‘World must tear up causes of terrorism’
* Blair praises fortitude of British people following attacks
LONDON: Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Saturday the underlying cause of terrorism must be “pulled up by its roots” because bombers prepared to massacre innocents cannot be stopped by surveillance.
“Probably with this type of terrorism the solution cannot only be the security measures. I have never really doubted that myself,” Blair said in a BBC interview recorded Friday and broadcast Saturday morning. “You have got, as a government, to do everything you can to protect your people,” he said.
However, if terrorists were prepared to blow up people on trains or buses at random “you can have all the surveillance in the world and you couldn’t stop that happening,” he said. “That is why, ultimately, although we have to take the measures necessary, the underlying issues have to be dealt with too, in terms of trying to get rid of this dreadful perversion of the true faith of Islam.”
In attacks blamed by ministers on groups linked to the Al Qaeda terrorist group, three bombs ripped through packed underground subway trains while a fourth tore apart a bus. “I think this type of terrorism has very deep roots,” Blair said. “As well as dealing with the consequences of this - trying to protect ourselves as much as any civil society can - you have to try to pull it up by its roots.”
Among measures that needed to be taken were improving understanding between religions and easing the Middle East peace process. Blair returned to London on Friday after hosting a Group of Eight (G8) summit in Gleneagles, Scotland, and immediately chaired a meeting of ministers and officials to decide a response to the blasts.
It was inevitable that terrorists would try to attack Britain, Blair said, adding: “It’s just tragic that they have succeeded.”
The government had to be “very cautious” in making sure it did not restrict people’s freedoms in the battle against terrorism, Blair added. He also hailed the “great resilience” of the British people following the attacks.
“The British have a very great inner resilience and the response of people in London has been extraordinary,” he said. “Several of the leaders at the (G8) summit commented to me how remarkable the British people are that they are simply not going to be terrorised by terror in this way,” Blair said.
“I think that we will continue with our way of life, I genuinely believe that,” he continued.
“Even as we mourn the lives of those people killed so brutally and unnecessarily, the sense, I think, and I hope, within the country, is to pull together and to make sure people can’t divide us.”
Blair, who just a day before the attacks was celebrating London’s success in winning the right to stage the 2012 Olympics, said he had gone through an “extraordinary gamut of emotions” in recent days. afp