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Why is one act of violence "terror" and another not?

Reader comment on item: The Aftermath of Attack in Gaza

Submitted by Nico de Lange (Netherlands), Jul 31, 2002 at 05:57

I've got a question, actually.

In South Africa thousands of white civilians were killed during the 1980's, casualties of the liberation struggle of the ANC's militant wing Umkhonto we Sizwe - killed when bombs exploded in restaurants and in busy streets before military offices, or when landmines in the country's border regions exploded under farmers' trucks.

Now, I'm an Afrikaner myself, and my people have committed terrible crimes of oppression and humiliation against our black countrymen. I acknowledge this, and I also freely admit that only those terrible civilian losses would have moved my people to agree to political negotiations with the black liberation movements.

Thus, Umkhonto we Sizwe committed terrible acts of terrorism, but as part of their liberation struggle. I accept this, and that this is the reason why America never condemned the ANC's terrorism.

Why then does America condemn Palestinian terrorism? After all, for more than thirty years the Palestinian CIVILIAN population has (mostly) peacefully resisted Israeli rule, yet Israel never granted them independence.

What then is the difference between the ANC's acts of terrorism during the 1980's, and the Palestinians' acts of terrorism now?

Both are committed in the name of liberation.


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