Saturday, October 02, 2004

My God Cries When Children Die - Does Yours?

Terrorists. There are so many of them making the news but so few media outlets willing to call them what they really are. The CBC calls them ‘militants’. The Globe and Mail calls them ‘rebels’. Other media sources have been quoted using other words to describe them. Words like assailants, attackers, bombers, captors, commandos, criminals, extremists, fighters, freedom fighters, guerrillas, gunmen, hostage-takers, insurgents, kidnappers, perpetrators, radicals, separatists, activists....

To anyone paying attention, it is plain that western media sources are taking great pains to avoid using the term "terrorist". Many right-wing scholars and pundits have provided commentary analysing the motives behind the abandonment of the word "terrorist" in our television, radio and newspaper coverage. So I won't bore you with that here.

As for me, I have no problem calling people ‘terrorists’ when it's appropriate to do so. Especially that batch of child-killing Chechnyan monsters who descended to the darkest depths of depravity and evil with their hostage taking at a Beslan school in Russia. Hundreds of innocent children, brutalized, starved, shot and killed. And for what? Chechnyan Independence? Religious Freedom? The right to build another state based on a twisted interpretation of Islamic law? Seems to me there are too many of those already.

I used to be a supporter of Chechnyan independence. I saw them as the underdog and Russia as the oppressor. I still believe that the Russians have no right to be demanding sovereignty over them. And I suspect that what the Chechnyans have done at that Russian school is no worse than what some Russian troops have done and continue to do in Chechnya to the Chechnyan people. But we have always known how brutal, oppressive, merciless and cold the Russian state can be, haven’t we? Just ask any Ukrainian. What this latest episode has made clear is that the Chechnyan separatists are every bit as bad. If things keep going the way they’re going, maybe those who seek to liberate Chechnyia will turn out to be its enslaver.

Oppressive, post-communist, Russian nationalism; or a twisted Chechnyan perversion of Islam. I can’t decide which is worse. Surely the peaceful followers of Islam and the entire world deserve better.

At any rate, I no longer feel as much empathy for the Chechnyans as I did before. Much of the sympathy I felt for them has been replaced by fear. Fear of a new group of souless radical terrorists creating another souless radical state. It hardly seems possible that a nation, governed by people who believe that their god condones the torture and wholesale slaughter of children, will add anything of beauty to the world.


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