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.