Collateral Damage

Posted by sepoy on November 15, 2005 · 2 mins read

In Karachi, yesterday, a car bomb exploded outside a KFC. 3 people died, more injured. When I first heard the news I thought this was another targeting of KFC which, for reasons unknown to me, has become the center of all protests against the Great Satan in Pakistan. However, the bombing was claimed by the Baluchistan Liberation Army which had, also, recently bombed a gas pipeline. The target was not KFC, according to BLA, but the offices of Pakistan Petroleum Limited which were above the KFC. This attempt to "pressure the government to get our rights" cost three innocent lives.

Over in Baghdad, last week, a suicide bomber exploded in a restaurant. 30 people died, many more were injured. "It is really terrible that most people do not understand how terrifying and life disrupting this random attacks on civilian targets are until they happen in their own backyards." wrote the Iraqi blogger Salam Pax about the Baghdad blast. While his post is a [needed] rant about the hypocrisy of Arab governments towards Iraq, I just wanted to draw your attention to this "routinization of terror" that has happened around us. The Iraqi bombs fall onto deaf ears in the US media. The cities that explode are the only cities that light candles of protest. One one end of the spectrum, a group with a fairly straight-forward federal vs local gripe against the state feels that killing innocent civilians is justified practice. On the other end, the Jordan protests against terrorism, wonderful as they are, occur only after Amman gets attacked. The banality of terror is that it makes us into passive observors until our own weddings explode. The hype of terror is such that a bomb has become a petition. We are not getting out of this mess unless we _publicly and vociferously_ recognize that a human life weighs the same - whether in Karachi, Amman or Baghdad - and that terrorism is wrong, in every place, in every instance.


emullah | November 15, 2005

The collateral damage is usually used in terms of damage to the parties themselves who are on offensive for good cause or damage to the neutrals who are caught into line of fire. It was pure terrorism.

Baraka | November 15, 2005

Beautifully said. All those years of so many people of all backgrounds justifying suicide bombings in Palestine or the killing of innocents in war as collateral damage is coming back to bite us in the butt as far as I'm concerned. It's absolutely unaccetable no matter where it happens or who it targets.

rob | November 16, 2005

Amen. This is pretty much the argument expanded in Judith Butler's Precarious Life, which is unusually lucid and angrily pointed.

detrimental postulation the sepoys shall inherit the earth | November 19, 2005

[...] Following on from his empathic piece on suffering and the inequality of mourning, we get to see how such a sensitive approach might work in (a) an analytical frame and (b) the practice of disaster relief, with ‘They‘, an excellent post which skids through a typically inventive mélange of William Dalrymple and some blindingly stupid congressional representatives in order to emerge at something like a warning. [...]