Friday’s massacre of 305 innocent worshippers, with 27 children among them, is horrific news that has devastated the hearts of Egyptians across their country.
And with them, the hearts of all of us – in the region and in the world – are also shaken.
I cannot imagine how heartless and ruthless those 25 to 30 men could be, that they would carry out an armed assault, firing automatic weapons, on people who simply came for Fridayprayers!
I cannot imagine how cruel and wicked they must be that they would think it alright to take the lives of fellow human beings; who did nothing wrong but be together to worship God that day.
It was heartrending, for me, to see those blood-soaked images, telecast from the Al Rawdah Sufi mosque, in Bir al-Abed, of Northern Sinai.
I know for sure that the visuals on the TV channels are only making us mute spectators to human cruelty.
We are at a complete loss for words as we see the horrors of extremist ideology being unleashed on us.
In this 21st century, day after day, we are becoming numb to the gory sights that each terror attack pours into our living room television sets during news-hours.
We are slowly becoming people whose sense of shock is diminishing; and whose reaction to death is fading.
It was however some consolation to see the Egyptian government swinging into action, immediately after the attacks.
According to CNN, “President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi vowed to respond to the massacre — believed to be the deadliest terrorist attack on the country’s soil — with “brute force.”
“Egyptian warplanes conducted airstrikes on “terrorist outposts” and vehicles following the attack.
“The Egyptian Air Force pursued the terrorist elements, discovered and destroyed a number of vehicles that carried out the brutal terrorist killings, and killed all terrorists inside those vehicles,” as per Egypt’s military spokesman Tamer Rifai.
“It also targeted a number of terrorist outposts containing weapons, ammunition, and radical elements”
In many countries around the world, these terror attacks are putting the governments in a “reactionary mode”. And these governments, we can clearly see, have the wherewithal to combat the terrorists and neutralize them quickly.
However, it is becoming more and more necessary in the world, especially where terror threats are high, that governments take up a “proactive mode”.
One of the ways in which governments can combat the horrors of hate and violence is by spreading messages of unity and brotherhood in the official channels.
Through school textbooks, through children’s stories, through radio and TV programs, we need to be continuously reminded of the beauty of life, and the wonder of coexistence, despite diversity.
Respect for others despite religious, cultural, economic and political differences can be acquired only through the effective spread of the message of peace.
Unless we keep reinforcing our children and young people to shun hate, and to embrace love, we are unlikely to see big changes.
We all know that nothing can justify the disgusting behaviour of terrorists who hold no value for life, and who have no feelings for fellow humans.
The value of life, and the love for fellow humans is not a difficult thing to acquire. But the entire society must gear up to promote it.
Proactive strategies on the part of the societies and governments can easily obviate the reactive actions that need to come after incidents like these. Prevention is always better than cure.