Monday 27th May 2013
Terrorism: There is no concensus on what this word means. It is emotionally and politically charged, which is why the United Nations failed to gain an international definition and why no one is sure who means what when they use the word. It has to be defined in the context of the moment. In 1994 the UN General Assembly tried: "Criminal acts intended or calculated to provoke a state of terror in the general public, a group of persons or particular persons for political purposes are in any circumstance unjustifiable, whatever the considerations of a political, philosophical, ideological, racial, ethnic, religious or any other nature that may be invoked to justify them." "unjustifiable" is not defined!
Etymologically the word simply means "fear" or "to frighten". On this basis it is arguable that terrorism (if that is the correct word to use in any context thus used) is completely pointless. An event that happens to an individual or group of individuals, having happened, one simply picks up the pieces and starts to repair the damage. The result may inspire a desire for revenge but then the perpetrators, if knowing they are known, will be in terror of that revenge, or the full sanctions of appropriate justice. Mea Culpa! In that context there is therefore no logic to terrorism.
"Terrorism" therefore only exists in the context of what might happen, not in the context of any particular act. In that context, who fails to drive a motor car, ride a bicycle, cross the road, because the statistical fact is that several thousand people are killed each year doing just those things? I doubt anyone. I do not wish to get into symantics: that is not my purpose. My purpose is to put into context the tragedy of Woolwich and trooper Rigby's death.
This was a particularly barbarous act of cowardice, as have been many of ours and USA's servicemen's deaths over the last few years. For diverse reasons this year, we are already aware of the deaths of two or three dozen people for no other reason than they are the acts of emotionally inadequate people, behaving irrationally, in normal everyday family contexts.
What happened in Woolwich was that a particularly vicious crime was committed: but only that, a crime. The due weight of law and justice will fall in its own good time. As to the cause, it is of no more significance than the man murdered outside the betting shop; or those domestic crimes committed across the country. The perpetrators being emotionally inadequate people, acting irrationally.
The matter is sub judice, so we must be careful what we assume but if the perpetrators claim they acted on behalf of Muhammad, they lie. If on behalf of Islam, that is more complex, as Islam is as divided and confused as Christianity. It is wilfully used for political purposes rather than for spreading the truth of a meaningful original philosophy. In such cases they are simply claiming to believe in a wilfully distorted version of religion, for purely egotistical purposes, without rationality or reason. So, don't let us get over-excited.
What I find more perturbing is the march of like-claiming "Islamists" marching in Luton like a sixties-style trade union demonstration, all sound and fury and not an ounce of sense. What on earth has happened to this country's education system? Full marks to the young girl for persisting in trying to bring reason and what appalling ignorance that she was regarded by the demonstrators as being unclothed! Why on earth are they all dressed up like eighteenth century highwaymen anyway? See Film.