It was Heraclitus who said, “It is difficult to fight against anger, for a man will buy vengeance with his soul. “ It’s this buying of vengeance with one’s soul which is so disturbing. To give up one’s soul to something totally undeserving is a frightening thing to do.
At the heart of all civilized society lies the powerful and ethical principle of coexistence. The wisdom and the skill needed to live out this principle, particularly in an age of gathering and unfolding globilisation, is immense. Humanity’s very future depends on it.
Terrorism, in whatever form, always seeks ultimately to annihilate this principle. Over and over again its very nature has proved its inability to live in peaceful coexistence with others. All it does is sow hatred and murderous violence, too often prompting inflated and overblown response from those who should know better.
Is extermination the only way to deal with these fanatics? Obviously not, because such action goes against the very heart of the stated ethic. True justice is always expressed in bringing the perpetrators before the courts of law, to be sentenced to suffer the consequences of trying to breach the very principles they hate and which we hold dear.
Fighting terrorism with terrorism can never be the answer. To do that is to destroy the very principles on which our civilisation is built; to do that would mean giving up our souls for that which we could never believe in. Perhaps this is naive, but is there any other way? I don’t think so.