Saturday, 25 May 2013
Random assassination is horrible wherever it happens, Woolwich or Waziristan, Boston or Baghdad, Oslo or Islamabad. But the sympathy of Westerners seems to be reserved for cases where the victims live in countries like our own. With the development of targeted assassination as a substitute for classical warfare we have entered a new era. One tragic result is that the very people who have the authority in their communities to put an end to violence are often those who are killed, for example Sheikh Yasin the blind and quadriplegic leader of Hamas, blown up in his wheelchair; he was on good terms with some rabbis, whose religion resembled his. At the moment most of the killing is by American drones or Israeli helicopters, and most of the victims are Muslims, but it won't stop there. The victims or their supporters are going to seek more and more opportunities for revenge in a tit-for-tat sequence with no foreseeable end. Sooner or later there will have to be some sort of agreement between all the states that have sponsored such assassinations: 'we shall stop killing your people if you will stop killing ours'.