Can Europe Make It?

Public safety is a non-negotiable value, alongside the protection of health and human rights.

Ioanna Karamitrousi
31 January 2014

In recent days, the issue of terrorism has hit the headlines again in Greece. Specifically, a member of one of the biggest terrorist organizations in Greece escaped from prison. As a result, the police departments around Greece rushed to present him as a threat to public safety. Terrorism is a very apropos term, given the fact that we live in difficult socio-economic conditions. But let’s define what terrorism means and what purposes it serves, after which we can analyze how it could be treated.

Terrorism remains a meaningful and multi-faceted phenomenon which unfortunately fulfils the need for a certain fantasy - that of polemic war heroes toppling the established order - explaining some of the empathy for these movements. But the agreement on the need for a definition is not matched by an agreement on what its content should be. Without such an agreement, terrorism will be a feature of daily legal dispute, a phenomenon which is denounced as shameful and reprehensive by all but understood by none.

According to historical data, there are numerous cases of terrorist acts occurring due to international disputes and conflicts between states. The victims are often innocent people. The events of 7 July 2005, when twenty four men and twenty eight women were so tragically murdered on the trains and buses of London are one example. In recent years Al-Qaida and the groups that they have inspired have attacked over twenty five countries and killed thousands of people, many of them being Muslims.

Each one of these cases raises the hard questions a vigilant government and a vigilant country have to answer: what more we can do nationally and internationally to protect our national security? What more we can do to isolate terrorist extremists from the moderate mainstream? What more we can do to defeat terrorist violence in all its manifestations?

The foremost and most important step in this direction is the modernization of police investigations with the protection of human rights at the same time. It’s time for Greece and for the other member-states of the European Union to assume their responsibilities and protect public safety, which is a non-negotiable value. Health, public safety and the protection of human rights are fundamental elements of democracy in contemporary reality. Therefore, the prevention of such crimes is extremely important. Let’s hope for a promising and secure future in all corners of the world.

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