Tuesday, February 01, 2005

La mata?

When the news first came out that a Bahraini was killed in the shoot-out that happened yesterday, everyone was quick to bundle him with the suspects and an entire fabricated story somehow emerged of him providing a ‘safe-house’. He was guilty, before anyone even had the facts, he was already a dangerous salafi terror-suspect that was on the loose but had finally been hunted down and killed.

Turns out he was just a normal (quite good-looking) young student in Kuwait on holiday, simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, sad story once the truth came out, all of a sudden the contemptuous comments turned to ‘oh that’s bad, shit happens’ type remarks. Everyone was ready to retract (but not to apologise) for their immediate labelling. Im really sorry, you're name had to get dragged through the mud like that Mahmood.

And the funny thing is, no one realises they are doing it. Why? Cos they’re on the backside of the media bandwagon which has been one tool in entrenching fear in our psyches. When you hear a terrorist has been arreseted/shot dead, there is a comfort that our ‘world is a slightly safer place’.

_Terror_ is around every street corner, behind every beard, the roots are Islam.

Everyday in the media we read front-page headlines “Terror-suspects arrested”, “Terrorist killed in shoot-out”. Do we actually ever hear of terrorists being convicted?

FACT: Between 11 September 2001 and June 2004, there were 561 arrests in the UK under the Terrorism Act. But only six convictions. Most of these were Irish.

FACT: not a single Qaeda related conviction in the US. On Sept. 2 2004 a federal judge in Detroit threw out the only jury conviction the Justice Department has obtained on a terrorism charge since 9/11.

Now I don’t know the truth about what is happening in Kuwait or anywhere else that seems to have been witnessing ‘terrorist activity’, but I know one thing. Put a name like Al-Enezi+Salafi+Terrorist in one sentence and hey presto, one down in the War_Against_Terror. Kuwiat will get a few brownie points in the global league table of With-Us_Against_Them. Did I hear anyone say evidence, trial? Oh yeah give us a few years to sort something out while Terrorist-suspect and co. rot in jail.

I’m not passing any judgements here, all we know is what has been said in the media, and all they know is what the police have told them. I’m just talking about the need to uphold basic civil rights. What happened to not revealing a person’s identity in the media till a trial is over, what happened to Guilty till proven Innocent, how does this ensure a person gets a fair trial? I know where these have gone - straight out of the window.

My emphasis in this post is the word SUSPECT. Once they are convicted, I assure you, they deserve everything they get.

Why am I bothered? Well, I’m seeing my friend whose had to raise her kids alone for 4 years while her husband, a ‘terrorist’ has been languishing in jail without trial under US orders somewhere close to home. Can she say anything? Can she utter a word? Does she know how long he’ll be in there for? Does she or even he know WHAT he is in there for? FOUR bloody years. And you know what. No one knows, he’s not even a statistic. Apparantly if any human rights organisation gets a whiff of this (there are around 400 arrested in this particular country I’m talking about) they’ve threatened to sentence them to life imprisonment. You open your mouth woman, you’re husband will pay dearly.

Innocent lives lost, innocent families torn in a war with no end.

Allah yir7amk ya Mahmood wa yisakink fasee7a jannateh.

Posted by BB @ 2/01/2005 10:34:00 PM

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It's about time too. Someone finally figured out that you can only go so long ignoring principles and sound jurisprudence.

Now there're more to the issue than what has been mentioned. But I get the sense that fearmongering has a half-life for only so long. But to play Devil's Advocate, if you went back 3.5 years, the world unanimously gave consent to the US to react militarily, this was part and parcel. The US doesn't treat them as criminals, they treat them as Prisoners of War. Bad time to have been in Afghanistan.

Kuwait and Saudi have ham-handedly done the same, when in reality they ought to treat the matter as criminal breaches of the law. But monkey-see, monkey-do. Law enforcement professionals are charged with public safety and one of those components is to bring suspects to justice, as in present them before a court of law, NOT to dole out retribution like the stick to whip a camel.

Special Units such as bomb squads and SWAT teams are meant to diffuse tense situations by forcing a surrender. You get the sense that our Keystone Kops have watched too many Die Hard vidoes instead of actual training sessions.

Now I know that our honourable ministers have warned us against interfering in the matters of neighboring nations, but the Kuwaiti Security Forces have to be held accountable beyond the payment of 'blood money'. This kind of incompetence cannot be tolerated anymore. At least they admitted their mistake, but I would be furious if they didn't do anything more to ensure that a mishap like this doesn't happen again.

But it also goes back to our attitudes on crime and punishment. Sound Jurisprudence is sorely needed from the judiciary to impress upon the populace for one and on the enforcement agencies for another that disorder and incompetence will not be tolerated. 

Posted by Desert Island Boy

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous @ 2/02/2005 02:50:00 AM #
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