Why the Norwegian attacker is not a Terrorist:
Terrorism has had a long history, and only recently has it had a Muslim spin because of Al-Qaeda, if anything Al-Qaeda is the new player and not the key ingredient in terrorism. Terrorism has been used since the 11th century when the “Assasisns (Hashashin)” in Persia started to use violent tactics aimed at the general public. The term was arguably coined by the French group during the French revolution “La Terreur” in 1792. This continued with several European groups such as the Red Army Faction (Baader Meinhof group) in Germany. It culminated in several long manifestos that outlined how to scare populations using public targets, bombs and explosives, one manifesto has the mysterious name “Philosophy of the Bomb” by Johannes Most (1880).
All of this seems to be in line with the outrageous attack in Norway, but why does Reuters, CNN and several other news agencies refuse to call it an act of terror? Tactically speaking, the shoe fits; Norway’s attack targeted public symbols, the Prime Minister’s office and wreaked havoc on helpless children belonging to a youth camp organized by the ruling party. This comes out of the classic terrorism textbook along with Al-Qaeda, Basque ETA, Tamil Tigers and so many more.
The link has nothing to do with tactics sadly, it is more political, and here is a sobering awakening for all the ‘security experts’ on news agencies.
Terrorism is an outcry that aims to grab the media’s attention and take the hearts and minds of the innocent hostage and instill fear. Today you reconsider taking the subway after years of taking it everyday after a bombing (London 7/7 bombing), tomorrow you vow never to fly because of an airplane hijacking (USA 9/11). In this sense it is quite ironic immediate ‘security analysts’ jumped the gun and said it has a clear ‘Al-Qaeda fingerprint’ on it when the perpetrator is the person calling for an end to ‘Islamisizing’ Europe. In fact Al-Qaeda attacks have nothing new in them, they are just bearded people finding different ideological ground. Tamil Tiger’s ready use of suicide represents an atheistic belief showing different ideological justifications.
Terrorism aims to grab attention from the media because there is often a ‘lost cause’, for years the European right has been on the rise, attacking Muslim, and by association, pro-Palestine communities. This raises the Norwegian-Palestinian file, along with Norway’s past involvement in Iraq. The far right would love nothing more than a Muslim led ‘Al-Qaeda’ attack to justify cutting expenditure on its responsibility to international peace and security. In no way am I saying it was an attack designed to look like that, but they are tied.
This connection is evident in how news agencies label perpetrators of attacks. Terrorism is not a modern phenomenon and states have the willpower to prosecute it legally without extrajudicial mechanisms. Recent terrorist legislation has either been used to kill opposition in the Middle East, Africa and some parts of North-East Asia, or has been used to take away rights and liberties in Europe. These are the same rights and liberties that the European far right seeks to take, and as witnessed in Norway by force.
If the news agencies cannot see the terrorism in it, so be it. It may be a blessing disguised for the disgruntled lawyers out there who fear the rise of ‘terrorism’ related reforms, increased security spending and legal amendments. Terrorism does not need a label that or a ‘war’ on it for that matter. It can be treated in a criminal manner, all the more defeating for the ‘terrorists and criminals’ who want their 5 minutes of fame. Instead of brandying prisoners in Abu-Ghareb and presupposing they are all terrorists, it is time to take away that label. If there is no equality in diagnosing them the label should be thrown away altogether. Perhaps then law-enforcement agencies will treat suspects less brutally and arbitrarily detain and do more policing. There needs to be an end to ‘profiling’ people based on ethnicity and income which is not grounded in any evidence whatsoever. Criminalizing terrorism maybe a step forward for the ‘global war on criminals’.