“Remember, remember the 5th of November. The gunpowder treason and plot. I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason should ever be forgot.”
These are the the lines of the movie V for Vendetta, which in my opinion, is a movie which openly endorses a terrorist as far as he is shown in the movie. It is a brilliant and yet love me/hate me kind of film. Frankly because it shows another side of the terrorist problem we seem to be facing in the real world a lot lately.
Obvious tones to the 9/11 incident but V puts out another riddle, how do you define justice and how do you define a terrorist?
Adam Lanza made headlines around the globe and didn’t live to see it. And now I see everyone either going anti-gun or pro-gun. The question which is left in the middle is not why Adam Lanza did such a horrible thing?. The real question is what did he think he was doing? Sounds weird, right. I guess some might even find it mildly insulting that I am trying to soften the image of Adam. Far from the truth I think, there is a good deal to look at here which people aren’t looking at.
Adam Lanza probably justified himself in a horrible way. And that he ended it turning the gun to himself only means a few things:
1.He was too proud to be caught, like many other killers, especially Hitler.
2. He knew he had done wrong, and though he might have acted out in rage, he saw he did something terrible and the guilt made him kill himself too.
3. He just didn’t care about how anybody viewed him, he was tired of life. He knew he was not brave enough to speak out or make a statement and he knew that no one would listen to him or believe what he had to say.
He was no Timothy McVeigh, no political agenda, nothing. Adam Lanza was isolated, he was shy, he was unable to communicate properly. These are all factors, which are in many many people at his age. I was the same in school and college, hell, I am still a bit reclusive. These things don’t make anyone a mass murderer.
Out of the three IMAGINATIVE scenarios that my poor intellect can form, I am most scared by the third. Because that reflects a problem which doesn’t end with the criminal.
It starts with motive, thought, guilt, remorse, redemption and pain, tremendous amount of pain or pressure. Where the person starts to see himself as a victim against a system. That is the time when a terrorist is born.
There are ample examples in the world which make my point seem kind of wrong. But in my observation, terrorism seems to be defined relatively.
Consider, when the CIA first created the war group, Mujaheddin to fight soviets in the 80’s and the 90’s. To the CIA and the people oppressed, the Mujaheddin were what? A terrorist camp, no. They were heroes, invited to the white house for dinners, had unprecedented financial and political American support and even Hollywood made a Rambo movie out of it. The end title of which speaks of the heroism of the Afghan people. To the soviets, the Mujaheddin were terrorists.
Fast forward to 2001 and we have Afghans labeled as terrorists by America, because now the Muhadden are hurting America instead of Russia. We see all Muslims as potential terrorists. India calls the freedom fighters in the disputed territory of Kashmir, terrorists. The kashmiri’s call them freedom fighters, fighting for a cause and they in turn call the Indian army terrorist. So who is the terrorist, the one occupying the land or the one trying to fight to free his land?
The same thing is happening in Israel, Hamas is a terrorist organization; so why do the Philistines support it? Because to them it is not a terrorist organization at all. To them Hamas is fighting the power which is turning them out of their homes.
Was the american liberation of from the British empire, terrorism? Yes to the British it was terrorism because it was their colonies, but to the Americans it was freedom.
On one hand, I fully sympathize with a Kashmiri guy whose country has been invaded by India for more than 50 years now. They are still fighting for freedom. I understand why would a guy, just wear a bomb jacket and lie down in front of a tank to blow it up, Kashmiri’s have been doing this for years now. They don’t have army tanks so they just wear bomb jackets and blow artillery. The kashmiri body count is in hundreds of thousands.
On the other hand the Indians call these freedom fighters, terrorists because they believe that while they are trying to build that country, these outlaws are going against law and authority. Now to the kashmiri, this law is an unjust law. he would not accept a law such as being governed by an another country. This is the same principle on which Gandhi liberated India from the British and the Americans got their freedom form the British empire.
