Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Retrospection on Terrorism

While there are definitions of "terrorism" in international law, a potent reminder of the subjective nature of that classification was pointed out by CNN.

This story relates how Nelson Mandela, of all people, was just removed from the United States' terrorism watch list, and can now get a visa without special permission.

Without resorting to an argument of terrorist/freedom fighter, the fact that a person of Mandela's reputation and renown is only now removed from what is effectively a list of terrorists presents an opportunity to reflect on how the concept of a terrorist group, like the African National Congress in Mandela's case, fits in with different legal frameworks and issues, e.g. on ending colonialism (Palestine, Puerto Rico), fighting illegitimate government (portions of Bolivia, Zimbabwe), the growing indigenous rights framework (Latin America), or self-determination (Taiwan, Kurdistan, Western Sahara).

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