Prior to September 11, the United States of America often aligned with "freedom fighters" confronting colonial power. After all, America itself was birthed from violent rebellion against oppressive British colonialists. The Boston Tea Party, the revolt that sparked the War of Independence, was an act of heroism or terrorism, depending on which side of the Atlantic you stood. (page 18)
Then "terrorism" was a term applied to violence committed by non-state actors developed after the Second World War. As nationalist groups throughout Asia emerged to overthrow their colonial masters, British and French governments used the term to describe their adversaries in news reports. In Malaysia, insurgents fighting the Brits for national liberation were simply called "CTs", communist terrorists.
Post 9/11, Palestinians brandishing AK-47s present the face of terror on television screens. Ironically, underground Jewish militias like the Stern Gang and the Irgun Zvai Le'umi, were also terrorists in the Middle East. Yitzhak Shamir, who later became Israeli Prime Minister, wrote an August 1943 article entitled "Terror", for the journal of the Stern Gang, "First and foremost, terror is for us a part of the political war appropriate for the circumstances of today." Even Nobel Peace Prize winner Nelson Mandela's ANC was not squeamish about employing violence to overthrow apartheid.
The compact edition of the Oxford Dictionary defines:
Terrorism: n A system of terror. 1. Government by intimidation as directed and carried out by the party in power in France during the revolution of 1789-94; the system of "Terror". 2. gen. A policy intended into strike with terror those against whom it is adopted; the employment of methods of intimidation; the fact of terrorizing or the condition of being terrorized.
Teo resisted against replacing the ISA with a Terrorism Act as the Terrorism (Suppression of Bombings) Act of 2007 would not allow pre-emptive action against those who have not yet committed overt deeds that warrant prosecution. Arguing against the right of public trial, he claims "the very airing of these incendiary issues in a public trial can further exacerbate an already volatile situation." Which speaks volumes about the lame discourses in parliament. The ISA is more terrifying than one can imagine.
|Quiz: Was Muammar Gaddafi killed by "terrorists"?|