What do you have to do to be called a terrorist?

After a three-day standoff with militants ended amid a fire Saturday at the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, the removal of the bodies from the wrecked 105-year-old landmark began… 

On Wednesday night, when a married couple in their 70s went to their third-floor window to see what was happening after hearing gunfire, the attackers blazed away with assault rifles, killing them both. Shards of glass still hung in the panes on Saturday.

When several attackers seized a Jewish outreach center, Nariman House, on Wednesday, neighbors mistook the initial shots for firecrackers in celebration of India’s imminent cricket victory over England. But then two attackers stepped out on a balcony of Nariman House and opened fire on passers-by in an alley nearby. They killed a 22-year-old call center worker who was the sole financial supporter of his widowed mother.

When a tailor locked up his store for the night, half a block from the Taj Hotel, a gunman spotted him and killed him instantly, said Rony Dass, a cable television installer. “We still don’t know why they did this,” he said, mourning his lifelong friend. Somini Sangupta and Keith Bradsher, NY Times

What do you have to do to be called a terrorist?

This question comes to mind when the word ‘militant’  is used in almost all of the media accounts of the Mumbai attacks.

In addition to the usual targets of  Westerners and Jews, the gunmen murdered anyone available — old men and women, anybody they felt like shooting.

When terrorists detonate a bomb, they know they are going to kill indiscriminately, but they don’t usually look their victims in the eye. In many cases these terrorists carefully aimed at their victims, most of whom were ordinary Indians.

“One man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter”, Jeremy Bowen of the BBC famously said, no doubt having in mind Palestinian terrorists and thereby proving himself a moral idiot. I suppose his logic is that he would prefer not to offend anyone, no matter how ignorant that person may be.

But for whom are the Mumbai terrorists ‘freedom fighters’?

Is it necessary to call them ‘militants’ so as not to offend the homicidal sociopaths among The Times’ readership? How many of them could there be?

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One Response to “What do you have to do to be called a terrorist?”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    1) The overwhelming number of terrorist attacks on civilians are done by Islamic terrorists
    2) Islamic terrorists show no consideration or respect for human life, even the lives of fellow Muslims who they often kill in actions in places where there are ‘mixed populations’ as in Mumbai.
    3) The West and the Western media are afraid to put all the incidents of Terror together and face the truth that the overwhelming majority of them come from Islamic sources. They refuse to connect the incidents with the Jihad to the World Caliphate purposes of the extreme Islamists.
    4) Appeasement will not stop the Islamists but only encourage them.
    5) George Bush was right when after 9/11 he spoke of a long war against the Terrorists- only he did not conduct the campaign with wisdom and thoroughness- and from the outside refused to recognize that radical Islam is the heart of the problem.
    6) No matter how President- elect Obama tries to appease the world of radical Islam he will still find himself at war with them. Let us pray that he is smarter, and yes more courageous than President Bush and instead of picking on them here and there really smashes them at the heart.
    7) NGTOs Non- Government Terror Organizations are dangerous but the greatest danger comes from their State sponsors.
    8) To win the war on Terror the regime in Tehran must be overthrown and in fact humiliated completely.

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