It might have amused some people seven years ago when Australian cricket commentator Dean Jones labelled Proteas batsman Hashim Amla ‘the terrorist’ during South Africa’s second test against Sri Lanka. Amla was readily forgiving. He became a terrorist due to his Indian ancestry, his Islamic faith and his cultivated beard. The 45-year old Islamophobe was rapidly fired from his job. “Everyone needs to get away from perpetuating the myth, publicly and privately that beard as associated with the Muslim faith are somehow suspicious”, said an unemployed Jones.
That’s the modern definition of terrorist; who your parents are, who you target (sometimes with a bat) and who you pray to. Little wonder UNITA bandit and equally bearded Jonas Savimbi died without having been classified ‘terrorist’ by the US’ State Department regardless of the terror he unleashed against Angolan civilians.
Ten years ago Tokyo Sexwale remained a terrorist even when his company Gold Fields listed at the New York Stock Exchange. That was eight years since Nelson Mandela, another terrorist became president and remained on the US terrorism list until 2008. That was years after Sexwale (who served 13-years for throwing a grenade at apartheid police) was the premier of Gauteng; a province where the US Embassy is based.
Quite intriguing is how the West shies away from sticking the label unto its homegrown terrorists.
In 1993 United States law enforcement authorities were in a confrontation with David Koresh of the Branch Davidian cult in Waco, Texas. During the 51-days stand-off Koresh was never referred to as a terrorist; regardless of living in a compound filled with automatic weapons and 132 brainwashed but dangerous acolytes. Though the ATF and FBI ended up raiding the ‘terrorist’ nest never once did Texas governor at the time Anne Richards consider sticking the ‘ugly’ logo on Koresh. He would have fitted that profile. Koresh was at worst labelled a ‘psychopath’.
Around the same time fugitive Ramzi Yousef was on the FBI list of wanted terrorists for blowing up New York’s World Trade Centre (later destroyed on September 11, 2001). One would plead ignorance for thinking ‘terrorist’ means someone who uses a bomb. However when Timothy McVeigh blew up a federal building in Oklahoma City to revenge Waco, killing 168 people his act was deemed “the worst act of homegrown terrorism in the nation’s history”. McVeigh was still never referred to as a terrorist. His country, which taught him terror in its military later killed him.
The same hypocritical stance was taken with the Washington sniper John Allen Muhammad who was charged with terrorism. Muhammad, who shot dead eleven people was Black and Muslim. Theodore J. Kaczynski, otherwise known as the Unabomber waged an 18-year terror campaign in the US. In 1998 when he was finally caught he entered a guilty plea and got a life sentence without having been charged with terrorism.
None of the white suspects are terrorists. Have you wondered why mass- murderer Barend Strydom never made it into the US Terrorist List while apartheid victims suffer to this day?
However would-be Christmas bomber of Northwest Airlines Flight 253, Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was called a ‘remorseless terrorist’ by the FBI even though he never bombed anyone. It raises that question Vladimir Lenin shrewdly answered, “the purpose of terrorism is to produce terror”. To terrorise is to ‘use violence and intimidation to achieve ends’.
In its broad definition one cannot help but see the Columbine attack, Virginia Tech and the recent Colorado cinema massacre fitting that profile. US President Barack Obama calls the cinema massacre, ‘senseless violence’. Why is ‘domestic terrorist’ a swearword to Obama? We see the terror but not the terrorists. Why is no media brazen to label James Holmes and Seung-Hi Chi terrorists?
One can also see Anders Behring Brevik’s Utoeya Island (Norway) massacre as another terrorist attack. It seems some nationalities are hardly terrorist material. It could be the reason why the Klu Klux Klan and European Nazi groups are white supremacists and nationalists.
Should they be born in Arabia, convert to Islam or target the West to earn the title? Singer Yusuf Islam is on the United States No Entry list (a list made up of non-desirables and suspected terrorists); he wasn’t there when he was still Cat Stevens. Droned US cleric Anwar al-Awlaki became a terrorist when he pointed his propaganda at the US.
Here are interesting facts; Venezuelan Illyich ‘Carlos The Jackal’ Sánchez was a terrorist because he targeted capitalists and their interests. Ernesto Che Guevara, who was a mercenary in the same token as the French Legionnaires was considered a terrorist because he fought imperialists. Israeli Baruch Goldstein was never labelled terrorist even after gunning down 30 Palestinian worshippers in a mosque and belonging to a terrorist organisation. Terrorist Yigal Amir killed Yitzhak Rabin but evaded the ugly tag which was plastered by his government on slain quadriplegic Sheik Ahmed Yassin.
And Lord Resistance Army’s Joseph Kony got the honour of being inducted into that hall of fame because the US Army is finally on his tail. It’s probably time the Boeremag and AWB are inducted into this Hall of Shame.
By: Goodenough Mashego