India Uncut

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Friday, November 04, 2005

On moral vertigo

In yet another fine essay, this one about terrorism, Pratap Bhanu Mehta writes:
If we mourn too much, we say the terrorists have won, they have disrupted life; if we don’t, we say terrorists have won because they have made us indifferent to the suffering of our citizens. We are, rightfully, angry, but against whom should that anger be appropriately directed? The perpetrators and their collaborators is the obvious answer. But here terrorism’s perverted logic comes into play. Is capitulating to the logic of violence a means to defeating it or a way of giving it succour and sustenance? What models should we look at? Hard states like Israel? It is doubtful that Israel has made itself more immune to terrorist attacks by its tactics. The US? If it is a model, it has worked only by radically increasing the risk of violence many countries around the world have faced. There is no certainty to the calculus of terrorism. As always, India will have to define its own path.
Read the full piece.
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