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Terrorism or Freedom-Fighting


Weapons never killed ideas. Therefore, military action against international terrorism may not be a viable alternative. If the core motive for international terrorism is ideological and/or political then those who perpetrate terrorism are not just criminals, but they are also believers who consider what they are doing to be the right thing and worthy of dying for. Here lies the real danger. The whole world is responsible for letting such a belief grow and spread and accordingly responsible for correcting this fiction.

When the words can be fatal the meaning they carry must be carefully understood.  Terrorism and freedom fighting are two commonly used concepts to describe the same incidents depending on the relative point of view. The American Heritage Dictionary defines terrorism as: “The unlawful use or threatened use of force or violence by a person or an organized group against people or property with the intention of intimidating or coercing societies or governments, for ideological or political reasons.” The same dictionary lists the word ‘terrorist’ as a synonym for ‘freedom fighter’. When terrorism becomes international, the unlawful aspect of the definition must refer to ‘international legitimacy’.

Most counter-terrorism groups prefer to advocate that terrorism does not help whoever perpetrates it, but they usually ignore the fact that freedom fighting does. They also ignore the fact that terrorists usually consider themselves freedom fighters. Whether they are called terrorists or freedom fighters, the legitimacy of their act and cause is what counts.  Throughout history, all those who fought for their freedom were considered terrorists by those who hindered them. The question is: What is legitimate and what is not legitimate? Also, who has the right to decide on legitimacy? An international organization like the UN has been established specifically to resolve this question and that resolution is what should be respected by and abided by every country, regardless of whether it is a super-power or a tiny state. But does the UN play the role it was established for within the current so-called ‘New World Order’?

When philosophers stated that everything is relative, many excluded ‘the truth.’ But can the truth also be relative? In many occasions the absolute truth proved to be non-existent. A good example of different versions of truth is when distinguishing terrorists from freedom fighters. At the beginning after 11th Sep. attack on the USA, the initial domestic reaction was filled, understandably, with rage and lack of impartiality but now should be the time of reason and justice. It is no secret that USA policies in the Middle East are conventionally rejected by Arabs for its traditional bias toward Israel and later for its war and occupation against Iraq.

Over-inflated feeling of superiority are what a powerful nation like the USA must control when dealing with the less powerful countries of the world. The world has had enough wars and the humanity in many regions of the world is still suffering from wars.  The world needs more welfare and less warfare.  The world needs International legitimacy system and not an international war machine.

Said Samir