I totally agree with Dr Ng Eng Heng that counter-terrorism efforts could go on for a long time “7 times more Singaporeans radicalised in the past year: Defence Minister (Oct 9).
The defence ministry has done the right thing by getting our soldiers to participate in counter-terrorism missions for a decade in counties like Afghanistan against the Al Qaeda. Although more training and deployment for our soldiers will continue so that Singaporeans can be protected should terror attacks occur, it is just as important that the media and movies producers be mindful of sensationalising and glorifying violence as it can influence extremists from following what they see.
Let’s understand that violence begets violence. Given the rise in terrorism world-wide, everyone has an important role to play in stamping out senseless violence.
Because they have so much hatred and anger in them, terrorists’ groups have only one purpose – to maim and kill innocent people. They have absolutely no love for human beings.
Some time ago, the movie Air Force One was shown in America and many other countries, including Singapore. In this action-packed thriller, a group of hijackers seized the plane carrying the President of the United States and his family.
By some strange coincidence, several years later in September 2001, American Airlines Boeing 767 crashed into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City killing 2,996 people and injuring 6,000 others, with damages estimated at $10 billion in infrastructure and property. The Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks.
Many of the Hollywood blockbusters which has excessive violence and broadcast through wide TV networks around the world could in some way be giving ‘ideas’ to terrorists or potential ones. These movies tend to ‘glorify’ violence. Given that terrorism is causing havoc in many cities, broadcasting stations may want to review what they telecast as the outreach is big.
World-wide media coverage of terrorists’ cruelty such beheading people or bombing crowded places will give terrorist groups the attention they crave for. Bear in mind that a discontented society paves the way for terrorists to recruit followers and carry out terror attacks.
The media and platforms on the internet all over the world should therefore not play into the hands of terrorists by sensationalising coverage on violence and terrorism because it will not only instill fear and anxiety in people, but divide everyone.
Once fear grips people, they panic and become vulnerable to the evil doings of terrorists. Thus, an effective way for nations to defeat terrorists is to build unshakable resilience and stay united – period.
But while it is important for everyone to stay vigilant against terrorism, we cannot also be looking over our shoulders all the time, and be held ransom to terrorists.
RAYMOND ANTHONY FERNANDO