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Terrorist organisations, Liberation Movements and State Terrorism

Is fighting terrorism a non starter?

What has prompted me to write this article are the remarks of the representative of Swedish Migration Board made in Court during a hearing of a case between a demoted Migration employee, Lenart Eriksson and the Migration Board on October 10 in Mölndal, Sweden. Staffan Opitz said bluntly that Hamas should be considered is a “liberation movement”. This may contradict the official position of Sweden and European Union visa a Vis the Movement. But, is Opitz totally wrong to refer to Hamas as a liberation Movement? It all depends on what we define as terrorism or terrorist and from what angle we see it.

Lenart Eriksson. 51, head of an asylum assessment unit was demoted allegedly because he maintains a pro Israel blog. (The Local .se) This was interpreted by some people among whom was his supervisor, Eugene Palmer, as a stand which is incompatible with his job,given that in such a position, private views on such sensitive matters like the Middle East conflict, should not be aired in public. Others also believe it could make Lenart to favour or disfavour some asylum seekers. I think of Palestinian or Arabs. However, he took the case to court and won but, the Migration maintained its decision not to reinstate him, instead, preferred to pay him a little of over 1.2 million Swedish Krona.

Who is a terrorist and who is not. Several freedom fighters have been called terrorists and several terrorists referred to as freedom fighters. But again who are the real terrorists. Any definition of the term depends on our inclinations.

Take a look at these organisations. The Hamas in Palestine, The ANC in South Africa, Moroccan Islamist Combatant, Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta region MEND in Nigeria, Southern Cameroon National Council separatist in Cameroon, Basque Separatist in Spain, Irish Republican Army, The Lord Resistance Army, in Congo Kinshasa, Justice and Equability Movement and the Janjaweed Militia and Sudan, FARC in Columbia, Tamil Nadu Liberation Army in Sri Lanka, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Ku Klux Klan in the USA, Jemaah Islamiya, Moslem brother, others like Al Qaeda, MUJAHEDEN fighters etc. The list is really long.

I have deliberately added some names among which are some in Africa to explain my case. NB. I have not qualified any of the above as a terrorist organisation nor the countries below. When I consulted the wikipedia list of terrorist organisations as claim by various countries and organisations, the first remark was that, the supposed terrorists are mostly from a religious inclination. Should we then kill in the name of God or should we consider others terrorists because of their religious beliefs.

Take a look at these countries, the USA, Britain, France, Portugal, Russia, Israel, Iran, Australia, Nigeria, Sudan, Somalia, Burma, Turkmenistan, and any other country you may want to add. What is and who are state terrorists and who are those sponsoring terrorism?

During the liberation war in South Africa, some people branded the ANC as a terrorist Organisation. Yet there were countries supporting the terrorising apartheid regime which had been “publicly” suspended in most international organisations and was under “sanctions”.

In an article published in and written by Sarah, Maid of Albion, the writer in her presentation still qualifies Mandela and the ANC as terrorists citing papers city Boer news, South African Cross, Reality SA etc. She claims Mandela was still defiant in his autobiography. However British conservative, David Cameron in a declaration 2006, distanced himself from former British Premiere, Margaret Thatcher’s policies towards ANC. He said the ANC was not a terrorist organisation, despite the fact that some countries like the USA and other European states branded it as such. It would be recalled that Mandela was removed from USA terrorists list only in 2008.

Many people have resulted to using force in achieving what they have not been able to do with peace but have been branded terrorists. Is that fair, wrong or right? Is struggling to gaining freedom by the barrel of the gun terrorism? Is militating for the destruction of sovereign states or the killing of its people, not pure terrorism?

I want to go far beyond that. What is now manifested as physical terrorism carried out through suicide attacks, hostage takings, open massacres etc are often culmination of frustrations and lost of hope which can be looked at from different angles. Radical religious teachings which seem to dignify the killing of people who may not be of “our faith” is equally crystal clear terrorism

But most importantly, the real terrorists are those who have propelled political, economic, social terrorism through imperialism, exploitation, oppression and domination at the highest levels and by all means. They are the people funding rebels and opposition parties to destabilise governments. They are the people supporting government which do not even represent the will of the people. Some may also want to call those setting confusion in Africa, terrorists, my opinion is not different. They support rebels some of whom have divided their country into factions so as to facilitate the expropriation of natural resources.

In that case, terrorists are not only those who kill in the name of God and liberation. They also include those who slaughter and cause untold pain and agony because of their insatiable desire for economic and political expansions. Are we therefore all terrorists? Supposed terrorists or freedom fighters always used force either, through irrational bombings, invasions and suicide attacks, funding of rebels etc.

Again I see terrorism inextricably link to the issue of race. One race wants to dominate or terrorise the others. It manifestations are within national and international boundaries. Terrorism in the Middle East is deeply racially motivated. Terrorism in the USA, Europe etc has racial connotations. This also applies to those sponsoring terrorists in Africa. It all has racial and economic undertones. That is the bitter truth.

Many have been considered terrorists not really because they are, but because, opinion leaders or state leaders want to them to be considered as such. Today, the qualification of some people as terrorists may not even be a reflection of the views of the majority but those of a few leaders who have successfully and tactfully done so.

I think the best way to counter terrorism which we all hate, is to look at the causes and see how we can resolve them. The root causes of terrorism may even be far from religious. I strongly see political and economic undertones which have culminated today to the spread of terrorism. The desire by others to seek political and economic domination has made others feel marginalised result to “unconventional” mean to achieve their goals which they call, liberation. This does in any way imply that religious extremists are not also responsible for terrorism. Some have hidden under religion to kill and bomb indiscriminately.

If we could just learn to respect others, avoid sowing confusion for political or economic gains, respect the religious beliefs of others and their right to exist, then we must have killed terrorism to a greater extend. Inasmuch as this is not done, fighting terrorism is a non-starter.

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