What is Terrorism?
When an Arab flies a plane into a building he is a terrorist.
When a Palestinian lets off a bomb in an Israeli restaurant he is a terrorist.
When an American pilot dropped a bomb that destroys a village in Afghanistan, because someone said a member of Al Qa’ida was there, the people would have experienced a moment of terror before they were pulverised to dust. But the pilot is not a terrorist?
When an Israeli pilot dropped a half-ton bomb on an apartment building in Beirut, the people hiding within would have experienced a brief moment of terror as they were crushed to death. But this is not terrorism?
In all four cases, the victims experienced terror. In each situation innocent people died. So terrorism is not defined by terror. Nor is it about the killing of innocent people.
Terrorism is often just a label that we put on those we perceive to be our enemies.
We have always given labels to our enemies, because it is hard to fight hard against “people”. The First World War was fought against “Huns”. In the Second World War we battled the “Nips. In Vietnam we fought against “Gooks”. Now we are fighting against “Terrists”.
Give them a label, and it will be easier to hate them. We don’t have to love them.
If we are serious about following Jesus, we will have to learn to love our enemies.
If we loved our enemies we would not give them labels that dehumanize them and make it easier to hate.
If we loved our enemies we would try to understand what motivates them. Calling them “mad” is a cope out. Calling them religious nutters does not help (many people would put that label on us). If we loved our enemies, we would try to understand what motivates an educated young man, with all of life before him, to kill himself for his cause (I am serious about my cause, but I am not sure if I would die for it). We might find that he sees the world differently from the way that we see it. We might even start wondering why he sees it that way. Who knows were that would lead.
It might even lead to more love and more peace.
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Tuesday, September 12, 2006
What is Terrorism?