According to a State Department document, the then United States Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, in May 2002, stated: ‘‘In this global campaign against terrorism, no country has the luxury of remaining on the sidelines. There are no sidelines. Terrorists respect no limits, geographic or moral. The frontlines are everywhere and the stakes are high. Terrorism not only kills people. It also threatens democratic institutions, undermines economies, and destabilises regions.’’ Facts would have revealed subsequent to 9/11, London, Madrid, Moscow, Nairobi, and several other places that “terror, terrorism, and terrorists become inseparable concepts, coherent entities, efficacious actors, and enemies to be eradicated.”
The French authorities are repeating these things today, and by yesterday evening, they have begun what can be expected to be an intense series of air strikes over the skies of Raqqa in Syria. This weekend marked a horrific end to the lives of many innocent civilians in Paris, with over 130 killed in multiple atrocious acts of terrorism. The major western media outlets have rightfully fed the international public with a full diet of the pain and murder which spread form the scourge of ISIL’s diabolic radicalization of spreading of fear.
Why should we be concerned in Antigua and Barbuda? We must be very concerned because we are a peaceful society, we value life, and we cherish the value systems in which humanity is to be safeguarded. If we accept the contents of the first paragraph, then we know that our front door, our back door, our borders can be penetrated. Moreover, as in the circumstances that developed after 9/11, it means that our government, as well-intentioned as it wants to act for the development of the nation, must now consider deploying additional resources to areas of security.
In essence, the events that happened over the weekend in Paris, will yet again move the goal posts for all countries, and especially small countries like Antigua and Barbuda. We are already struggling to have enough resources to cater to the socio-economic needs of our population, the demands to have security rather than live insecurely have just raised those costs.
For our sense of satiety, we know that the Royal Antigua and Barbuda Police Force, the ONDCP, the Immigration Department among other governmental departments and agencies have been doing a tremendous job in keeping out the undesireables, and in interdicting monies that could easily end up in the wrong hands for the sponsoring of terror. As a country, we need to pay attention to these events, notwithstanding how far away they may seem.
The fight against terrorism and terrorists is near, global and complex. We have to be vigilant as individuals, and not take for-granted things which appear odd and happening in our midst. Yes, we are welcoming to visitors and tourists from all over the world; but watchful we must be. Even then, we must be cautious and avoid stigmatising people based on their religious persuasions. Terrorists are by no means religious; they are extremists and murderers having no care for human life. Caribbean Times denounces the multiple acts of terrorism that occurred in Paris this weekend, and that have happened in various parts of the world in recent years. Vigilance must be our watchword, because we stand on the edge of a world war in which the enemy has no easily discernible face or creed for the sanctity of life.