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The photo on top is my spouse Muriel on the left and my sister Taeko on the right taken in South Africa. Picture on the right is me, Tad Mitsui and my cat, George.
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WHO IS A TERRORIST?
A CBC correspondent Neil McDonald once said that he would not use the word “terrorism.” He said that the word had been so abused often for political reason that he didn’t know what it meant any more. And yet, the danger is that the word is so poisonous that it scares people and drives them to irrational actions. Franklin Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – unjustified terror which paralyses…”
The word “terrorism” is so ubiquitous nowadays. Mr. Harper and his colleagues love to use it and are gaining ground in public support because of it. People are scared. The word has been abused to demonize political enemies avoiding the real issue. Examples:
Two former Israeli Prime Ministers, Yitzhak Shamir and Manachem Begin were hunted by the British Army as terrorists. The guerrilla group they belonged bombed King David Hotel in Jerusalem during the British Mandate of Palestine, killing hundreds of British soldiers. I know two of the survivors of that attack, one lives in Lethbridge. Late President of the South Africa, Nelson Mandela was in prison for 27 years for terrorism. Russian President Vladimir Putin loves to call his political enemies “terrorists.” A Canadian journalist of Al Jezeera is charged for terrorism because he belongs to a news organization that is critical of the Egyptian Military regime. List goes on.
I was detained in solitary for three days and expelled from the Republic of South Africa under the provisions of the racist Apartheid law to combat “terrorism” in 1971. I didn’t do or say anything (I am too cowardly to do such a thing). The reason was my friends; guilt by association. I didn’t know Desmond Tutu was such a dangerous man. He and I were hired together by the same university to teach. Canadian government was no help. “A Canadian of Non-European origin must honour the laws of the land where he is a guest” was the expression the First Secretary of the Canadian Embassy wrote in the letter to me. I guess it was a bad time for Canada because of the 1970 October Crisis in Quebec.
This is why I think it is dangerous for Harper government to use the word “terrorism or terrorist” for political expedience. The real problem remain unresolved and innocent people get hurt.
A pacifist reporter KENJI GOTO beheaded by Islamists in January, 2015
My sister in Tokyo was furious in her recent email about the brutal execution of two Japanese men by ISIS. Of course, she did not spare any word in condemnation of the ISIS. However, an interesting thing about it is a double-edge nature of her anger. She is more angry with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who was using the brutal death of those men to stir up public opinion urging them to accept a more advanced role of the Japanese military in alliance with the West, particularly with the U.S.
Mr. Goto was a member of an United Church in Japan, my sister’s neighbouring church, whose pacifist stand was well known. The United Church of Christ in Japan has been working hard for a long time, albeit an almost lost cause, for protection of the Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution which prohibits Japanese military involvement in a war other than for self defence. It therefore can not participate in the conflict in a third country even with an alliance partner like the U.S. The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, is a right leaning conservative who want to militarize the country by amending the Constitution, which requires a two-third majority in the Lower House. He didn’t get it at the last election. So the propaganda war is fierce. What is lost is that the Constitution was drafted by the U.S. occupation force.
Kenji Goto, a well-known war correspondent, quite naively believing that Japan was still accepted as non-alliance country, went to Syria to negotiate the release of another Japanese hostage, Haruna Yukawa. He didn’t realize that Mr. Abe’s hawkish pronouncements in support of the American led coalition had already been known and changed the mind of the ISIS leadership about Japan. By the way, Mr. Abe represents the segment of the population on the right which denies the culpability of Japanese Imperial Army in the Nanjing massacre and rape, kidnapping of thousands of Korean women as sex slaves, and other war crimes during the Second World War. If denying Holocaust is a crime here, why in Japan the Prime Minister gets away denying war crimes?. I don’t understand the double standard.
It is a tragic irony that the death of the pacifist correspondent is used by a warmongering politicians to advance the cause of militarization. Of course, the brutality of ISIS is despicable. But shouldn’t Prime Minister Abe also take some responsibility in Kenji Goto’s death?