Posts tagged with "world" - Faerye Net 2008-07-02T10:04:24+00:00 Felicity Shoulders "Terrorist" 2008-07-02T10:04:24+00:00 2008-07-02T10:04:24+00:00 <p>By now everyone knows that the US had to <a href="" target="links">pass a bill</a> to get Nelson Mandela and other African National Congress members off the &#8216;terror&#8217; watch list<sup><a href="#fn1">1</a></sup>. In the linked article, even the Secretary of State calls it &#8220;a rather embarrassing matter.&#8221;</p> <p>It&#8217;s not just embarrassing, it&#8217;s telling. Why were these people on the list? &#8220;The African National Congress (ANC) was designated as a terrorist organisation by South Africa&#8217;s old apartheid regime.&#8221; In other words, &#8216;terrorist&#8217; is used by governments to stigmatize those they dislike, and to decrease their credibility in the international community. &#8216;Terrorist&#8217; is an elastic term, meaning exactly what those in power say, no more or less. How else does one explain the broad swath of cybercrimes the <a href="" target="links">Patriot act</a> classifies as terrorism? If making civilians live in fear is &#8216;terrorism&#8217;, why aren&#8217;t authoritarian states around the world labelled as such? &#8216;Terror&#8217; is not the deciding factor; governmental fiat is.</p> <p>One could hope that this example, of a group formed to foment revolution against unjust rule being tarred for decades with the &#8216;terrorist&#8217; brush, might give someone in our government pause, make them wonder how meaningful the term is as it is being used; but I doubt it.</p> <p id="fn1"><sup>1</sup> It is sad that I automatically wrote this as &#8216;watchlist&#8217;, subconsciously believing it had seen enough use to become a compound word.</p>