I don’t know if you’ve heard of a film that is out these days, “Munich” by Steven Spielberg. It’s the story of a young Mossad agent (alias “Avner”) who, with another four agents, undertakes a revenge mission to assassinate the terrorists who were behind the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. I haven’t seen the film yet but I’m looking forward to it, and I’ve already started going through the original book by journalist George Jonas.
What fascinates me is not so much the details of intelligence work (of which the book is full) or the personal challenges that young “Avner” encounters. Suffice to say that the people involved in this type of work are very different from the rest of us and their motivation is often a very hard nut to crack. However, what I am interested in are – as the story intends – the strange dynamics of political terror.
There is no doubt that our era will be branded “The Age of Terrorism” by future historians. Is there anyone out there that can keep track of the daily car-bombs going off in Iraq and Palestine? Today alone the UK mourned its 100th dead soldier in Iraq. The recent election of Hamas in Palestine caused ripples of concern in the EU who had to re-think its funding to the country. And in the background, people are being kidnapped, people are blowing up undergrounds, buses, buildings and themselves in the name of whatever ideology/religion they follow.
It’s certainly not new. The idea of using terror to impose and/or propagate ideas is pretty old and becomes ancient if the definition is broad enough. Those familiar with Guy Fawkes and his friends will trace it back to 1605. I personally tend to view the Crusades as a form of organised terrorism myself. And the debatable list goes on and on.
The issue that Avner’s story raises is a little different though. It’s the question of how far can someone go to counter terrorism without resorting to the same tactics terrorists use. And especially to anyone who’s ever had a little combat and tactics training, the question is intensely pertinent, simply because they have a taste of how thin the line between offence and defence is is.
(In the end, dead people all look the same).
I am a Christian, and I’ve never seen any reason to hide it or be ashamed of it (I have plenty of other things to be ashamed of). And as you’ve probably noticed from this blog, I take the Bible very seriously, not because I’m “religious” (a term that doesn’t mean anything) but because the more I study it, the more sense and application it makes (it is really sad how misinformed and prejudiced some “open-thinkers” are about the Bible today). And rest assured, I’ll elaborate on this in a future entry.
As a Christian then, I see this world as fallen, simply because it turned and continues to turn its back to God (shock! horror! A scientist who believes in God! To the stake!). And I have no illusions about achieving world peace and love any time soon through our own means. Believe me, we’ve been trying for millennia. But that does not stop me from praying for it and trying to help it out in any capacity I can.
No, I’m not going to offer solutions to the Middleastern problem – there are far more qualified people out there who are trying to. But it is sad to watch this global perpetuation of unecessary violence, especially when it affects the lives of children, as happened in Beslan in 2004. But I suppose that that is the purpose of terrorism: to instill fear and threaten the innocent in order to affect the higher-ups. And as a former soldier, I can only regard such use of force as cheap, cowardly, incompetent, and contemptible.
In the end, there are no simple and easy answers, at least not on this side of Eternity. On the other side, the side that really matters, the answers are waiting for those who will seek them.
That which has been is what will be, that which is done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “ See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us. – Ecclesiastes 1:9-10
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9
And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” – Revelation 21:3-5