Prof. Steven PlautSteven Plaut teaches at the University of Haifa and is author of "The Scout" (available from Gefen Publishing House). More of his writings can be seen on the New Plaut Blog, as well as in numerous electronic and print newspapers.
My heartfelt sympathies to you and the Indian people for the Bombay unrest this week.
But we must really speak about how to deal with the atrocities and protests, including the attacks on India, by these misunderstood Islamic activists. Mister Prime Minister, I have a great deal of experience in dealing successfully with terrorism and this is why I wish to come to your rescue.
The first thing you must realize is that one can only make peace with one?s enemies. With one?s friends there is no need to make peace. There is no military solution to the problems of terrorism, and this is why you must seek a diplomatic solution. ?No Justice, No Peace,? as they say. You must invite the leaders of this Islamic organization to Delhi to meet with you and perhaps tour the Taj Mahal. You must learn to feel their pain and understand their needs. You must offer to turn a third of your territory over to them so that these stateless Moslems can have their own state. I have no doubt Pakistan will applaud your efforts.
You must meet their demands nearly in full. In addition, you must offer them Internet web services and five-star tourist hotels in exchange for their promising to abandon violence. That is how we turned Yasser Arafat into a peace partner. You see, military force serves no role any more. It is passe. It is archaic. Today, economic interests dominate the world and the Islamist activists of the earth will surely make peace in exchange for some profits from participating in global trade.
The attacks on Bombay came because you have been insufficiently sensitive in understanding the needs of Moslem fundamentalists. You took their rhetoric at face value, whereas we in Israel know that all this rhetoric is empty and in fact these people simply want peace. Sure, they praise Hitler and celebrate atrocities, but what is it that they really want? You must negotiate even while under attack; conditioning negotiations on an end to violence is a no-win situation. It will simply extend the bloodshed!
You have been trying to rule over others and failed to be sensitive to The Other. You have illegal settlements that you have yet to remove from Kashmir and Hyderabad and Punjab and Gujarat. You must put your own house in order, and eliminate inequality and injustice inside India, and then the terrorists will no longer target you.
The key is to build a New Middle Asia, one in which everyone is so busy with the important matter of development tourism and investments and hi-technology that they have no time to pursue violence. The era of war is finished.
Moreover, if you strike at the perpetrators of the Bombay unrest/protests and their supporters, you will simply extend and enlarge the cycle of violence. Your bombs will no doubt injure some innocent children and civilians alongside any terrorist activists you strike, and that will simply enrage the rest of the world and make the victims seek revenge. Your bombing of these militants and activists will cause them to hate the Hindus and drive the separatists to embrace terrorism. Moreover, if you refuse to negotiate with the Moslem separatists, then their leader will be toppled and a really violent militant and fanatic will take his place. In that case, you will have lost the window of opportunity to make peace. Begin by declaring a unilateral ceasefire!
Mister Prime Minister, blessed is the peacemaker. Remember Mahatma Gandhi (but not Rehavam (Gandhi) Zeevi). The entire world will support you and congratulate you if you respond to these horrific attacks by disarming India and opening dialogue with the terror activists. All we are saying is give peace a chance. Yitzhak Rabin would have approved. Yes, chaver, what you need is shalom, salaam, peace. You will be cheered and awarded a Nobel Peace Prize in recognition. Do not allow yourself to be drawn into the gutter of violence. Violence never achieves anything. History is no lesson. History is the dead past.
End the cycle of violence. Show restraint. Forgo the juvenile impulse to avenge.
Follow my example! Provide the Bombay bombers with anti-aircraft and anti-tank missiles, so that they can battle against the true radicals and fanatics. And they will do so with no ACLU or Supreme Court to restrain them.
Demonstrate your humanity by paying pensions to any widows and orphans of the terrorist who blew up the cars.
Mister Prime Minister, the proof is in the pudding. My own peace policies have eliminated war and bloodshed and terror from the Middle East. We no longer have terrorists to deal with in the Levant, only peace partners. If you follow in my footsteps, you can achieve the same lofty goals.
Shimon Peres, Peacemaker-at-Large