I write this piece with a considerable level of anxiety as great instability and insecurity surround our world today. This feeling is evoked as a result of various incidents of terrorism that have been reported through international media.
While the world has condemned and continuously battled elements of terror, it seems that terrorist groups have multiplied and the effects of terrorism have become increasingly felt across many countries and continents. Cities and landmarks that have been known for their relative peace have been attacked by international terrorists, sowing fear across the world that these could happen anywhere, anytime. We need not look beyond the confines of our country; now that several areas in the Mindanao islands have been under attack by various rebel groups, prompting President Rodrigo Duterte to declare Martial Law there.
Although government forces of each country affected by these incidents take action with global allies in the war against terror, the results could only mean winning back a territory previously taken over by terrorists or regaining a semblance of normality in the affected areas. Victories in battle are mere pre-conditions but not guarantees of recovery.
The collateral damage of terrorism leaves a lasting effect on many aspects of life particularly on peace and order, economy, infrastructure, and poverty, among many others. In fact, many areas in poverty-stricken and developing countries have depended heavily on international aid for survival since their national governments do not have the financial capacity to provide all capital needs required for rebuilding and restoration. In reality, people of these affected areas need to realize that they can hardly depend on their governments to sufficiently provide for their recovery and rehabilitation needs.
Therefore, the challenge for every area affected by terrorism is to immediately begin rebuilding and regaining what they lost, all on their own. It is imperative for them to act within their own volition to rebuild their lives and their communities in the absence or insufficiency of government presence and support.
Indeed, it will take fortitude, bravery, creativity and innovation to rebuild an area savaged by terror. It will also be painstakingly difficult and may take year, decades even, for efforts to bear fruition. Hence, people must become patient with the process. The survivors of terror must unite and come together in all rehabilitation efforts.
Sadly, the world will continue to hear stories of terrorism. Some areas, cities, provinces or even states will eventually suffer the fate of terrorism. Not even countries that heavily finance intelligence efforts will be able to extinguish terrorism from the face of the earth. It is therefore a must for all to be vigilant and be ready for the worst.
In reality, we should prepare against terrorism in the same way that we gear up for climate change and other natural calamities. Measures on preparation, mitigation, adaptation, recovery and rehabilitation should be developed, learned, and adopted. We do not want to get caught flat-footed in a world where terrorism is geographically expanding.
In order to achieve lasting peace, the terrorists should not be treated as the only enemy. We also become the enemy of our own selves if we fail to recognize the need to take action.