BETWEEN STATE AND RELIGIOUS TERRORISM
I am fully aware this question is not going to be first and the last, since as long as, the universe continues to expand, as predicted by special relativity theory of Albert Einstein, the human brain continued to develop scientifically in competitive, exclusive, racist and scientific ways, as predicted by Charles Darwin1 and the society requires positive controls, according to Marx Webber, problems of diverse nature including the religious kind will continue to confront man as a sucuba of the original sin.
Any serious government confronted by political or religious terrorism can also comprehend the problem and tackle it from the perspective of phenomenology in the Hursserlian sense of analyzing the essence of things and being in general or from the perspective of existentialist philosophy in Kierkegaard's sense of understanding the predicament of man in a world of pain, dread and conflict by sheer assertion or analysis of his subjectivity.
Historically speaking, the headache which many states in the world today suffer is the clash between Islam and Christianity. Although this is often not in the populist interest it serves the political goals of the business and political elites. Apart from Hindu nationalism, Islam and Christianity are at present the two most vital sources of conflict in the world with disquieting paradoxes with the human agents at both sides of the conflicts having political ad business interests.
Therefore, conflict between the secular and the sacred order is being fuelled by science, as each order must carry the gun of science to subdue the order. While the former and the later could sit on an intercultural level without conflict and guns. We must know that politics and religion could interact on the public space with reason and not with guns.
Plato anticipated the problem of states when he said that the human race will never see the end of troubles until political power is entrusted on the lover of wisdom Francis MacDonald cornford corroborated this with this assertion; that so long as power is valued as the means to wealth the helm of the sheep will be grasped by man of business whose Bible is her profit and less account.
When Plato laments on the human race and the loss of wisdom' he phenomenologically and existentially draws our attention to the 'original sin', and the predicament of man in the Bible. The Boko Haram case in Nigeria is neither a unique phenomenon nor an isolated religious fundamentalism, but neatly fitted into the world furniture of conflict of Islam and Christianity, or at best western civilization. This human predicament does not only subsist at the level of Islam versus Christianity, it does also subsists at the level of Islam versus the state.
Simply put, the quintessence of Islamic irredentism is a struggle against the state. Boko Haram case is a terrorist campaign against both Christians and the state. But this is not isolated because the Islamic revival has had a tangible geographical spread from North Africa via the Middle East to Southeast Asia. The campaigns of terror by the Talabans in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq is essentially targeted against the state while the war between Israel and the Palestine is a conflict of two religious statements explainable in terms of the vicious circle of 'lost of wisdom' and the 'original sin.'
Against the background of a vicious circle of 'loss of wisdom' and 'original sin' is the crack in the Christendom that has resulted to a multiplicity of ills like proliferation, and conflicts among Christians.
This is to say that the current wave of Islamic fundamentalism in the world and the attack on the twin towers in September II 2001 should not distract our attention from the fact that Christian upsurge is no less important in scope and intensity than its counterpart in the Muslim world.
Born-again Christians share the apposition to cultural modernity and political liberalism but are penchant to succumb to motivational requirements for economic modernization. In the era of the execution of the precepts of liberation theology in Latin America, there were violence and terror as instruments for the campaign.
Although liberation theology views man as active subject of historical charge, It is nonetheless associated with some elements of force.
The causal explanation of religious fundamentalism and terrorism as a viscous circle of 'loss of wisdom' or the predicament of 'original sin' seems adequate from the epistemological point of view.
The issue is that in a clash between the sacred and the secular, the religious agents and practitioners are propelled by beliefs and opinions that are in the final analysis not knowledge or the truth. Since when two beliefs contradict each other, both cannot be true and when one is truth the other is false. Hence religious adherents and practitioners have resorted to force, violence and terror as the most efficient means of propagating their faiths.
Two parties fighting or engaging in warfare of this kind use the instrument of terror, one motivated by secular thought (when it involved the state) and the other motivated by religious or divine thought, or they are motivate by religious thoughts.
In both there is a simultaneous exercise of deadly freedom, that is, terror. Terror is a form of violence. It is an act aimed at spreading fear and destabilizing social relations. It must be conceded that many of these cases are treated as ends, but many more are treated as means, and this of course brings to the fore the significance of the clashes between religious fanatics and the (the state) and between the sacred and the secular in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, etc.
The Boko Haram episode stands in a unique way as the most single case of religious violence and terrorism which demystified the state weakened it and held it captive. The killing of the leaders not in the battle front but after arrest and in detention by the state law enforcement agents presupposes a deliberate action to block interrogation and extraction of information from the leaders. When the state kills the source of its information, it contradicts its existence, violates the truth, magnified falsehood, negates the history of social contract and the emergency of society and replaced the rule of law with the rule of brutality.
This also accounts for the origin of government and the sovereignty of the state power which was compromised in the case of Boko Haram. The picture of anarchy conjured by the episode is what precisely necessitated the origin of government, the state and the civil society. Yet members of Boko Haram lived in an isolated world only pardonable by the theory of utopian anarchy.
Despite the efforts of the social contractualists and theories that enhanced rule of law and modernization, it is still difficult to see the pre-civil society as a bygone era that will not continue to re-enact itself. I have argued in this direction that given the crises upon crises which bedevil contemporary world, all caused by human agents, the state of nature can only be concretely conceptualized as state that humanity, society or people can plunge themselves into because of loss of wisdom; which they could come out of when wisdom and rationality returns.
Dukor is the Executiv Director of Essence library and professor of Philosophy at Nnamdi Azikiwe Universityï»¿