The shortest way to defeat terrorism [Archives:2008/1199/Opinion]

October 16 2008

By: Dr. Abdulla Al-Faqih
We gathered at a dinner table once in Ramadan in the house of U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Steven Seche, which is located in the embassy's precinct. Tens of personalities, who were selected to represent various official, popular, media, political and economic institutions attended the event.

After breaking our fast with dates, we all rushed to perform the Maghreb Prayers in a hall prepared inside the Ambassador's house. The event coincided with Day Sunday, which is highly exalted by the Christians as much as the holy month of Ramadan is exalted by Muslims.

The whole event implies that the September 11 Terrorist Attacks against the U.S. – although they killed many innocent people and lead to numerous wars in several parts of the world – helped bring people of different religions, colors and races together and taught them how important it is to understand each other and coexist peacefully.

It doesn't appeal to the mind of any of us on that day that the venue where many Yemeni citizens met with their American friends, who warmly received their guests at the dinner, will be a target for a terrorist operation just in 48 years following the dinner party.

Those standing behind the operation are merely mercenaries, who are only concerned about material earnings by illegal means.

They have no relation with the Islamic religion, nor does generosity or any of the Islamic values apply to them.

It is not surprising to see that such a malicious attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sana'a killed 11 innocent people. The event signifies a religion of terrorism, which only targets innocent people and exists in the swaps of killing and devastation.

What is impossible for terrorists to understand?

What was impossible for the terrorists to understand is that 'despite the fact they killed innocent people, they will not defeat the Yemeni people, who will eventually score victory over terrorism and beat terrorism through their wisdom, as well as in cooperation with brotherly and friendly Arab states'. These states should cooperate in order to eliminate this malignant disease (terrorism) that infected the 'Yemeni body' and began threatening citizens' right to lead a peaceful and free life.

The American friends proved to be wise when they decided not to close their embassy in the face of its commuters, be they local staff or visa applicants. Their determination not to close the embassy implies their high consideration and respect for the heroic soldiers, who were killed while bravely defending the Embassy of the friendly United States.

I hope that both Yemeni and U.S. governments cooperate in supporting the innocent families that lost their relatives (soldiers) in an unfair battle imposed on them by irresponsible terrorists. The terrorists wanted to expand the gap between Yemenis and the outside world. And the normal reaction to their behavior is to confirm peaceful coexistence and forgiveness under the common interest, as well as ensure mutual respect for ideologies and cultural values and lifestyles.

If the war on terrorism requires that governments of brotherly and friendly states cooperate with the Yemeni government and people, we should understand that it also necessitates more patience, plus firm legislations that don't punish innocent people or abuse rights.

Therefore, establishing good discrimination between terrorists and terrorism opponents in terms of the objectives and means is the shortest way to defeat terrorism.

The author is a professor of politics

at Sana'a University