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An Appeal to Barack Obama

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Follow Me on Twitter     Message Vijayaraghavan Padmanabhan
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Dear Mr. President,

I am one among the millions who feel that your ascent to the post of the President of the USA is a positive development from the point of view of the entire world and not just the people of the USA. I am rather anxious that your words – 'America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace' - should come true. As a well-wisher I would like to place a suggestion before you regarding the way to tackle violence, the most distressing manifestation of which is terrorism.

We need to understand why terrorists, who go to the extent of sacrificing themselves while killing innocents, come into being in the first place. The reasons they profess for their demonic acts defy human logic. Those who indulge in terrorist acts, regardless of their national, religious or any other affiliation, basically lack 'inner peace' and instead they are filled with negative feelings. It would be a sign of wisdom to try and find out why they have come to reach such a state of mindlessness and an attempt made to correct the conditions that have pushed them to such a state. Simply trying to counter terrorism without addressing the basic cause would be shortsighted and counter-productive. 

I suggest that you adopt a predominantly defensive policy, while dealing with violence and terrorism. This means it would be a wait and watch policy, which is difficult to accept but a proactive policy of pursuing the terrorists wherever they are, would only lead to an endless chain of action-reaction. The basic cause of unattended grievances of the terrorists would remain, giving rise to more terrorists. Their grievances would not be easy to address. It would require a global restructuring of the politico-socio-economic system of the present day world on more humane lines.  

While it would be justifiable to use force while trying to defend ourselves, force as proactive policy is not the same. Using the intellect as the weapon to take the wind out of the sail of the terrorists, by removing the grievances that propel them, would be much more effective in the long run. You have already taken the first step in this direction by reaching out to the Muslim world in the recent meet with the press. 

Wishing you the very best and I hope that you consolidate the goodwill you have generated in the days to come and do not lose the momentum of positive change while dealing with the distressing problem of terrorism. Understanding and tackling the roots of terrorism is a grave necessity for the entire world if an era of peace is to be ushered in.

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Vijayaraghavan Padmanabhan is former Professor of Medicine, Madras Medical College. Based in Chennai, India. His interests include Spirituality, Politics, Economics and Medicine.

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