Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Extremists Are Undermining Democracy

By Kamla Sarup
Terrorism is not over. Extremism is not over. The extremists, and terrorists are forging a front to eliminate democracy. One cannot ignore reality. Worry is not a solution. Things cannot go back to what it was. Need innovative thinking to match the new and emerging reality.

"Should be" is not the solution. Focusing on "what can or could be" would be more realistic. The real controversial issue is the retention or ending of violence and extremism. The question of the role of the people is valid only if a decision to retain the violence-free, extremist-free or leftist-free society is made. A sustainable system has to be that which evolves from practice not prescribed in terms of ideology. Here again, the term "should be" should be replaced by "can be".

A culture of impunity exists. we need to give equal attention to such violations and not based on which side or which persons have committed such crimes. All violations and violators need to be brought to justice.

So naturally, the role of the extremists, terrorists, are always decisive. Renouncement of arms is not a terrorist's, or leftist's agenda. They will participate overtly in the capacity of being able to implement their will fully. Like for example they are already participating unofficially in various countries. The difficulty lies in the fact that the total number of arms are not known. Extremists do not have armory. Their weapons are kept in the houses / huts of their supporters, in the caves in the mountains spread out throughout the country and in dug-outs.

The freedom to be rich and the assurance of the safety of one's wealth and property must be guaranteed, to motivate and encourage people towards economic activities, as a precondition.

Fragmented land sizes, ( see data on land size, it has been the major problem) which are not economically viable, need consolidation, by policy to allow the freedom to accumulate and own wealth and land, without policies to restrict the scope of such activities.

Population pressure on Land has to be reduced, by family planning and by encouraging job creation in industrial and service sectors, by tax reductions, removal of restrictive licensing polity of the government, and limitations or control on domestic and foreign trade of the government (local as well as central).

There is a need for checks and balances to be ensured in the system. With specific rights and duties explicitly stated, based on previous experience. It must be based on the needs of the country based on the will of the people.

If the system is bad nobody will be able to take action to provide law and order in the terrorist controlled areas or any where extremists, leftists or Maoists may be involved. If the government is bad a different group will emerge. But the point is things are happening, and there is no force to streamline or guide the unpredictable changes. Looks like things are just falling apart in some African countries and in Nepal. Law and order is getting worse. And, with one type of violence or another, by one group or another, in one place or another, for one cause or another, the nation is being strangled economically. Worse days are coming to the people.

Journalist and Story Writer Kamala Sarup associates and writes for She is a regular contributor to United Press International - Asia News. She is specializes in in-depth reporting and writing on peace, anti-war, women, terrorism, democracy, and development. Some of her publications are: Women's Empowerment in South Asia, Nepal (booklets); Prevention of Trafficking in Women Through Media, (book); Efforts to Prevent Trafficking in for Media Activism (media research). She has also written two collections of stories.

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