Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Kill 'Em All - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

Ignoble bullets claimed the lives of six Egyptian Copts and one Muslim security guard in an ugly incident in Nag Hammadi in Upper Egypt on the eve of the Coptic Christmas [7 January]. The criminals justified their actions by saying that this attack was in retaliation for the rape of a 12-year old Muslim girl committed by a Christian man [in November].

A collective punishment is a punishment that aims to target innocent victims; this is something that cannot be accepted by religion, morality, logic, or anybody with a conscience. This [incident] was an example of the insanity of the collective punishment in its worst form.

An irrational and criminal terrorist attack was carried out by the Al Qaeda terrorist organization against New York, in response to this war was declared on Iraq, and the country was invaded, and thousands of innocent victims were killed and continue to be killed as a result of this. A resistance attack occurs against the occupying Israel army, and so the response to this is an indiscriminate destructive attack that ruthlessly kills women, children and the elderly, destroying building and cities, without punishing the actual perpetrators of the [original] attack.

Insanity breeds insanity, and for every action there is an even greater and more violent reaction. “Collective punishment” is an insane state of affairs being experienced in the world today, whether this is by an individual who swears revenge against “anybody” or groups and organizations who decide to take matters into their own hands to effectively apply whatever they consider to be just and legal. This insanity is not confined to the above, but also includes nations and [international] organizations that are doing the same thing, only more effectively, for they enact laws and legislations that differentiate between peoples in an unjust and short-sighed manner

The Crusades were also a type of collective punishment, and the armies of the Franks came to “liberate” the Holy Lands from “the deviant tribes” according to how this campaign was promoted at the time. The Nazi crimes against ethnic minorities, including the Jews, were also an example of this. The actions of white colonists against native Africans, Native Americans in the US, and the Australian aboriginals are also examples of crimes of collective punishment.

The surprising thing in what happened in Nag Hammadi is the speed with which this crime was called a sectarian incident, despite the fact that it was a revenge attack. This was an attempt by criminals to retaliate against a crime committed by a stupid and ignorant individual, however instead of moving to punish the person responsible for this crime (which would be a mistake in any case as a country has laws that should rightly deal with this) they instead attacked a group of people of the same religion as the original offender.

A person makes a mistake and so his sect, or family, or city, or country, or religion, pays the price for this mistake. This is modern ignorance of the worst kind. This is something that will not deter criminals and cruel reprisals will not prevent [original] crimes being committed. Collective punishment allows racism and sectarianism to prevail, and countries will become a breeding ground for [internal] division.

The experience of India, South Africa, and Singapore, with regards to reducing the phenomenon of collective punishment, and the crimes of those who believe in this, had led to the creation of a more homogenous society and a more resilient nation This is by strengthening the laws in these countries against barbaric and deviant ideas; we are not saying that countries such as this are heavens on earthy, but they have sought with honesty and integrity to counter this destructive threat and deal with it in an effective manner. These are all countries that experienced difficultly with regards to establishing independence, and they were vulnerable to division and destruction, however they recognized the importance of establishing a unified nation for citizens to belong to, rather than putting sectarian or tribal affiliations first as this comes at the expense of national unity. This in itself is the key to understanding [how to counter this issue] and salvation.

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi

Hussein Shobokshi is a businessman and prominent columnist. Mr. Shobokshi hosts the weekly current affairs program Al-Takreer on Al-Arabiya, and in 1995 he was chosen as one of the "Global Leaders for Tomorrow" by the World Economic Forum. He received his BA in Political Science and Management from the University of Tulsa.

More Posts