Terrorism 202

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ROLLY G. REYES

TERRORISM has surfaced in so many different forms and under so many different circumstances in our history that a comprehensive definition is almost near impossible. Why has the term been so hard to define? Why has the concept evaded definitional efforts of so many for so long?

Ironically, as a footnote in history: Menachem Begin, as the leader of the Irgun in postwar Palestine, was the first to see the propaganda advantage in referring to his followers as “freedom fighters.”

A terrorist is someone who uses fear to motivate civilians to act in a political manner on their behalf. It is hard, we are then told, to know exactly where the line exists between terrorists and the brave would-be liberators of oppressed people: freedom fighters. Besides, many nations in the world have come into existence after lengthy struggles for liberation. Many political analysts assert that the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is purely a matter of perception. When our guy kills in battle, he’s a freedom fighter; when our enemy does, he is a terrorist. Similar acts get different labels depending on who is doing the labeling.

The term has accumulated so many negative connotations that those who identified themselves as such have incurred enormous political liabilities. The application of the term to the activities of a group, organization or state institution conveys opprobrium. Naturally, those to whom it is applied regard it as an accusation and often seek to turn the tables on their accusers by labeling them as the “real” terrorists. The resulting war of words simply adds to the ambiguity and compounds the confusion. Often the polemic involves confusion, unintended or deliberate, between ends and means. A particular group or organization cannot be waging a terrorist campaign because it hopes to achieve some (self-defined) noble purpose.


Some say that terrorism is a concept that also seems to suffer from ‘borderlymind disputes’ and ‘membership’ problems. Where does terrorism stop and other forms of political violence? The same acts, such as air piracy or assassinations, may be considered terrorist acts on some occasions but not in others, usually based upon the assumed motivations of the perpetrators or the social standing of their victims.

Others describe it as an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individuals, groups, or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal, or political reasons, whereby—in contrast to assassination—the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperiled) victims, and main target (audiences), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought.

Unsolicited advice on how to combat terrorism:

The importance of an alert and motivated citizenry for helping to prevent terrorist attacks.

. Another is the key role of intelligence collection and analysis, which provide the foundation for all counterterrorism efforts. There is a need for close collaboration and coordination between international and domestic intelligence agencies in collecting and analyzing information on terrorist threats.

. There is great importance in the use of educational campaigns to bolster the psychological resilience of the civilian population against the demoralizing effects of terrorism.

Terrorism is a symptom of deeper political, religious, or social problems that cannot be solved by military means alone. A variety of policy tools—military, political, economic, and diplomatic—are needed over a protracted period of time to fight terrorism.

Like the recent London Bridge incident—the attack left seven people dead and 48 injured, of whom 18 were still in a critical condition on Monday—there was no specific targets but the main objective was to kill anybody in sight.

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Representatives Edcel Lagman, Tomasito Villarin, Gary Alejano, Emmanuel Billones, Teddy Brawner Baguilat, Jr., Raul Daza and Edgar Erice have filed a petition urging the high tribunal to nullify the Chief Executive’s proclamation of martial law in Mindanao, saying that the declaration had no sufficient factual basis.

No sufficient factual basis? They must have missed those TV footages by watching Nickleodeon instead.

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Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain cut off relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government, and the Maldives joined in later.

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‘Duterte offers P20-M bounty for Hapilon, Maute brothers.’ I suppose that it will be tax free and no capital gains deducted.

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The Philippine National Police relieved Tuesday the police chief of Lanao del Sur amid the raging battle between state troops and extremists in Marawi City.

Lanao del Sur police director Senior Supt. Oscar Nantes will be replaced by officer-in-charge Supt. Restituto Lacanao while “awaiting the assignment of a regular, more qualified” provincial chief. Several experts earlier said a failure of intelligence on the part of the police and military allowed the Maute and Abu Sayyaf extremists to take over parts of Marawi last May 23.

This is a good move. Kramer vs Kramer.

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Just a bit of information:
Qatar is home to Al-Jazeera. Al Jazeera literally means “The Island,” though referring to the Arabian Peninsula in context; also known as JSC (Jazeera Satellite Channel), a Doha-based state-funded broadcaster owned by the Al Jazeera Media Network, which is partly funded by the House of Thani, the ruling family of Qatar. Initially launched as an Arabic news and current affairs satellite TV channel, Al Jazeera has since expanded into a network with several outlets, including the Internet and specialty TV channels in multiple languages. Al Jazeera is among the largest news organizations with 80 bureaus around the world.

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News: Anthony Bourdain—Sisig will “win the hearts and minds of the world”.

Bourdain praised the sizzling, crispy pork dish, usually made from parts of pig’s head and liver, as “the brightest, best hope for a representational, advanced team.”

It’s about time Pinoy cuisine gets noticed globally. A Sisig Republic can co-exist with an Adobo Nation after all.

Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.

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1 Comment

  1. Amnata Pundit on

    Why are the Americans who bombed civilians in Yugoslavia, iraq, Libya, Vietnam, Hiroshima and Nagasaki and massacred thousands of Filipino resistance fighters during the Fil-Am War not terrorists is the real question. “The difficulty in fighting evil lies in its inherent ability to make itself look good.” Need I say more?