Saturday, August 13, 2005

Terrorism has no gradients

Check this out:
The way [the British press] cover terrorism means that a person’s death at the hands of terrorists could be presented in many different ways.

For example, if you are killed by Abu-Mussab al-Zarqawi in Iraq, the BBC will say that you have fallen victim to “Iraqi resistance”. If you die in a terror attack in Sharm el-Sheikh you will be a victim of “Islamic militants”. If you are killed in Haifa you will be said to have fallen at the hands of “radical Palestinians.” Those killed in Spain are victims of “Basques separatists”, and if you die in Colombia you would be a victim of “leftist guerrillas”. In Kashmir anyone who dies would be a victim of “Muslim independence fighters.” Only if you die in Britain or the United States the BBC will describe you as a victim of terrorism.

The BBC is not alone in its posture. Several major British and American news agencies and quite a few reputable newspapers have banned the word “terrorist” except when Britain and the United States are attacked.

The belief that some terrorists are good and others bad can lead to other absurd situations. Each year, the Islamic Republic in Tehran celebrates the anniversary of the seizure of the American hostages as “a glorious day” in its history, although, under the Iranian Penal Code, taking hostages is a crime, punishable by 15 years imprisonment.

In August 1978 Khomeinist terrorists set the Cinema Rex in Abadan on fire, killing almost 600 people. The apologists of the regime regard the incident as “an historic moment when the true believers showed their just anger at a symbol of Western corruption.”

The claim that terrorism could be good in certain circumstances is based on the dictum: the ends justify the means.

The dictum amounts to a zoological definition of politics in which there is no room for ethics and law. All that you need to do is to claim that your cause is just and then grant yourself a license to kill as you please.
There is no taxonomy to terrorism assigning gradients of morality by measuring each instance against a variety of possible "causes."
In every case terrorism is an unmitigated evil. Period.

Now guess where this was published.

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