This is a new age; an age where things are so well defined yet so vague; an age where one can so openly cheer for the enemy and get away with it; an age when the values are reversed, the norms are upside down, and logic has taken an alarming new twist of nature.
Definition No. 1: Terrorist/Terrorism
This is the word everyone keeps hearing on the news. It’s become a household name. It has also become irrevocably tied to Muslim, Islamic, Islamists, Arabs, Masks, AK47’s, and the Quran!
The media has done such a great job in creating these ties. I dare anyone reading this article now and thinking of a definition of a Terrorist to tell me what is the first image that pops in their head. I rest my case.
Moving on, this is what our dear old Wikipedia has to say about this issue:
“Terrorism, according to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, is the systematic use of terror, "violent or destructive acts (as bombing) committed by groups in order to intimidate a population or government into granting their demands."At present, there is no internationally agreed upon definition of terrorism. Common definitions of terrorism refer only to those acts which (1) are intended to create fear (terror), (2) are perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and (3) deliberately target (or disregard the safety of) non-combatants. Some definitions also include acts of unlawful violence or war.”
The world has many examples of different sides of conflicts. I will choose the one which I know most about, Israel and Palestine. Here are a few examples:
1. In the first few days of Israel’s most recent war on Gaza, Israel killed 167 Police officers. These are people in charge of maintaining the law and are regarded as civilians under the Geneva Convention. They are most definitely “non-combatants”. Israel referred to them as terrorists and Hamas operatives.
2. Attacks on Israeli police AND even the army is regarded as terrorism! The Palestinians seem to be called terrorists in all cases, attacking Israeli civilians, the police and the army! It’s pretty confusing to me.
3. Militants in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan who bomb funerals and market places.
4. Freedom fighters (this term for some reason does not exist anymore, are there no people who live under oppression anywhere in the world?!), are regarded as terrorists (only if they are Muslims). Fighters in Africa who fight for whatever cause or faction are called guerillas, militias, or simply fighters – even as they murder innocent women and children in villages and tribes.
5. All Palestinian individuals with weapons are terrorists, regardless of whether they may be freedom fighters, actual terrorists, members of a militia, members of the police, members of an armed wing of a faction, or simply people trying to defend their homes and farms.
6. Israeli settlers all have guns. Different types of guns. Advanced, deadly, loaded, expensive guns. And they use them every single day against the Palestinian people as means of intimidation to say the least. This is not terrorism.
7. Hezbollah’s army kidnapped two Israeli SOLDIERS = an act of terrorism.
8. In the 2006 war between Hezbollah and Israel, Israel lost 43 civilians in the war (4 of them died of heart attacks from the rockets!) and 121 soldiers (according to the Israeli Defense Forces IDF). Lebanon lost 1,191 civilians and approx. 500 militants (this is an average of various estimates which include deaths from the Lebanese Army, Hezbollah and other Lebanese factions who fought in the war). Notice the percentage differences between civilians and army deaths on both sides.
9. One more thing to add to point 8, Israel killed 4 UN peace keeping unarmed personnel manning an observation point clearly marked as a UN post during that war.
10. Hezbollah are terrorist according to the US, EU, Australia and Canada. Israeli president Shimon Perez won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1994!
Enough examples, the picture is clear now I believe. There were numerous calls to hold a worldwide conference to explicitly and clearly define terrorism. Not a single one has ever been formed.
Today, I don’t care what we’re called. Call me a terrorist, pacifist, killer, murderer or even a homicidal maniac. In my heart, and in the heart of millions who share the same views and beliefs as mine, we fight for a just cause and I couldn’t care less what you label me.
Historically, the citizens of Western Europe who were defending their lands from the Roman expansion were called Barbarians. Today, the citizens of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan who are defending their lands, families, crops and homes are called terrorists.
Next post will talk about the definition of Patriots and Patriotism.