Violence or the threat of violence against individuals and whole communities is justified now as defense against terrorism. The “other,” the “outsider” is justified as the target of one’s rage and optimal violence. Whether one is a Russian speaker in eastern Ukraine fighting the Ukraine army, Burmese Buddhists fighting Rohingya people, landowners attacking Otomi in Mexico or Qom in Argentina, or Israelis security forces attacking and beating a teen aged Palestinian-American the usual justification is that one or the other party is a terrorist. The American’s justified the idea of “if you are not with me you are a terrorist.” Now every act of state violence against civilians, violence by vigilantes attacking settlers, police attacking and killing suspects. It is the one with the guns or the power to kill that seeks to dominate the “other”–the non-human.
While some will argue that it has ever been so that violence is used by the strong to dominate and control the less powerful no one can doubt that the use of technology allowing remote killing or at least killing at a distance has made it easier to rationalize the killing of the “terrorist”–the non-human.
Depending on where you stand in a violent confrontation it is easy to determine that your opponent is the terrorist. In Somalia, Tribal peoples in Yemen, South Waziristan tribal territories in Pakistan, in the Philippines, Columbia and elsewhere in the world the American conceived drone technology is used by states and increasingly by militarized non-governmental organizations to kill people. Raining canon shells onto civilian populations from a hundred miles away can only be understood as an act of terrorism among the people killed or suffering from the explosions. Pressing an Iphone button to ignite a plastics bomb on a civilian passenger jet can only be conceived of as an act of terrorism. But is this actually terrorism or are we seeing the use of weapons of all sorts to commit a new form of war–in the name of the “just war?” Civilians have become the target to eliminate the popular support of the enemy–and thus eliminate popular justice.
The state, the individual, the militarized non-governmental organization (e.g., Islamic State or ISIS) religious organizations (christian, islamic, jewish, buddhist, hindi), Criminal (cartel) gangs easily engage in violence as a “defense” against terrorist acts. This is all too irrational…indeed arguably a form of insanity. State governments such as the United States of America, Colombia, Syria, Israel, China, Russia have assumed the role of states promoting terror in the name of defending themselves against terrorists. Militarized non-governmental organizations and individuals carrying guns and other weapons also justify their terrorizing others on the basis of defense.
War in the conventional sense this is not. This is “terror for terror!” Kill those who would feel terrorized.
Fourth World nations the world over are a major target of the “terror for terror” syndrome. The Uygur, Manchurians, and Tibetans in China, the Tartar in Russia, the more than 52 nations in Mexico, Quechua in Peru, Igbo in Nigeria, Pashto in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Lu in Kenya, Rohingya in Burma, Naga in India, and many more. Are they terrorists? No indeed, I suggest they are not, but each is declared by the state to be terrorists. Such declarations justify indiscriminate and targeted killing.
If terror for terror continues, there will be fewer and fewer people for all sides to defend and then what will be the justification for killing? Insanity does not allow for boundaries or limitations–only terror for terror.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here