The aftermath of the terrible tragedy at a Russian school signaled the coming of age of the female terrorist. The incidents over the past weeks have been indeed despicable with children shot in the back and people massacred randomly. Haunting images from a grainy video shot showing explosives wired in the school gymnasium and news clips of soldiers rushing naked screaming children away from the school is enough to put a chill in the most apathetic soul. But strangely, it was found that many of the terrorists holed up in the school were women. We have increasingly seen the role of women rise in spreading terror around the world. We still remember Thenmuli Rajaratnam (Dhanu), a LTTE woman strapped with explosives blow up Rajiv Gandhi. Everyday, scores of Palestinian women willingly come forward to kill Israelites. Recently an alarm was sounded for a Pakistani woman who was suspected to have crept inside the US to propagate further terror attacks. In the latest tragedy in Russia, women formed a major part of the attack team, presumably comprising of wives and daughters of Chechen soldiers killed by Russians.
Being fully aware of the gender differences, can a woman be capable of indulging in such insensitive killing. Usually women are considered the compassionate and life giver part of the human species. Women are less likely to cause blatant physical or emotional pain, or at least I like to think so. No matter how hardened a woman is, she still holds on to her compassionate and sensitive side. Amrutha — a
Tamil Telugu film that I enjoyed even without sub-titles aptly reflects the dilemmas a woman can face, even while fighting for a cause dear to her principles. It’s a well-documented fact that a woman will not cause physical pain to another being even if it leads to a greater good. Most of the women will flinch if they see a lamb slaughtered. The quality, wimpish that men like to use for women actually is compassion and empathy.
So does the involvement of women imply the intensity or passion of the activists behind a cause? Has the injustice or brutality exceeded limits to such an extent that even women take up arms and strap on explosive belts? Does it draw the line between a reign of terror and freedom struggle? Is the Chechen conflict justified because it draws women to its cause? On the other hand, the widely known adage — hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, is very much true and we are all aware of the extent a woman will go if she is wronged. But then who decides, what is right and wrong. One person’s freedom struggle might be another’s terrorist insurgency. The actions of the female terrorist however do not differ much in terms of its ghastly outcome or loss of life. A bullet fired either by a crazed madman or a fervent freedom fighter still kills and if it claims the lives of innocent school children, it certainly cannot lend credibility to any struggle.
But, of course, we cannot hold traditionally accepted norms of social behavior to determine modern terror. Terrorists are aware that women are not prone to searches and generally not a terror suspect in the eyes of the airport inspector. A woman with a baby is given special treatment and ushered into the airplane. What if the terrorists tap this potential and take undue advantage of our chivalrous nature or innocence? It’s a dangerous world out there today, and no one is above suspicion, be it an old man or a young woman. Terror and murder and not alien and jurisdiction of any particular sex anymore. I hope I don’t live to see the day of the child terrorist.