What is Terrorism?

Came across an incredibly deep editorial by Devin Faraci on why “V for Vendetta is the most dangerous film of 2006“.

What’s happened in the world in the last few years is that we’ve had our dialogue taken away. Remember when conservatives freaked the fuck out about the PC movement – where they took offense at the idea that maybe it wasn’t cool to use unpleasant racial or sexual remarks? When they decided that being polite was some kind of liberal conspiracy? Well, we live in a world which has become PC times a thousand, where to even question the US occupation of Iraq or the way that the War on Terror has been fought is to be un-American. If you try to even begin to understand why a huge percentage of the Middle East hates us, you’re a jihadist sympathizer. Why do you hate America so much with your questions and refusal to just accept the party line? But for the love of God, don’t tell me I can’t call gays “faggots,” because that’s PC nonsense. V For Vendetta seeks to dynamite open that blocked dialogue and to confront us with many issues – what is our security worth? Is terrorism inherently evil? What the hell is terrorism anyway?

V isn’t the only place these questions are being asked. Last week’s episode of Battlestar Galactica impressed me as it showed heroic human resistance fighters on Cylon-occupied Caprica blow up a café full of quite possibly innocent human-looking Cylons. Show creator Ronald Moore and his writers are no dummies – they took the characters we sympathize with, that we understand, who have been almost driven to extinction by the unspeakable aggression and brutality of the Cylons, and put them in the position of a Palestinian terrorist. We never saw what any of the Cylons killed in that explosion had done before. They may have been administrators or accountants – at least one was a barista. But the human resistance didn’t care if they had had a direct hand in the attempted genocide of the human race – they were complicit, guilty by association. And brilliantly the show puts us in the mindset of a terrorist. That’s the beauty of what art can do, and how it can present to us new ways of looking at issues we thought we had already covered.

Some would say that’s glorifying terrorism; smarter people would say that’s examining how terrorism happens. Which is V? I think in the end it’s riding a fine line; it’s not explicitly condoning terrorism, but it is making the argument that sometimes the people need to commit violence against the state. Ironically, this is a statement that conservatives should agree with – it’s the basis, they say, of their impassioned defense of the Second Amendment. Violence against the state will always be classified as terrorism – by the state. If the modern concept of terrorism had been in vogue in 1776, I can guarantee to you that that would be how the Revolutionaries would have been smeared by the British. Instead they had to stick to the usual old-fashioned lines of treason and such. In the end the American Revolution was the illegal use of violence to make political change – and if you don’t believe it was illegal, I suggest you do some reading as to find out why the signing of the Declaration of Independence was such a big deal. Each man who signed that document essentially signed his own death warrant, should he be captured – the British didn’t recognize American sovereignty and saw the Revolutionaries only as traitors who would be hung.

I definitely recommend reading the rest of it. Very well written and puts into words some thoughts that at least I’ve been having about some of the policies that are coming out of the Bush administration these days.

Very much looking forward to this movie.

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1 Response

  1. Haacked says:

    Amen brother! (sorry, nothing more substantive than that to add).