(Autumn 1991) The concept of a Marxist revolution has become a cruel joke even in the land where it was born, but self-styled leftist revolutionaries elsewhere soldier on as though nothing has changed.
All in the name of some new Marxist world order, they blow up businesses, murder political and labor leaders, sabotage economies and, with increasing frequency, turn on and devour their own. What they conspicuously fail to do is improve the lot of the common man - their professed goal.
Instead, as a recent rash of terrorist attacks suggests, these so-called "revolutionaries with a cause" have become simply guns-for-hire available to anyone with a score to settle. A recent terrorist attack in the Greek city of Patras is a case in point.
On April 19, a powerful parcel bomb bomb exploded in downtown Patras, killing sever people and wounding 10. Six of the victims were Greek, and the seventh was so disfigured that he could not be identified. Said a senior police officer investigating the bombing, "The fact that no one has claimed his body and that there was no crater at the site of the explosion indicates that he was carrying the explosives."
But who or what was the intended target? Security officials point out that the building housed the offices of a courier service associated with an American company, the Patras Appeals Court and local Communist Party offices. One possible target was the Public Prosecutor: he had been involved in the embezzlement trial of five Foreign Ministers. But an equally plausible target was the U.S.-affiliated courier service. Greek terrorists have launched a number of attacks against facilities linked to the countries that made up the allied forces in the Gulf War.
Still another possibility, according to investigators, is that the bomb exploded as it was being carried to the British Consulate some 300 meters from the site of the blast. In any event, eight Palestinians, mostly University students, and a Greek woman were arrested in connection with the bombing, and security officials said some 200 Palestinians would be expelled from Greece. Said Prime Minister Constantine Mitsotakis, "The government is determined to intensify its efforts to wipe out the scourge of terrorism."
Turkey, too, has been plagued by a rash of terrorist attacks, many of them claimed by the leftist terrorist group Dev-Sol. By the end of April, the Labor Ministry, four banks and two businesses had been bombed, and a provincial governor, a public prosecutor, a forestry official and a former general had been assassinated. The rampage has not gone unpunished. Two suspected Dev-Sol members were killed and six were wounded when they opened fire on police raiding their flat in Ankara.
Acting on a telephone tip, Rome police on April 9 found an unexploded bomb outside an entrance to the city's main Law Courts building. The caller said, "We are from the Revolutionary Movement. We will blow up the Rome Tribunal." No reason for the attempt was given.
Meanwhile Philippine military and police officials continue their 22-year battle with the New People's Army, the military wing of the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippines. With the party's public support evaporating rapidly, its terrorists have become increasingly ruthless - and indiscriminate - in their attacks. On March 5, Manila police arrested Eduardo Alcober, a member of the New People's Army death squad, and charged him with the murder of three moderate labor union officials and several policemen. Two days later, on March 7, police and civilian volunteers killed 15 terrorists and wounded seven on Leyte Island, suffering no casualties themselves. On April 15, a newspaper publisher in the southern Philippines was murdered when a gunman kicked down the door of his office and started shooting.
Around the world, in fact, governments and citizens are showing increasing resolve in countering terrorist violence, "revolutionary" or not. Following a three-month terror binge by the country's two main terrorist groups, the Colombian governemnt announced on April 9 it would spend $100 million to hire thousands of new police and otherwise beef up its anti-terrorist efforts.
In early April, Chilean President Patricio Aylwin proposed the creation of a special anti-terrorist police force to combat the country's increasing terrorist violence, and predictable enough, the Communist Party attacked the move as "a step to the right." Genaro Arriagada, Vice President of the Christian Democratic Party, countered that "A democratic state cannot remain unarmed in the fight against terrorism." And in Peru, after a week-long wave of terrorist violence, security officials in late April detained some 2,500 terrorist suspects in Lima alone.
Analysts point out that although widespread terrorism has been a part of contemporary life for almost three decades, it has yet to achieve any of its claimed "revolutionary" goals. It has, however, cost tens of thousands of innocent lives and damaged or destroyed billions of dollars worth ov vital infrastructure. Colombian officials say, for example, that since the beginning of the year in that country alone, terrorists have been responsible for some 600 deaths and have cost the national economy an estimated $600 million
Whether at the hands of law enforcement officials or in internal feuds, terrorism has also taken the lives of thousands of its perpetrators. And that figure is climbing steadily.
Juan J. Lopez