Sunday, July 24, 2011

Mis-Labeling Terrorists

I have something to say and I'm not quite sure how to say it, so bear with me. I - and I'm sure many others - have noticed that the way "terrorists" are labeled by the media suffers from a pretty strong bias. These days the choices for the labels seem to come from a very limited list. A terrorist is either a "Muslim terrorist" or just a plain "terrorist" Very rarely does one see the terms "Christian terrorist" or "right-wing terrorist" or "anti-abortion terrorist." When people from these groups commit acts of terrorism it seems the "liberal media" shies away from calling them terrorist or associating them with any particular group at all. Often, these people are simply labeled as "extremists" in an attempt to distance them from any group that may have fostered their extremism.

In reality, there appear to be four main categories of terrorists:

  • Religious Terrorists - Muslim extremists, Christian extremists, Jewish extremists (though most of these seem to have moved to Israel) some of the members of the old IRA, anti-abortion extremists, and, yes, even Hindu and Buddhist extremists.
  • Racist/Bigoted/Chauvinistic Terrorists - the KKK, Neo-Nazis, Anyone who has ever lynched anyone, James Earl Ray (even though he only shot one man, it was an act intended to scare others into conformance with his wishes, thus terrorism), gay bashers (Every punch, every tripping, especially every dragging incident is an act of terrorism attempting to scare other gays into hiding.), Tea Party members who bring weapons to rallies (Who are they kidding? They wish they could shoot that uppity black man.), rapists (In a way, I suspect rape is a subconscious attempt to punish all women for taking something, some level of status, from the rapist.). {I know, lots of parentheses. Sorry.}
  • Misguided freedom fighters - Not all terrorist act out of hate. Some act out of desperation. I believe many Palestinian terrorists feel they have been pushed so deeply into a corner that they have no other option but to lash out. However, they do have another option and it has been proven to be far more effective. As I have said to my friends many times, "The Palestinians need to go Gandhi on Israel's ass!" They need to reject all violence. They need to lay down in front of the bulldozers used to demolish their homes for what are euphemistically called "settlements." (How can it be called a settlement when it is only meant to stir up trouble?) The Palestinians need to show, by contrast, just how disgusting Israel's treatment of them has been all these decades. Resorting to terrorism only serves to provide excuses for the Israeli government to continue and even escalate their mistreatment of the Palestinians
  • Profit-Motivated Bullies - Some terrorists act out of neither hate or desperation. Some just want to push people around in order to increase profits or their power base. Union busters, Bill O'Reilly when he sends his "producers" to go harass people at their homes or work-places simply because they have challenged him on yet another stream of bullshit that has poured from his mouth. (OK, low level, but he is still trying to scare people into not challenging him.), drug cartels (When they kill judges or bomb police stations, it is terrorism.), Slobodan Milošević. And finally, the Republican politicians, who are trying to scare all of America into a willingness to work for third-world wages, breath poisoned air, drink poisoned water, and hand over all our money, possessions, and rights to the über-wealthy so they can get back to the level of power and luxury that they had in feudal Europe. (If you think intentionally making millions of people afraid they may starve to death in the gutter is not terrorism then you have no humanity in you.)

Naturally, there is a lot of overlap. I just wish that the media would start labeling terrorism for what it is and labeling terrorists for what they are, rather than pushing the current bias which assumes that all religions nut-jobs who claim to be Muslims are "Muslim terrorists" while whitewashing all other terrorists with more euphemistic terms. Quite frankly, this is all getting pretty nauseating to me. While the terrorism itself is, well, terrible, I think it is the whitewashing that is getting to me the most. It is the bias inherent in the whitewashing which will continue to foster the conditions that create more terrorists. Sadly, sometimes it seems that has been the intent all along.

The contents of this post are Copyright © 2011 by Grant Sheridan Robertson.