Ottawa terror

Wednesday’s attack on the Canadian parliament has proved once again the growing vulnerability of the world powers to terrorism. Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has said Canada is not immune to terrorist attacks. Whoever would have thought a few years ago that the tranquility of Ottawa would be shattered in this manner? A gunman forced his way into the parliament complex and traded fire with the police before perishing.

The motive for the attack has not been established officially, but it happened two weeks after the Canadian parliament authorised the country's military to join US-led air strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq.

PM Harper put on a brave face, insisting that the work of parliament continue as scheduled. He condemned the attack in strongest possible terms. He must have realised what terrorism was really like. Yes, the civilised world must condemn that dastardly attack unreservedly. Terrorism is no means to an end; it is the means and the end both. That is why it has to be eliminated root and branch. But, regrettably, some Canadian politicians have no qualms about attending fundraisers organised by terror fronts and helping further their interests for political reasons.

The entrance to the Canadian Parliament was virtually unguarded and the gunman gained entry easily according to media reports. This shows how complacent Canada has been all these years. Wednesday’s incident has shaken it awake. Security is reported to have been beefed up around government buildings, schools and mass transit systems. The first casualty of tough anti-terror regulations will be the much-cherished civil liberties. Now that the parliament has come under a terror attack, every stranger will be considered a terror suspect and every abandoned bag or box a bomb in that country. This is what terrorism does to any peace loving, democratic society.

One is amused by a lame excuse a senior Canadian policeman has trotted out for the serious lapse on the part of the law enforcement authorities. Gilles Michaud, assistant commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police has told the media about the attack: "It caught us by surprise ... If we had known that this was coming, we would have been able to disrupt it." Surprise is the hallmark of any terror strike. Terrorists have to be lucky only once and Canada will have to be lucky all the time.

Canadian political leaders, at least now, should realise that terrorism really hurts and stop being pliable tools in the hands of terror fronts in return for votes etc.

The IS has emerged so powerful that the US and its allies have had to take it on the way they fought Hitler short of inducting ground troops. It has so far been able to stand up to a coalition of 60 states cobbled together by Washington. No one has so far taken the responsibility for the attack on the Canadian parliament, but if the IS has carried it out as widely believed, then it has demonstrated its ability to take the battle to western capitals with relative ease. It must be having sleeper cells all over the world with brainwashed suicide cadres ready to blast civilian targets or mow down any number of people in the name of their macabre cause.

PM Harper has said Canada will not be intimidated by Wednesday’s ‘brutal and violent attack’ and stressed the need for fighting terrorism with might and main. Yes, Canada must fight terrorism without being intimidated. Similarly, it must respect the right of other nations affected by brutal terrorism to do so without being coerced into talking to bloodthirsty terrorists.


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1995 Napier
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