columnBy Chris Smith
TERRORISM, seeking political power through violence and intimidation, a definition that seemed to have held true for many years, but is it? I look at Christianity that grew from ideals and beliefs developed 2000 years ago by JC with his team of 12 as probably being believed by the Pharisees as potentially violent and certainly intimidating when he amassed huge crowds to his sermons, especially as they were the poor.
Matters were probably not helped by his almost first act of protest be tipping over the tables of the money changers in the Temple; the Jewish equivalent of banks in those days!
Naturally the Pharisees and other ruling sects, in order to keep their positions of power and privilege, needed to maintain cooperative relations with the Roman colonial masters, especially Herod and Caesar. Even if the Jewish sects found JC as a manageable embarrassment it is almost certain that the Romans regarded as a terrorist!
History later showed that multiple miracles, and ability to feed the thousands from a couple of fish and a few loaves eventually pushed those sects into fear and a joint arrangement to do away with him was found! Competition, especially when believers became fanatical, despite the emergence of the peaceful protest and solid ethical values and moral fibre, was not to be tolerated. Terrorists are the enemy.
Later events, the emergence of Islam and guidance through the Koran also rose in competition and Jihadists and Crusaders emerged to wipe each other off the planet. Islam, like Christianity, leaves me confused when the teachings and the practices of both, and I admit having a much lesser background of Islamic understanding, have left me with a decided vacuum as how a god (or God) adds clarity to matters. The current sectarian and political mayhem in Moslem countries and the similar violent splits in the Christian religions some 500 years ago where obviously those of basically similar beliefs dis- solved into terrorism in its most vicious forms.
Fast forwarding to the 9/11 destruction of the twin towers, the London and Spanish bombings / murders on public transport and the nearly forgotten nightmares of the US embassy buildings in Tanzania and Kenya, the latter especially tragic as so many lost their eyesight, raised the terror- ism barometer to new heights. The more recent Swapo, ANC, Kenyatta and Zanu-PF "terrorists" of colonial days had won their battles and become "freedom fighters" and rulers of their own independent countries. Bush Senior opened up the floodgates by declaring a "War on Terror- ism" and bombing the hell out of Afghanistan to destroy AQ. "You are either with us or against us" became the western creed.
This massive declaration has now lead to massive infringements on basic freedoms, travel and made fat profits for the military in- dustrialists and service businesses. It has started a trend of intellectual freedoms being destroyed such that even thinking an evil thought is becoming an offence! Restric- tions on looking up how to make nuclear bombs or radical thinkers is likely to bring the world down on one's head. It has certainly squeezed much of the life out of a rebellious democratic protest as fear grows. Even the publicis- ing of blatant government abuses (remember WikiLeaks) opens you up to years of solitary confinement before trail (Manning). But yes, violent abuses in wealthy countries have declined; now the poor countries and suppliers of natural resources have inherited the problems. Violence and intimidation has just moved on.
Where are we now? I suggest that the once bearded and robed stereotype is no longer the main threat. The violence and intimidation experts now wear pin stripes, run banks and global industries and propel the masses into job- lessness and poverty in a planned and callous way as they direct their politician slaves to "do their will". They money launder, inside trade, destroy competition, print money along with the corrupt who buy influence and sell favour. Terrorism has rebuilt itself again.
This is the world we have to think about and conquer. EPAs, QE and OMT are just the start. Namibian public servant pay rises are nearly enough to fund an annual BIG programme. That's where growth will come from. Not new shopping malls.