Opinion

Political assassinations receive worldwide applause but all they do is breed more violence

Political assassinations receive worldwide applause but all they do is breed more violence
I have always been baffled by the global celebration of assassinations of “Islamic Jihadists”. In the early hours of November 12, Israel launched missiles into the diplomatic residential area in Western Mazeh, Damascus; and in Gaza. 

Here in Syria, the target was Akram Al-Ajouri, a member of the politburo of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. His son, Mouath, and Abdullah Youssef Hassan, died instead. Eleven civilians were injured, one being Al-Ajouri’s granddaughter, Batoul. In Gaza, the target was Abu al-Ata. Five people died, including al Ata and his wife. Thirty civilians were injured, including two of al Ata’s children. Instead of the attacks being condemned, mainstream media justified it.

And it made me wonder. Should political assassinations be acceptable in this day and age? Have we as human beings not transcended the barbaric acts of torturing and murdering people for their beliefs?  Political assassinations do not end violence; nor do they collapse organisations. They just breed more violence, more destruction, and more death. They intensify polarisation and fuel hatred.

While the atmosphere in Damascus is silent, as Syria knows war too well, and Syrians just want peace; missile exchanges continue between Gaza and Israel. Israel fortunately has not as yet had any fatalities, but the death toll in Gaza is rising. Clearly the assassination of al Ata, the attempted assassination of Al-Ajouri and the murder and injury of the surrounding civilians did not benefit anyone. It resulted in retaliation upon retaliation; a state of insanity that surely should be brought to an urgent halt?

And if indeed these people have committed crimes against humanity, should they not rather be taken to court as opposed to blasting their families and them to bits? What kind of world have we become that we can negate and even celebrate the cold-blooded assassinations of adults and children while they are sleeping?

Mechanisms for addressing serious violations of international humanitarian law exist. All human beings are entitled to free and fair trials. Where transgressions occur, the rule of law should apply. If needs be, the “terrorists” should be dragged before the International Criminal Court. Likewise political assassinations too should be regarded as violations of international humanitarian law and be challenged. We no longer live in the era of an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth - humanity has evolved.

With the memories of the assassinations of our own South African “terrorists”, Ruth First, Dulcie September, Chris Hani still being so fresh, observing such glee in the wake of death leaves a very bitter taste.

Reneva Fourie
Damascus, Syria