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“We do not want the Filipinos. We want the Philippines. The islands are enormously rich, but unfortunately, they are infested with Filipinos.”
— The influential San Franciso Argonaut (early 1900s)
It’s normal, over time, that words change their meanings. In the early 20th century, gay didn’t mean homosexual. And just a few years ago, bad actually meant bad.
And, at a time when there may have been a bit less dishonesty in the land, the United States of America actually had a Department of War! But it has long morphed into the Department of Defense, which has conferred on the world’s most powerful nation, the right to even wage defense from space.
During the past several years, the words “terrorist” and “terrorism” has been effectively nuanced. So cleverly has the transformation been made that whatever the actions of the major powers, they are never called terrorists. Waging an unprovoked war in Iraq is not terrorism; but opposing that occupation, is.
The word has been reserved solely for the weak who strike back in desperation.
Even the dictionaries are playing along, not recognizing that state terror exists:
The systematic use of violence as a means of intimidating or coercing societies or governments.
— Worldnet(R) 1.6 (C)1997 Princeton University
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, often for ideological or political reasons.
— The American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, 4th ed., (C)2000
It would seem that these companies associate themselves with the state and, thus, cannot see the forest for the trees.
In that context, Israel’s policy of killing leaders of Palestinian organizations is not considered state terror, even though the Palestinians must be terrified of the overwhelming power of the state of Israel. The fact is that it is the Palestinians who are responding to Israeli state terror and not Israel responding to the suicide bombers from Palestinian. Note the behavior of Israel when things seem to be getting too quiet to satisfy Sharon’s designs: another targeted killing.
On cursory examination, it should be painfully obvious to anyone that it is in the interest of Ariel Sharon to keep turmoil on the front burner, especially now that he has embedded President Bush, whose sympathy with Israeli tactics knows no bounds.
And in the case of the brutal war being waged against Iraq, not a single reporter, or talking head, has ever referred to the invasion as an act of terrorism. Unprovoked by Iraq, The USA travels across the ocean to unleash a deadly mix of weapons of mass destruction on innocent Iraqis, but it is the people resisting the brutal occupation who are labeled terrorists, both by the media and the perpetrators in the White House.
George Orwell may have foreseen 1984, but could anyone have conjured up 2004? Apart from the neo-conservatives, that is.
PATRICK B. BARR, formerly with The Daily Gleaner, Kingston, Jamaica. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org