The depravity of institutionalized terrorism and the jihadist organizations’ seemingly unquenchable quest for ever-more perverse ways to horrify humanity struck a new low over the weekend as a militant Taliban offshoot targeted Christian children at an amusement park in Lahore, Pakistan, on Easter Sunday.
As usual, the responsible terrorist organization — in this case, a federation of insurgent groups that aims to overthrow the Pakistani government through violence and to slaughter its way to power — was quick to take credit for the gruesome atrocity.
And the world breathed in a united gasp of horror as images of hysterical mothers clutching their children’s lifeless bodies and photographs of bloodied dismembered limbs of toddlers and infants strewn across a once-peaceful fairground filled the Internet and television screens around the globe.
Granted, this is not the first time that fundamental Islamic terrorist organizations have targeted children as victims of their wanton brutality.
In April 2015, Boko Haram delighted in mocking the civilized world as it cringed when the Nigerian terrorist group kidnapped hundreds of school girls and auctioned them off as child brides to their acolytes.
Last December, the Islamic State caliphate (following in the goosesteps of another nefarious regime that marred human history) allegedly issued a fatwa across its territories in Iraq and Syria ordering that newborns with Down syndrome and other congenital deformities be euthanized at birth.
And, of course, the Taliban gained international infamy in 2012 when one of its henchmen boarded a school bus and opened fire on a then-15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for daring to seek an education.
Just a little over a year ago, Taliban militants stormed a school in Peshawar methodically going from classroom-to-classroom to slaughter helpless students.
These groups target children precisely because the sheer act of killing innocent, defenseless souls is appalling and goes against the last remnants of human moral constraints.
The perpetrators of these abominable acts choose children as their victims because they understand that nothing is more loathsome or more terrifying for a parent than the slaying of a child.
The butchery of children grabs international headlines and tugs at our hearts.
There can be no justification for murdering children, and certainly, Sunday’s massacre will win no support for the Taliban cause among the Pakistani public.
But the Taliban, like other extremist groups that resort to terrorism, is not looking for approval or political endorsement.
The objective of the attack was to shock, intimidate and to instill fear.
Terrorism respects no boundaries of human decency, and knows no taboos.
But even such contemptable crimes as the targeting of innocent children on a holiday that is intended to represent universal peace and forgiveness cannot coerce the Pakistani people into submission.
These barbarian assassins may think that they can ride the curtails of turpitude into power, but, they are wrong.
In the end, democracy will always win out over terror.
Thérèse Margolis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org