24 July, 2006

Definitions of Terror

There are many definitions of terror:
panic: an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety

The United Nations
has never come to a consensus opinion on the subject. A.P. Schmid proposed this short definition to the U.N. in 1994: "Act of Terrorism = Peacetime Equivalent of War Crime".

The academic consensus definition
, also by Schmid states "Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby - in contrast to assassination - the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperiled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought" (Schmid, 1988).

It's difficult to come by with by with a definitive definition of terrorism; it depends on who you ask and what background, and where, that person is from. But in relation to the last few days events, I totally agree with Ms. Jane Kaberuka. I quote:

"The disproportionate response to the capture of Israel soldiers is being justified with utmost tongue twisting in most of our daily tabloids. Jesus, it does not matter how you look at it, but terror is terror whether administered by Hezbollah or by Israel. Look up the definition in any dictionary and you will surely understand where I am coming from with this. The art of targeting people/civilians with deadly weapons is criminal whatever form it may be packaged. Remind me on this one, but we used to call such insanity "crimes against humanity" or war crimes in the good old days. Maybe I am missing something here, but haven't the international community tried Slobodan Milosovich at the Hague for the crimes he committed whilst president of Yugoslavia; pursued Joseph Kony; Intarahamwe and the agitators of genocide in Rwanda; Charlse Taylor et al. for acting in a manner that departs from the general appreciation of the "laws of humanity?" With these horrific events in the Middle East, the list just got longer.

Followers of the Middle East current affairs know for sure that this onslaught is not a result of self defense from Hezbollah katyusha rocket attacks and the capture of the two soldiers, but a well planned strategy to deface the new Arab identity from solidifying in Israelis vicinity. If that does not hold water, how then would we explain the savage and brutal attacks on civilians and Lebanon's symbols of economical revival/development such as her infrastructure, power stations, business entities et al. or the continuing reference of Syria and Iran as sponsors of terror and the convenient relegation to oblivion the mention of the mammoth sponsorship Israeli terror receives from USA and her obedient allies. I say it again, terror is terror, there is no in between, no good terrorists and no bad terrorists especially when innocent civilians are dying in a hurry as collateral damage.

We also know that the capture of the two Israeli soldiers did not come as a surprise to the state of Israel since the Hezbollah leadership had been publicly expressing their desire to capture Israeli troops as bargaining chips for Lebanese prisoners. Equally important, is the fact that Israeli has not only been violating Lebanons sovereignty but had continued to occupy some parts of southern Lebanon at will. With such 'bwiino' it is hard to ascertain who the aggressor is and who is justified to press the self defense mode button. The bottom line is that innocent people, women and children mostly, are dying as a result of this madness and just like in Rwanda, the world looks on in horror but doing nothing to stop the senseless carnage, which leaves the impression that some lives are worth more than others."

It doesn't matter how one defines terror. Israel has mercilessly used its vast superior military might and power, and caused so much destruction, indiscriminately - that I fail to understand what that precisely serves. Even more: I totally fail to understand how the US, intends to provide humanitarian aide. After all the support and encouragement that it has given to Israel.

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