The underlying points are almost the same and the outcomes and perception of it in the modern world, is drastically different.
I was reading C.S Lewis the other day and something struck me he wrote, “Evil, when you examine it, turns out to be the pursuit of some good in the wrong way.“
May be that is true. But then who decides what is good and what is wrong? Does a terrorist blows things up for fun? yeah may be a one in a thousand might do this. But if you read you will find, every terrorist has a cause he was trying to peruse. We don’t agree with the cause, so we call him a terrorist. Because he uses force, illegally.
This is something very striking, Timothy McVeigh the Oklahoma bomber, said the same thing, he said that because the American government were bombarding innocents, in war, as collateral damage, and the pilots and the soldiers were called heroes and were decorated; they need to see the Oklahoma bombing in the same light the same way.
I don’t agree with his statement but I can tell you this, he was partially right about the first part. And this is not something exclusive to America, the same patriotism is shown to every army by its govt. and people. No war is without crimes. Just yesterday I saw a picture of four American soldiers, pissing on dead bodies of some Afghan villagers that had been shot by them and now they were making jokes about it. That seemed so strange, those guys seemed so out of the world, so untouched with what they had done, that it baffled me. They were treating it as it was a casual leak you take with your buddies on a picnic trip.
Are these guys terrorists? No they are soldiers, and they might be getting an award when they come home. because the total “good” is more than the total “bad”. The sandy hook shootings made everyone cry, yet pictures of dead Somalian kids have never ushered such a response from the society. I think this is because we feel connected more to the people living inside a line on the map we call borders. This is America, humans live here, that is Africa, no humans live there, Africans do. This is Pakistan, humans live here, that is India, Indians live there. It is alright to kill an Indian soldier but a not a Pakistani. Its a mentality which is sowed deep inside of us from the beginning.
Why do we have so much differing opinions in a world where now most opinions seem to matter? A line on a map, divides us and makes us see those outside of the line as “less important”. Can we eradicate this mentality? Osama bin laden was a terrorist on all accounts and yet the Afghan people did not view him a terrorist because he was fighting a common enemy. Hitler was a mass-murderer and yet the German people saw him as hero (most did).
Violence breeds violence. I can only quote Goya, “The sleep of reason breeds monsters.” The question is, who is to reason and how can we persuade the other with our reasoning? Gun control is not going to do anything, you need to look at the heart of the issue. Why does some individuals find themselves at complete odds with their surroundings? Adam Lanza was not part of any terrorist organization, he was not part of Alqeada or any Islamic group. How did he view his own actions? I suspect the key lies within that answer, an answer we may never get.
My question is, how do you define a terrorist? Someone who hurts humanity or just people inside the line you call national borders? What of the people that in turn think of you the same way you think of them? In Pakistan the general public view America as a bully, Americans think of them as terrorists.
America is making new enemies with the drone strikes which are killing innocents. If an afghan child survivor of the drone attack, turns out 20 years later in an american building loaded with bombs to get revenge of his innocent family being killed, would you be surprised? Would you call him terrorist? Can he call you back, a terrorist?
Both sides have their vice and virtue. Who is right? I have no idea now, perhaps both are or else they are both wrong.
The bitter truth is, the big guys always get to lay the rules down. The biggest terrorist acts in my opinion were the nuclear bombings of japan in 1945, seconded by the Holocaust. Both were wrong. I am not taking sides on anything, I am not anti-america, nor pro-america. I am simply saying that this issue of terrorism is deep and needs attention. Stop looking at it superficially. Terrorism is the outcome of problems rooted deep in our ideas, actions and mentality. You want to eradicate terrorism? make world a better place to live. If you approve of killing by some standard of your own, you are giving others the freedom to make their own standards. Violence begets violence. This is an eternal truth. Blowing up people in masses, is not going to end terrorism, it will only fuel it.
This is my garbled understanding of thought and reason, both of which I have seemed to run out of now, so I will leave it to you.
How do you define a terrorist?