On Monday morning 3 bombs went off in downtown Kuala Lumpur. Five people were injured.
I grew up with terrorism: the IRA in the UK and ETA in Spain, so it always bothered me when overseas visitors say things like, "Why don't you talk to them?"
My reply has always been, "Why negotiate with a coward who gets his kicks out of killing and hurting complete strangers who happen to be in pubs, schools and supermarkets?"
Until a week ago, many of my Malaysian friends were all for negotiating with terrorists. Some have been a bit superior about the fact that terrorism isn't (or wasn't!) a factor here. They claimed that bombing is alien to this culture, glossing over people like Azahari Husin and Noordin Mohammed Top, Malaysian terrorists who orchestrate bombings abroad (Indonesia in their case).
After Monday's incident I haven't heard a single one of them suggest we negotiate or even try to find out what these KL bombers want. They're now singing my tune.
I think the world will be a better place when all of us condemn all terrorist bombings no matter who conducts them or where, but I can't say I'm happy about how we all got on the same page.
This has been a very sad week.