69 million page views

Militants and Terrorists

Reader comment on item: [Beslan Atrocity:] They're Terrorists - Not Activists

Submitted by David Harris (Canada), Sep 7, 2004 at 15:31

The absurdity of the situation is overshadowed only by the danger it promotes.

In commenting on the outrage against the schoolchildren in Beslan, the BBC spoke of the "militants' actions". How absurd!

Within democracies, strikes are commonly led by militants within the unions or those members who take a militant attitude to labour relations. In what way can such actions be related to "terrorism" even if they occasionally spill over to include labour violence?

Terrorism and militancy are not different degrees of the same thing but qualitatively different things using very different methods to gain very different ends. In the case of terrorism it is invariably political in nature and commonly involves gaining control of the state or, at least, altering it in some fundamental way. Militancy is more of an attitude than anything and cannot in any way be seen as identical or interchangeable with political terror tactics.

I would like to change focus for a moment and directly address Dr Pipes. Over the weekend I searched continually on CNN for news of the Russian school atrocity. Intead, all I could find was news of Hurricane Frances; near permanent shots and comments of windswept reporters telling us that it was rainy and windy. Where was the concern for the traumatized Russian parents and children? Assuming CNN can be taken as some type of register of national concerns and interests where was its focus? On its own shores and its own direct national interests of course. Where was "the world's problem of the fight against terror" now? I realize the analytical pitfalls of building a theory from an incident but, to extrapolate from this weekend's news experience , can you not see how insular and self-centred this was and how it affects international attitudes to America and its problems?

Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

Follow Daniel Pipes

Facebook   Twitter   RSS   Join Mailing List

All materials by Daniel Pipes on this site: © 1968-2024 Daniel Pipes. daniel.pipes@gmail.com and @DanielPipes

Support Daniel Pipes' work with a tax-deductible donation to the Middle East Forum.Daniel J. Pipes

(The MEF is a publicly supported, nonprofit organization under section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Contributions are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by law. Tax-ID 23-774-9796, approved Apr. 27, 1998.

For more information, view our IRS letter of determination.)