Friday, September 20, 2013

Blog #2: Tazania Says 15 Are Linked to Acid Attacks

On Tuesday, September 17th, the Zanzibar police arrested 15 people in connection with a series of acid attacks in Zanzibar, Tanzania. According to the article, Zanzibar holds a mix of different cultures and is a popular tourist city due to white sandy beaches and the beauty of the city itself. However, the string of acid attacks has negatively affected tourism which is the main source of economic activity in the region. The victims range from two British women doing volunteer work to a Catholic priest. In the search for who is responsible for the attacks, police commissioner Mussa Ali Mussa stated that the "Al Qaeda and the Somali Islamist extremist group Shabad" are responsible. On the other hand, economist Mohammed Hafidh as well as Ahmeid  Rajab, managing director to a Somali television network, doubt the accusations of the police and do not believe that terrorist groups are involved.

After reading this article, two things can be noted. The first is the fact that these acid attacks are having a negative affect on tourism which is what brings money to Zanzibar. This causes one to wonder what if the attacks were not affecting the economic state of the region at all? If theses series of acid attacks had no correlation to tourism and were just acts of violence, would the attacks have made the headlines? The correlation of these attacks to tourism has caused not only the police of Zanibar to become involved but also people like Mohammed Hafidh, an economist, to become involved. It is most likely that the leaders of Zanibar are demanding answers not only to put an end to the acts of violence but also to get the flow of cash back into the region.

The second is how this article leaves many questions unanswered and even causes the creation of even more questions. One reason this article does this is is because it states that the police commissioner, Mussa Ali Mussa suspects terrorist groups to be behind the attacks and yet continues on and says, that Mussa had no evidence to back up his statement and even refused to answer any further questions. This leads one to ask why the commissioner said that the Al Qaeda and the Shabad are to blame if he has no way to support his own statement. The Thomas Theorem may play a part in explaining why. According to the Thomas Theorem reality does not matter but rather what one perceives as reality is what becomes true. The police are a respected and powerful part of society that enforces rules and many believe what the police have to say. So, despite the reality of the situation, many may perceive the police commissioner's statement to be true and believe that it is so. Also, perhaps the pressure the leaders of Zanzibar are putting on the police to find the perpetrators in order to restore economic activity, also played a part in the commissioner's statement. Another reason why this article leaves one asking for more is because people like Hafidh and Rajab are questioning the "validity of the police commissioner's statement". The article states that these men are skeptical that terrorist groups are to blame because both the Al Qaeda and the Shabad are "known for deadly and large-scale attacks". Evidence of the use of large-scale attacks through the use of bombs, guns and suicide bombers, can be seen in many terrorist groups like the Al Qaeda and the Shabad, but also the Taliban and the Tamil Tigers of Sri Lanka in the early 1980s. There aren't many, if any, cases of the use of acid by these terrorist groups.

In order for the police to find out who is responsible for these acid attacks, they must first find the correlation in the attacks as well as the reason behind why they happened. Reasons are endless and can range from a hate crime to a religious conflict. Real evidence must be collected before anyone is blamed for these horrific attacks and the perpetrators must be found and convicted.

Catherine Choi

No comments: