Nieuws - 1 november 2001

An unbalanced war without a winner

An unbalanced war without a winner

What is terrorism?

Wageningen University has international students of Muslim origin among its community. After the article in Wb 29 by Jon Kurtz, an American MSc student, Wb asked some of them for their views on the current war on terrorism and how events are affecting their home countries.

Yurdi Yasmi's first reaction is that he does not believe that the current crisis is to do with religion. A Muslim student from Indonesia, he has an opinion on the events, but makes clear from the outset that this is purely his personal insight and has nothing to do with his religion or the fact that he is from Indonesia. Yasmi condemns the attacks of 11 September and shares his sadness with the innocent victims of the tragedy. Further, he states that attacks such as that on the WTC have nothing to do with Muslim principles, as others might want us to believe. Yasmi: "There is a verse in the Koran, the Muslim holy book, that God created mankind into many ethnicities, not to fight each other but to let them get acquainted with one another."

Whoever is responsible for the tragedy in New York and Washington, whether it is Osama bin Laden or somebody else, Yasmi totally disagrees with the idea of bombing Afghanistan. Again, he states, this has nothing to do with the fact that Afghanistan is a Muslim country. " I believe many people, children and innocent women, are being killed or injured by the military attacks on the country. The Red Cross has also suffered from the attacks. The question I still cannot answer is why America is sacrificing too many lives and things in Afghanistan just to kill one man called Osama bin Laden. I pray for those people in Afghanistan who know nothing about politics and the September 11 attacks, that they will survive under a continued bombing campaign. I also hope that America will stop this campaign as soon as possible because there will be no winner at the end of this tragic and unbalanced war."

Yasmi also wonders what the definition of terrorism is. "If this campaign in Afghanistan results in the loss of many lives and heightened fear among people, some of them having to leave their country to avoid the bombs, then what should we call this? Is this a war against terrorists?" He believes the best way forward would be to find a more peaceful way to resolve the problem. "Perhaps the UN should take the lead instead of America to maintain neutrality."

Joris Tielens