Friday, July 08, 2005

Terrorism

50+ dead, 700 injured.
50 - mothers, fathers, sons, daughters.
As soon as I heard the news I rushed home to watch cnn/bbc/sky/euronews. Death, destruction, pain. Then I remembered of an essay by Ronald Harvey, found the book and read it…….

“One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter - a truism too often ignored. To the Arabs the Israelis are terrorists, and their own men freedom fighters. To the Israelis the Arabs are terrorists, and so it goes on. If beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, so does terrorism. Pascal summed it up:
'Why do you kill me?'
'Well, don’t you live on the other side of the water? If you lived on this side, my friend, I should be a murderer, and it would be wrong to kill you like this. But since you live on the other side, I am a brave man and it is right.'

And yet terrorist and freedom fighter are not really the same under different names. What distinguishes one from the other? A freedom fighter who kills or threatens to kill innocent, unarmed people in his attempt to free his country is a terrorist. If he confines his threats and actions to the armed forces and government of his country's oppressors he's no terrorist. Fighting between fighters is not terrorism, but threats, abduction and the killing or wounding of civilians or unarmed people most certainly is. The problem is, often, how to separate the innocent from the involved, the unarmed from the armed and, consequently, freedom fighting often degenerates into terrorism……. Terrorism is a cancer arising out of resentment; frustration and a feeling of injustice. People, who do not so suffer, rarely breed terrorists.”
“Our Fragmented World” (Green Books 1988)

But how about our share of responsibility? Are we responsible for our governments’ actions and decisions? Is there anything like State Terrorism? According to iraqbodycount.net, while I’m writing this, there are between 22000 and 26000 Civilians reported killed by the military intervention in Iraq. Are we so blind as not to see that all these killings breed terrorism? Aren’t there any innocent people in those numbers, or are they all criminals and terrorists?

Would this justify the bombings in London? Of course not. How could you ever explain to that little girl that her daddy will not come home tonight, or any other night, since Bush, Blair and others decided to invade Iraq because of the threat of weapons that do not even exist? How could you ever explain to that Muslim mother, whose son was traveling on that train, that he has been killed in the name of the same Allah whom he so believed in?

And yet, would humanity ever learn…..I doubt it will.

1 comment:

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