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[Opinion] War on Terrorism

Posted September. 08, 2002 23:57,   


In this global era, countries across the world respond to key global issues in a speedy way. But their views vary. They may disagree on a cause and other times, they may take on different positions. Like the World Summit closed on September 4 in South Africa, even as countries agree on a cause, they often fail to take a unified action due to national interest at stake. We have recently seen, however, a case in which a cause and national interests of advanced countries coincide. That is the war on terrorism.

▷When the United States pitched their war tone after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks a year ago, most advanced countries were rushing to join the U.S. Since then, the anti-terrorism front centering on western countries has gained steam, creating ill effects to some grave extent. The U.S. has repeatedly violated human rights of Arab people, while Britain passed the anti-terror law that allows the government to detain terror suspects without a trial. France and Germany have also enforced the law that allows the government to freely access personal credit and communications information without consent. Australia detained hundreds of Afghans in a shady refuge camp and later cited anti-terrorism as an excuse when inhumane conditions were disclosed.

▷International human rights organizations raise the concern that the western countries have been trampling civil rights of foreigners living their countries since the Sept. 11 incidents. They say that at least 15 countries are ignoring human rights of immigrants, refugees and other minorities in the name of combating international terrorist groups. In the past, most of rich western countries had took a lenient stance on the human rights issue although they had difficulties accommodating a growing number of immigrants and refugees. But the war on terrorism gave them a good excuse to oppress the minorities. This change is also in line with the surge of the rightist parties in West Europe.

▷Although we are bound to care little about the issue, it reminds us of what happened in Japan some 80 years ago. When an earthquake decimated Gwangdong region in the country, the government was quick to put blame on Koreans, Chinese and socialists to appease growing public anger. Terrorist act targeting innocent civilians is a hideous crime to be punished. But it doesn’t justify waging another terrorist act in the name of a war on terrorism. They are all the same reckless and heinous.

Kim Jang-gwan, Guest editorial writer, Politics professor at Seoul Nat’l University