What is Terrorism?

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

[Picture of UK PM Winston Churchill with cigar and v for victory sign]LET’S begin with a quote from Winston Churchill:

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it”

This resonates with the famous dictum: that history is written by the victors.

In a conflict, there are two opposing sides, and one of them will be the victor, and will predominate, dominate and write history from their point of view.

[picture of terrorist in silhouette]When those in that position of power are challenged, the challengers are called terrorists, insurgents, rebels, guerrillas, saboteurs and revolutionaries.

That is, until the challengers succeed, take power and rewrite history (revisionism).

So the simple answer to the question: “what is terrorism?”, is that it depends on what side you are on.

Now, in case my reasoning here is considered too vague and arid, allow me to give an example.

[Picture of Nelson Mandela fighting]Nelson Mandela.

Here’s the scene: the country of South Africa had a stable, peaceful and internationally recognised government that was being challenged by terrorists called the ANC.

Nelson Mandela decided that peaceful means were getting their cause nowhere, and so he co-founded the MK guerrillas– the pro-violence, armed division of the ANC.

Mandela raised funds abroad and quickly started bombing campaigns.

He was eventually captured with the help of American spies and went to trial where he escaped the death penalty when he was found guilty.  He was instead sentenced to life imprisonment.

While in prison, Mandela became a lawyer through a correspondence course with The University of London.

In the 1980s, Mandela’s MK guerrillas were particularly violent and there were many innocent civilian casualties, so in February 1985 President PW Botha offered Mandela freedom if he would denounce the violence. Mandela refused.

Meanwhile, international pressure was mounting against the South African government’s apartheid policy, and the opportunity for change came when President Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced.

[Picture of President de Klerk]On 2nd February 1990, the new President, F.W. de Klerk, started the change away from apartheid by removing the ban on organisations like the ANC, and by setting Mandela free.

So on 11 February 1990, saboteur, guerilla, bomber, and terrorist, Nelson Mandela walked free after 27 years in prison.

Mandela was quickly elected to President of the ANC, and he began a peaceful, political and diplomatic way forward for South Africa in close partnership with President de Klerk.

  • President de Klerk and Mandela were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 1993.

In April 1994, South Africa went to the polls, and the ANC won to make Nelson Mandela their first Black President, with former President de Klerk as second in command. Mandela was also the oldest — at 75.  He refused to go forward for a second term, and retired after his 5 years in 1999 when he got married to his third wife.

“…The USA government has removed Nelson Mandela, Tokyo Sexwale and Sidney Mufamadi from its list of global terrorists. .. the removal is only for the next 10 years.”
[USA takes Mandela off Terrorist List Temporarily, Clipped News,  2003-08-10]

Yet, somehow, Nelson Mandela has become universally considered as a “good man”, an example of goodness and kindness.  Let’s face it, he is going to be rewritten in history as a hero.

[Picture of IRA paramilitary]Maybe the story of the ANC resonates with the Taliban or with the IRA or with any terrorist group.  It certainly shows that yesterday’s violent terrorist is tomorrow’s Nobel-Peace-Prize-winning president.

[Edit: June 2009] Mandela later admitted that the ANC violated human rights in its struggle against apartheid and criticised those in his own party who attempted to remove statements supporting this fact from the reports of “The Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (rewriting History).[/Edit]

[Picture of Guerrillero Heroico]And this is not an isolated example, just look at Ché Guevara — He is another revolutionary, one of the insurgents and revolutionaries from Castro’s Cuban revolution.

Guevara even wrote the manual on guerilla warfare, and was considered to be incredibly violent and dangerous.  He was infamous for personally shooting his own men who tried to desert him and his cause. He was a serial trouble-maker and instigated several terrorist organisations throughout South America, being responsible for destabilising most of that continent with effects felt to this day. He was eventually captured and executed in Bolivia of all places!

Yet Ché is ADORED and venerated today.  This evil terrorist has somehow become one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century (according to Time Magazine), and the  Alberto Korda photograph of him (“Guerrillero Heroico“)  was declared “the most famous photograph in the world”!

So, again, what is a terrorist? and what is terrorism? — the best answer is “I don’t know yet”!

6 Responses to “What is Terrorism?”

  1. jean Says:

    This is just ridiculous. Your view is so slanted, and your facts are dubious at best. Do a little more research next time

  2. xX IRA Xx Says:

    the Ira is still active and they are as powerful as ever you will all know we are good and we are ready to take what is ours

  3. Sean Obrian Says:

    Terrorisim ha, what is genocide??? when a forin invading body enters a territory not of its own to intraceed in a civil war, only to side with the majority faction . AND WE STILL WON up th ra the undefeated army!!!! 32nd armagh

  4. brady Says:

    the IRA will always be around if brits are in northern ireland. we will take what belongs to us and keep it forever

  5. steve millward Says:

    Terrorism is and was the British Army invading Northern Ireland causing mass murder on Irish citizens. The British government has no right over Ireland and Britains troops and government officials wanna get the hell out as they have no chance of winning over the IRA. Fuck the police, British Government and the Establishment.

  6. Mike Says:

    I’ve never read such a blinkered, one-sided, ill-informed collection of drivel? I can’t believe you took so much time and effort to reveal you utter ignorance to the world? Good luck with the rest of your life . . .

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