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Statement on the Launch of the
South Asia Terrorism Portal


K.P.S. Gill
President, Institute for Conflict Management

New Delhi, March 11, 2000

The SOUTH ASIA TERRORISM PORTAL is a project rooted in a deep conviction that the rising scourge of terrorism is a threat not only to this region, but to all humanity. Terrorism is a method that recognises no limits of law and knows no constraints of morality, of honour, of human compassion, or even of the minimal rules of warfare. Crucially, it transcends all international boundaries, and returns to consume the very systems and societies that create, support and sponsor it, even as it destroys those who tolerate or succumb to it.

For some years now, a part of the political and intellectual world has been seduced by the improbable idea of a clash of civilisations, of a final determination of the superiority of one culture, ideology or Faith over all others. And terrorist violence is sometimes seen as a legitimate instrument in this final, millennial, struggle by those who are absolutely convinced that their vision of the world is the only one possible. But no nation, culture or civilisation can conceivably benefit from terrorism. This is the pitiless enemy of every nation state in the world, of all cultures and of civilisation itself.

Terrorism, moreover, is not the problem of its victim societies alone. Its impact reverberates across the globe. A victory for terrorism anywhere in the world is a victory for terrorism everywhere.

This is why this evil must be fought collectively, by all nations, all cultures and all civilisations. When we speak of defeating terrorism, we do not speak of the right or wrong of a specific ideology or Faith, or of any nation's claims in a particular dispute. We speak only of the rejection of an extraordinarily inhuman and barbaric method of warfare as an instrument of resolution.

The global community must now come together to arm and defend itself against the random and indiscriminate violence of the rising tide of terror. But this, alone, will not suffice. Arms and force are necessary, if we are not to succumb. But the eventual victory against terrorism will be secured in the minds of men.

Therein lies the significance of the Internet. Like terrorism, it transcends international borders; unlike terrorism, however, it creates and communicates the possibilities of a greater understanding of the diversity of mankind, of the resolution of disputes and differences without violence, of the hopes and dreams of all of humanity living in peace.

It has often been said that, if you wish to change the world, you must first accept and understand it as it is. The SOUTH ASIA TERRORISM PORTAL is an endeavour to achieve such an understanding of the world of terror.





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