Story of our world today

2016-07-19 06:00

JUST after midnight on Thursday, I received a message that there had been a terror attack in Nice, France.

News of mass killings has become so commonplace in the world that sadly they no longer have the shock impact they should.

I clicked onto my Twitter timeline and found it flooded with breaking news of another human tragedy unfolding.

As I scrolled down, there was graphic footage taken by people at the scene — bodies strewn on the streets and traumatised people screaming in horror.

A truck had ploughed through a festive and unsuspecting crowd during Bastille Day celebrations in the French coastal city.

By Friday morning, the confirmed death toll was 84.

It is the story of the world today, where one horror incident after another terrifies the human race, only to be masked by something even more dreadful happening a few days later.

Speaking at a memorial service recently for five police officers in Dallas, Texas, U.S. President Barack Obama called on Americans to “reject despair” as racial tensions mount across the country. The five policemen were shot by an African-American army veteran at a protest over the recent police shootings of African-Americans in Minnesota and Louisiana.

Obama tried to soothe his nation, traumatised by unceasing incidents of mass shootings in recent years.

“Another community torn apart, more hearts broken, more questions about what caused and what might prevent another such tragedy.

“All of it has left us wounded and angry and hurt. This is — the deepest fault lines of our democracy have suddenly been exposed, perhaps even widened. And although we know that such divisions are not new, though they’ve surely been worse in even the recent past, that offers us little comfort,” Obama said.

He captured what happens across the world as terrorism continues to capture humanity.

“We turn on the TV or surf the Internet, and we can watch positions harden and lines drawn and people retreat to their respective corners, and politicians calculate how to grab attention or avoid the fallout.

“We see all this, and it’s hard not to think sometimes that the centre won’t hold and that things might get worse.”

In South Africa, we have mercifully not been the target of terror attacks, although incidents of criminal and political violence are unacceptably high.

However, it came as a shock this week that police had arrested four people on terrorism-related charges.

Two young men, twins Brandon-Lee and Tony-Lee Thulsie, were allegedly planning to join the Islamic State group in Syria, and are accused of wanting to bomb the U.S. embassy and Jewish facilities in the country.

Two other siblings, Fatima and Ibrahim Mohammed Patel, were charged af-ter they were found in possession of a stun grenade and 20 rounds of live ammunition.

It is not clear how the 23-year-old twins, who converted to Islam, became radicalised and why they might want to perpetrate violence in South Africa.

Around the world, there is a rising tide of violence and the will to cause human suffering.

The struggles to assert racial and religious freedoms are being hijacked by extremists who believe that mass bloodshed could somehow further their causes.

From suicide bombings in Turkey’s main airport to religious sites in Saudi Arabia, it is difficult to read sense into the Islamic State’s agenda and what it hopes to achieve.

Similarly, excessive police force used against African-Americans and retaliatory attacks against white officers can hardly help to promote race relations in a divided society.

• Ranjeni Munusamy is a political journalist and commentator for the Daily Maverick. •

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