that "terrorism will not be allowed to destroy our democracy and take away our freedoms”.
When it comes to "values", people need to re-examine what precisely is meant by this. Are these the "values" sanctioned by both Parliamentary and executive action which has enabled Britain to contribute to and otherwise support invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria; actions that have led to the wanton destruction of human life and infrastructure? The accumulated loss of life over the past decade and a half runs into the millions.
If the average Briton nods in agreement to the sentiment expressed about "not giving in to terrorism", I trust that the average person who hopefully does not have the sociopathic traits of the average politician is capable of empathizing with those civilians in Yemen who are presently being massacred by bombs and munitions supplied by Britain to the government of Saudi Arabia.
One would hope that the average citizen is informed of current events to an acceptable level so that they are aware of the recent massacre of over 200 Iraqi civilians in Mosul via the "collateral damage" of a US-led bombardment. Or of the fate of 33 people from 50 displaced Syrian families ripped to pieces at the Badiya Dakhilya school in Mansoura, a village located on the outskirts of Raqqa.
One would hope that the average Briton would recognise the stunning levels of hypocrisy by contrasting Western media reportage of the Russian bombardment of Aleppo with that of the US-led coalition bombing in Mosul. One would also hope that they are aware of proven Western facilitation of Islamic extremist groups in Syria which were created to overthrow the legitimate government of that country.
They must surely keep in mind the legacy of British involvement in illegal military actions in both Iraq and Syria as well as the curious case in 2015 where the trial of a man charged with terrorist activities in Syria collapsed on the grounds that Britain’s security and intelligence services would have been “deeply embarrassed” because of their covert support for anti-Assad (Islamist) militias.
Are the millions in these lands who have been maimed, dispossessed or who have otherwise had to endure the physical destruction of their loved ones also expected to refuse to bow to "terrorism"?
It is incumbent on the British population and citizens from other Western countries that are members of Nato to re-examine their understanding of the term "terrorism" as well as the "values" they profess to cherish.
© Adeyinka Makinde (2017)
Adeyinka Makinde is a writer based in London, England.