Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Terrorism and terror

Much has been said and written about the events in Gaza. I listen to Radio-Canada and I read news coverage that attempts to balance the overwhelming, initial pro-Israel bias with parsimonious information eked out from Gaza. Progressive Bloggers have been particularly diligent in seeking out alternate news sources and writing about this bloody conflict which has both sides targeting civilian populations. The side with the best weaponry is inflicting the most savage damage as the number of deaths, mutilations and crippling wounds increase every day in Gaza.
Terror: Intense, overpowering fear. Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.

Terrorism: The use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, esp. for political purposes. The state of fear and submission produced by terrorism or terrorization. A terroristic method of governing or of resisting a government.

Terrorism, 1795, in specific sense of "government intimidation during the Reign of Terror in France" (1793-July 1794), from Fr. terrorisme (1798).

"If the basis of a popular government in peacetime is virtue, its basis in a time of revolution is virtue and terror - virtue, without which terror would be barbaric; and terror, without which virtue would be impotent." (Robespierre, speech in French National Convention, 1794)

General sense of "systematic use of terror as a policy" is first recorded in Eng. 1798. Terrorize "coerce or deter by terror" first recorded 1823. Terrorist in the modern sense dates to 1947, especially in reference to Jewish tactics against the British in Palestine - earlier it was used of extremist revolutionaries in Russia (1866); and Jacobins during the French Revolution (1795) - from Fr. terroriste. The tendency of one party's terrorist to be another's guerilla or freedom fighter was noted in ref. to the British action in Cyprus (1956) and the war in Rhodesia (1973).

How to end this conflict? Fighting terrorism with terrorism appears to be a losing strategy for all sides. There are alternatives, though they rarely receive the attention and the financial support that armed confrontations do. Which is not incidentally a result of the increasingly lucrative weapons industry.

Here's an overview of groups and organizations who are attempting to fight terrorism and violence with information, reason and pacifist means.

Women Against Occupation

Adalah-NY: Coalition for Justice in the Middle East

Jews Against the Occupation

Feminist Peace Network

Christian Peacemaker Teams


Beijing York said...

To add to your excellent list (there may be some overlap):

Resources, background articles, alternative news sources, etc:

Another excellent source of links:

Beijing York said...

Amnesty Canada has an urgent appeal letter to Cannon:

deBeauxOs said...

All of the above as clickable links:

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