September 24, 2021
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“While terrorism is an evil with which there can be no compromise, we must use our heads, not our hearts, in deciding our response,” Mr. Annan told a seminar on terrorism held by the International Peace Academy. “The rage we feel at terrorist attacks must not remove our ability to reason. If we are to defeat terrorism, it is our duty, and indeed our interest, to try to understand this deadly phenomenon, and carefully to examine what works, and what does not, in fighting it.”Noting that terrorists thrive on despair and gain recruits where peaceful ways of redressing grievances do not exist, Mr. Annan said: “The fact that a few wicked men or women commit murder in its name does not make a cause any less just. Nor does it relieve us of the obligation to deal with legitimate grievance.”On the contrary, terrorism will only be defeated if we act to solve the political disputes and long-standing conflicts which generate support for it. If we do not, we shall find ourselves acting as a recruiting sergeant for the very terrorists we seek to suppress,” he added.He stressed the importance of articulating a compelling global vision that can defeat the vivid, if extreme, visions of some terrorist groups. “We must make clear, by word and deed, not only that we are fighting terrorists, but also that we are standing, indeed fighting, for something – for peace, for resolution of conflict, for human rights and development,” he said.Emphasizing that there can be no trade-off between human rights and terrorism, Mr. Annan declared: “Upholding human rights is not at odds with battling terrorism: on the contrary, the moral vision of human rights – the deep respect for the dignity of each person – is among our most powerful weapons against it.”