英文

Editorial:The stabbing of a police officer, violence and the beautification of violence

【明報專訊】On JULY 1 a man stabbed a police officer with a knife before committing suicide. The authorities claimed that the incident was an act of local terrorism. The National Security Department of the Hong Kong Police Force is investigating whether the man had any accomplices. Yesterday (July 4), two people were arrested by the authorities on suspicion of inciting others to kill police officers online.

The stabbing was not elaborately planned, but it is certain that the attacker did not ''snap'' at the scene and commit the crime in a rush of anger. It has been revealed that the attacker did not have a criminal conviction and did not have any unsettled scores with the police officer who was attacked. He had left several suicide notes, mentioning that he was dissatisfied with the police's law enforcement and stating clearly that he intended to kill a police officer before committing suicide. The police searched his home and found some promotional materials for social activism. One of the attacker's colleagues was quite shocked by the case, describing him as a quiet man who seldom discussed politics at work.

As a common word, ''terrorism'' is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ''the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims''. However, in Europe and the US, some politically-motivated attacks on police and military personnel in recent years have often been characterised as terrorist attacks. Very often, the attackers were not directly affiliated with any terrorist organisation, but were radicalised local people instigated by online hate speech. Such attacks were therefore classified as acts of local terrorism. As for the means of attack, bombs are not necessarily used. Sometimes a knife or a car is sufficient. In recent years, stabbings of police officers have happened repeatedly in France in what have been described as acts of local terrorism. Such attackers do not look out of place in their daily lives. Since they often act alone when committing crimes, they are called ''lone wolves''.

There are many disagreements in academia about what is meant by terrorism, and it is not uncommon for public views to be influenced by political stances. However, the nature of an incident remains unchanged regardless of whether a specific term is accepted.

Over the past two years, Hong Kong's political situation has changed again and again. However, the fact that one is dissatisfied with, angry at or even depressed about the way things are does not mean that one has reason to resort to extreme violence. Violence will only cause destruction. When one party resorts to violence, the other party will not stay its hand. There will not be a limit to their struggles.

It has been one year since the National Security Law for Hong Kong was implemented. Apple Daily has ceased publication, there was not a candlelight vigil on June 4, and there was not a demonstration on July 1. The authorities have emphasised that they have acted in accordance with the law. Some people, however, think that their freedom of expression has been curbed. The atmosphere of political repression makes some people feel breathless. The powers that be need to face general public sentiments squarely. However, there are many micro-level explanations for why a specific person is depressed. There is no necessary causation between dissatisfaction with the political situation, depression and resorting to extreme violence. Facing the new era and new situation, Hong Kong needs a new discourse at macro level in order to let people see the way forward ideologically and avoid taking the wrong path of radicalisation.

明報社評 2021.07.05:提防恐怖主義滋長 美化暴力遺禍無窮

「七一」男子刀刺警員後自殺身亡,當局稱事件屬本土恐怖主義,國安處正調查是否有同謀,昨天有兩人因涉嫌網上煽惑他人殺警,遭當局拘捕。

這次襲擊事件,部署並不精密複雜,但肯定不是行兇男子臨場情緒失控,一時衝動而為。案情顯示,行兇男子無刑事紀錄,跟遇襲警員亦無私怨過節,他留下多封遺書,提到不滿警方執法,表明要殺警,之後自殺,警方搜查其住所,檢獲一些社會運動文宣材料,行兇者的同事則對案件相當震驚,形容他為人文靜,很少在公司談政見。

「恐怖主義」作為平常用語,牛津字典的解釋是「為了達到政治目的,非法使用暴力及恫嚇,特別是針對平民」,不過在歐美,近年一些針對警員軍人、帶有政治動機的襲擊,通常亦被定性為恐怖襲擊,犯案者往往並非直接隸屬任何恐怖組織,而是受網上仇恨言論煽動,思想激進化了的本地人,因而被歸類為本土恐怖主義,至於襲擊手法也不一定用炸彈,有時一把刀、一輛車已足以成為襲擊工具。近年法國便一再發生刀刺警員的本土恐怖主義案件。這類襲擊者,日常生活並無異樣,由於犯案時多為單獨行動,故被稱為「孤狼」。

何謂恐怖主義,學術界有不少分歧,公眾看法受政治立場左右更是屢見不鮮,不過事情的本質,不會因為是否接受某個字眼而有變。

過去兩年,香港政治形勢一變再變,然而對現實不滿、憤怒甚至抑鬱,不代表「有理由」訴諸極端暴力行為。暴力只會造成破壞,一方訴諸暴力,另一方亦不會客氣,鬥爭不再有底線。

《港區國安法》實施一年,《蘋果日報》停刊、六四無晚會、七一無遊行,當局強調依法辦事,有人覺得是遏制表達自由。政治低氣壓令一些人感到喘不過氣,權力當局需要正視宏觀民情,然而在微觀層面,某人情緒抑鬱,成因可以很多,由不滿政治狀况、情緒抑鬱再到訴諸極端暴力,三者之間亦無必然因果關係。香港面對新時代新形勢,需要宏觀新論述,為的就是從思想層面,讓人們看到前行方向,避開激進化、極端化歧途。

■/ Glossary 生字 /

stay your hand:to stop yourself from doing sth; to prevent you from doing sth

cease /siːs/

to stop happening or existing; to stop sth from happening or existing

the powers that be:the people who control a situation

■英語社評聲檔:link.mingpao.com/53000.htm

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