A FACT OF LIFE?
George Bush made his speech to the world condemning three large and
independent countries, Iran, Iraq and North Korea by labelling them
under the umbrella of terrorism as The Axis of Evil, he
was demonstrating his ignorance of a long and historical system of worldwide
murder. Whoever handed him the infamous script knew as much about terrorism
as flying a kite to the moon. Whether or not in todays world,
certain political regimes support, harbour or instigate the murder of
innocent human beings on a massive scale does not necessarily address
the main issue of what constitutes terrorism. The core of the evil has
been around as long as prostitution. The difference is that, like all
horrors invented by humanity it is no different to other facts of life.
It moves and changes with the times. It is a true chameleon in the criminal
history of mankind. The real tragedy is, it just wont go away!
Terrorism, as most dictionaries describe it, are acts of violence on
innocent people perpetrated by opponents of political institutions in
order to assert their own supremacy of power. Quite a statement. In
fact it is as broad as broad can be and goes back to the early days
of the Roman Empire. Caligula in AD 37-41 used all kinds of foul play
in order to subjugate his adversaries whilst Robespierre instigated
terror as a means of achieving his goals during the French Revolution
of the 18th Century. From then on we can trace all kinds of evil organisations
and beasts from the Ku Klux Klan to super monsters like Adolph Hitler.
There is one subtle point that always hangs in the balance in defining
or at least trying to interpret the long history of human carnage carried
out, literally in the dark by other human beings. As the definition
itself implies, politics have played an active role. Whether it is Imperialism
versus Nationalism, Democracy versus Communism or Fascism versus everyone
else, what does it matter? The fact remains that the world has invariably
interpreted over indulgence of power from one sector of society over
another that reverts to death and destruction as plain and outright
terrorism. However, politics have not always been the reason for terrorising
people. Religion has always played a major role alongside or hiding
behind the up front political issue causing the strife. The period of
the Spanish Inquisition is a classic example of the church imposing
its authority through arrest, torture, execution and, horrendously enough
annihilation of vast numbers of human beings in the name of God. But
the best example of the combination of politics and religion to create
terrorific mayhem occurred in Britain towards the beginning of the 17th
A little known short arsed soldier, by the name of Guy Fawkes
persuaded by a more prominent English citizen called Robert Catesby
decided it was time to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London. The
reason for their conspiracy was both religious and political. As staunch
Catholics they needed to teach England a lesson and send the whole damn
lot of the Protestant ruling party to outer space. It included King,
Queen, Prime Minister, his merry parliamentary men and anyone else who
may be around. This could be considered as the first real terrorist
plot in history as we know it today. Story goes that our Guy had placed
20 barrels of gunpowder in a cellar below the Houses and on the 5th
of November, 1605 when he was about to light the fuse, he was caught!
Someone had spilled the beans and England was saved! Funny thing is
that every 5th of November since that date, most of the population of
the United Kingdom build a huge bonfire and then, in the name of Guy
Fawkes burn an effigy of the devil chanting, penny for the guy,
penny for the guy! Mad dogs and Englishmen? Nevertheless, true
religious terrorism was born.
Open the door to the encyclopaedia of todays sinister acts and
you have a revelation of methods and reasons for concealed mass violence
in the name of a multitude of causes; modern day terrorism - its
all there. Organisations, infrastructures, financial support, sophisticated
weaponry and all kinds of off shoot groups are ready to contribute to
the worldwide networking of supposed murder of innocent victims. For
the past thirty or forty years, in every corner of the earth there is
someone or some bunch of nutcases poised to pull the trigger, push the
button or pull the lever to destroy whatever is left of human decency
in todays world. From the Contras to the OAS, the PLO to the Red
Brigade, ETA to the IRA, you name it theyve been or are there.
Ah! But there is still an overwhelming question to be answered. Is war
and terrorism the same thing? This is the crux of the matter, hence
the criticism of George Bush and his simplistic accusations.
The United States of America and barring the tragedy of Pearl Harbour
during WWII had never really experienced an act of indiscriminate and
unannounced attack on innocent human beings. For most of their short
history, the government and the armed forces were engaged in a multitude
of wars and skirmishes throughout the world supposedly in the cause
of freedom and democracy. It may sound corny but this great nation always
upheld the principle of fair play and obedience to a sort
of human rights code. At least on paper. In practice, they were involved
very deeply in all kinds of rotten skulduggery in a list of countries
the length of your arm, in some cases as covert action supporting puppet
dictatorships. These actions were recognised by others as down outright
terrorism. Reason? Democracy versus Communism! But along came September
11th. The destruction and massacre at the World Trade Centre shook the
core of the very foundation of the Constitution of the United States
of America. It broke the complacent safety mould of everyday Americana.
However, the question was on every citizens lips. Why?
The answer is simple. America never understood the difference between
war and terrorism. Fighting for freedom in Vietnam, supporting Iraq
against Iran, giving a blind eye to the Israel Palestine fiasco without
mentioning the whole mess in Latin America since Che Guevara went on
a bicycle ride promoting Communism, America has had a finger in most
terrorist activities from the north to the south pole. The tragedy is
that they never realised it! Once again, the party line was were
fighting the commies, come hell or high water! But deep down under,
a more sinister and devious demon had been raising its ugly head that
had nothing to do with the Cold War. Islamic fundamentalism.
Enter bin Laden, al Qaeda, the Taliban and who knows how many more murderous
Moslem brotherhoods are yet to surface. Suddenly Uncle Sam graduated
and did something about it. Despite the great propaganda surrounding
the war in Iraq, the tumultuous demonstrations worldwide condemning
it, George Bush stood aloof and uttered a simple statement, enough
is enough! Whether the Anglo-American coalition that has recently
liberated the Iraqi people from the oppression of Sadam
Hussein was right or wrong, one thing is certain, Bush, probably with
eyes wide shut has done the right thing. America has shown its
gritty teeth to the ever increasing threat of Islamic terrorism that
has been threatening the democratic world for the past 30 years. What
is more, America has exposed modern day religious terrorism for what
it is. Murder of innocent human beings.
War as weve know it, is a thing of the past. America proved that.
Terrorism, though is another matter. Is it here to stay? For whatever
reason, it is simply not justified if the future of humanity is to survive.
There is still a long path ahead. The ultimate aim, at least as far
as religious terrorism is concerned, is the reconciliation of all faiths,
regardless of the different earthly representation of the Almighty.
© James Skinner. 2003.
Terrorism Here to Stay
DUMPTY SAT ON A WALL
James Skinner on Iraq and Texas
Media At War
Skinner on embedded journos
James Skinner on
the origins of the current conflict
DIVIDE AND CONQUER
Is this the coalitions slogan as they forge their way through
Iraq to destroy oppression and liberate the people?
The Sinking of The Prestige
James Skinner on the poisoned beaches of Spain
'Much too little too late'
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