"One More Cafe" in Ankara

One More Cafe in Ankara

I was in Ankara just a couple of months ago, enjoying its many coffee-shops. And now this: At least 95 dead, 200 injured in Ankara Peace Rally bombing yesterday.

We are surrounded with hate. People hate each other; They hate the beliefs and lifestyles of those who are not like them. In a turbulent new world, ethnicism, nationalism, xenophobia, racism, tribalism and sexism are all making a comeback. Protofascism is upon us.

Most rational people simply ignore hate and hate speech. But the language of hate goes a long way and it should not be ignored. Demagogues use the language of hate to quickly capture power and hold on to it. Some so called "intellectuals" and "public figures" downplay their own messages of hatred. But, inspired by the language of hate, someone-somewhere funnels their hate into acts of terror. Innocent people die.

I don't know who is really responsible for the bombing in Ankara - we may never find out. But, in the recent years, the political language in Turkey - as all over the world - has increasingly taken a "us versus them" tone; And there are many "them".

Someone asked how I define terrorism. Pretty straightforward: "The use or threat of violence against innocent or helpless people belonging to another group". Note that in my definition there's no distinction between "intentional" and "unintentional", "political" and "apolitical" acts. By that measure, cops shooting unarmed men, governments striking hospitals or someone bombing a Peace Rally are all acts of terror. Collateral damage is terrorism.
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