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Monday, March 19, 2012

Toulouse killings: Death in the morning | The Economist

Three young Jewish school children and one adult have been shot dead at a religious school in Toulouse.

This is when my analytical brain runs the risk of short-circuiting. I just fail to comprehend deliberate and brutal violence directed against children.

In the case of Staff Sgt. Robert Bales - the US soldier who went berserk in Afghanistan two weeks ago and murdered nine children and seven adults in their homes - the horrific acts appears to have been the result of mental instability. In a way, this makes is easier to comprehend, albeit no less abhorrent of course. But if such violence is perpetrated for political reasons?

True, the many inaccurate speculations in the immediate aftermath of Anders Breivik's terrorist attacks in Norway should caution us against loose guessing about perpetrators and objectives. Hopefully, the murderer will be caught and we will know the reason in time. So let us not point in any particular direction.

But what if the Economist is correct in speculating that there was a political motive behind this attack? As a student of ethnic conflict, I am aware of the affective power of ethnic, nationalist, religious or other kinds of identity, and the rage felt by those marginalized and oppressed as well as victims of perceived and/or real injustice. But no matter what crimes you may have been subjected to, the children of your enemies are never guilty!

Anyway, I should be preparing tomorrow's lecture but I felt the need to respond to this somehow.

Toulouse killings: Death in the morning | The Economist

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