Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bombs in Uganda, quiet in Staten

At least 30 people died today when bombs ripped through crowds at two separate locations in Uganda as fans tried to enjoy a World Cup soccer match.

The blasts occurred at two Ethiopian restaurants in the tiny African nation's capital. The work is suspected to be that of al-Shabad -- a Somali insurgent group that views Ethiopians as their enemy.

One of the wounded was an American, Kris Sledge, part of a church group that was visiting the country.

"I remember blacking out, hearing people screaming and running," Sledge told the AP. "I love the place here but I'm wondering why this happened and who did this ... At this point we're just glad to be alive."

al-Shabab: this is what actual terrorists look like

It's terrifying, these militant groups waging war against one another in countries we rarely here about, even in the news. In Iraq, most of the recent spate of attacks have been from the competing Iraqi nationals, the Sunni and Shiites. It's their life, their struggle, their sadistic and demented ways.

However, here in the US we may have become so lulled by a sense of security that we lash out and hide at any perceived threat or incursion in our placid and uneventful suburban utopia.

What are we talking about, you may ask? What about al-Shabab? What about those who want to maim and kill and destroy our way of life?

Well, yes, of course we should be concerned about those people, rout them out, prosecute and, if necessary, kill them.

But this other group, the one in question locally that wants to, well, pray, and maybe use their collective powers to, I don't know, work together, with the community, maybe make this a better more open and understanding place. These are not those people. This is not our al-Shabab.

Terrorist cells don't hold town hall meetings with the community, they don't start civic societies, don't have healthy dialogue, and they certainly don't preach tolerance and unity.

The sad part is, there are people who want to kill us. But these aren't them. And wasting your time insisting that they are, encouraging your congressman to 'investigate' them, and shutting them out of the community only curtails our effort to fight extremism.

All signs say that this group means absolutely no harm, and much of the knee-jerk outrage seems to be routed more in the foreign aspect than anything else. Would Midland Beach oppose a potential community of, say, Sikhs or for that matter Buddhists??

You see, defeating extremism requires going after extremists. You're attacking the moderates while the bomb throwers organize in basements. The clock is ticking. Do the right thing.

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