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[Opinion] Prevalence of Global Violence

Posted July. 27, 2003 21:54,   


U.S. troops in Iraq killed the two sons of former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein after mobilizing heavy firepower for six hours. Media outlets in the U.S. and UK such as CNN and BBC covered the story as breaking news. Reports were focused on whether the dead bodies were those of Hussein`s sons and what Iraqi people`s reactions were like. Coincidentally, a recorded tape of Hussein urging a holy war against Americans was released. Hearing the news of the operation, George W. Bush expressed confidence, saying, “Hussein regime was gone forever and would never return.”

On the same day, the 17th Global Communication Society was held in Sweden to discuss violence prevailing through the world and the ways to stall the wide-spreading violence. What was interesting was the reaction of Islamic scholars attending the meeting. Scholars from Malaysia and Saudi Arabia stressed, “We are against every form of terror. Muslims are neither terrorists nor terror-sponsored groups.” They expressed the concern over the global prejudice and discrimination against the Islamic world. They also seemed to fear the sheer firepower of Americans. They were worrying if Americans provoke another bout of violence.

American delegation, on their part, were careful not to talk too much about the way their government has reacted to the Sept. 11 attacks. They seem to hold negative views on the Bush administration`s foreign policy strategy. To respond to terrorist attacks can be justified, but it is not right to resort to violence to do so. An American scholar said that new American patriotism, which has emerged after the Sept. 11 Attacks, continues to suppress debate on international affairs, allowing only a unified view. Scholars are apparently against the violent way of responding to terrorism deployed by the Bush administration, but due to the `invisible pressure` they seemed unable to speak out.

As far as international affairs concerned, it seems that discussions and debate all but disappear and power and violence become the only tool of addressing problems. By fostering the structure of conflicts between the good and the evil, allies and enemies, peace and hatred, civilization and savageness and Christianity and Islam, people are dividing the world, `ours` vs.`theirs`. This structure will, in turn, lead to ceaseless violence. A scholar said as the meeting ended, “We must listen to what the others say to address international problems. I want to invite Mr. Bush to explain him how important it is to listen.”

Baek Sun-gi, Guest Writer, Professor at Sungkyukwan University, baek99@chollian.net