Real Face Of Terrorism

Terrorism in the Webster’s New American Dictionary is defined as “the systematic use of intense fear as a means of coercion.” In this day and age, the term terrorism is more than just the use of intense fear as a means of coercion but includes the use of terrorism as a means of revenge and pure sport and also as a means of suppression. While the dictionaries definitions says that it is the use coercion to promote certain ideologies, some of the most cleverly hidden terrorism today is the terrorism used to suppress some ideologies or certain ethnic groups or societies. The popular image of terrorism is of extremist groups trying to rebel or promote their ideologies by blowing up airplanes, buses, government buildings, or taking hostages. By defining terrorism thoroughly, we can begin to look at what terrorism is really about. The use of terror is usually a tool to promote ideologies according to the dictionary but what about the use of terror for revenge? After the Serb withdrawal from Kosovo this past month, there was a rash of terrorist acts committed by Albanians against Serbs. The Serb civilian population of Kosovo was not a threat to the Albanians but the violence against them was not one of coercion but of revenge. The hostage crisis at the American embassy in Teheran twenty years ago was another example of terrorism based on revenge. While that incident involved the political theme of the revolution in Iran and the authorities used it to promote their Islamic ideology, those that carried out the hostage crisis took over the embassy in a fit of rage and under the euphoria of anger against anything American. They had already achieved their goal, which was to rid the American backed Shah who ruled the country with terror; the hostage crisis was merely an outburst of revenge against the west. Terrorism is not just coercion, but it also revenge. The use of terror to punish the victim and remind them of what the enactor of the terror had felt. There are other examples of terrorism that fit under revenge but those are a combination of revenge and political or social coercion. Revenge motivated extremist groups with political or social coercion are well publicized but how are their actions different from that of states? The terrorism that comes to mind is of the PLO hijacking Israeli airplanes or Ben Laden bombing the American embassies in Africa. What can motivate someone to strap bombs on their bodies and blow themselves and others to make a statement? To understand this motivation, we have to look at the conditions the terrorist lives under. Since 1948, the Palestinians have been continuously robbed of their land and self-rule while being subjugated to third-class citizenry and terror. The Israeli government is the only one in the world that openly admits to sponsoring assassinations for their own state security. The Israeli military and police use torture and arrest to place the discourage the Palestinian people from free thought and the right to the democratic process. When an individual commits a terrorist act, their families are punished by having their homes destroyed in what Israel claims as collective punishment. The G7 (the world’s most powerful countries) signed a declaration in 1996, which clearly states; "We reaffirm our absolute condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, regardless of its perpetrators or motives. Terrorism is a heinous crime, and there must be no excuse or exception in bringing its perpetrators to justice. Isn’t Israel’s use of assassinations, torture, systematic arrest, and collective punishment terrorism? Doesn’t the G7 claim that no excuse or exception for terrorism will be tolerated, yet Israel remains the largest recipient of American foreign aid which includes military aid. The acts of the PLO, which is only reacting to Israel’s provocation, are considered terrorist yet those of Israel are only considered security measures. This double standard and one sided view does injustice to the definition of terrorism because it is not used even-handed. Israel’s actions can be logically equated to being terrorism which leads to the question of whether American foreign policy is also a form of terrorism or not. Take the sanctions against Iraq, for example, which is heavily endorsed