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Double standards of terrorism – Part 4

Posted by Don McLenaghen on August 8, 2011

The regionalization of the term Terrorist

Some things we may learn from how the press and the security agencies react to terrorism.
First, it was almost comical in the rush to blame Muslims for the attack. Many a news organisation rush out the news that a Muslim extremist had attacked Norway. This is interesting in two ways: first the fact it was a ‘terrorist attack’ when everyone though it was done by a ‘brown person’ but quickly the rhetoric changed to ‘lone wolf’ or ‘crazy person’ then it was discovered the act was perpetrated by a ‘indigenous Norwegian’…the term terrorist did not seem to be appropriate for a blond haired local.

So, who qualifies as a terrorist seems to be dependent on religion or nationality. That is if a ‘brown person’ tries (and fails) to blow up a plane with explosive underwear… we have a terrorist; when a ‘white person’ assassinates a doctor in church…we have a crazy lone wolf, a disturbed individual.  If you take a look at the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list, you see that EVERY terrorist on the list is a Muslim…its only if you look at the page longer you see in small print the category ‘domestic terrorist’, which seem to be exclusively environmentalist, blacks or communist. One should note that the almost all the ‘most wanted terrorist’ list are for crimes committed outside the USA…typically the FBI has jurisdiction within USA territory with the CIA dealing with attacks on US interests outside the USA.

It’s interesting in a second sense that the vast majority of terrorist attacks in Europe or the USA are not Muslims at all…in fact they account for a surprisingly small number. Worldwide their numbers grow but this is largely due to the fact that of the ‘big wars’ being waged – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan – are Muslim countries and like any civil war, the locals are trying to outdo themselves in killing each other. Each day, about 150,000 die, of them about 23,000 are murdered…of them fewer than 50 are the result of Islamist militants and that number drops to 10 when you exclude the hotspots of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

If you look at popular “know it all” Wikipedia you may be lulled into thinking that the only terrorist attacks (at least in Europe or the USA) are by Muslims yet a little more research reveals that a large number (I would argue the vast majority) of terror attacks are not listed. I checked out ETA, a Basque separatist group in Spain. According to Wiki’s terror attacks of 2003, there were NO terrorist attacks in Spain, yet the number of attacks listed in the ETA page was 20 – yes, ETA is on the international list of terrorist organization.

Where has our journey taken us? Thanks to (or in spite of) our Norwegian terrorist, we have had the opportunity to investigate what Terrorism has come to mean in our society. Through the trauma of fear and pain we have allowed our culture to transform a word to describe an act of violence into a dehumanizing term of racism. The extreme right has latched on to the ‘struggle of civilization’…has concocted this ‘epic’ struggle in a (sadly successful) attempt to distract us from the true ills in our society. They have created the ‘OTHER’ that we must all sacrifice everything to defeat.

We have been blinded by the ‘rhetoric’ of terrorism so as to not see the inequality that has grown exponentially in our countries…not see the reciprocal violence hatred breeds when we adhere to the standard of an ‘eye for an eye’…not see that western imperialist (be it colonial or economic) have created much suffering in the world; suffering that has in its own turn led the traumatized to see terrorism as the only option at hand.

We are led by the racist and the xenophobic, by the profiteers and exploiters, and by the manipulative politicians and elites…we are being led not to preservation of our culture but the extinction of it.


One Response to “Double standards of terrorism – Part 4”

  1. […] Another great series of posts by Don, this time on terrorism can be seen here: Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 1 and Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 2 and Double standards of terrorism – Chapter 3 and Double standards of terrorism – Part 4 […]

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