About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

25 December 2005

Terrorists and Torture

I watched The Living Daylights on e-tv on Friday night, and in my opinion, is one of the best James Bond movies ever. Timothy Dalton's portrayal of James Bond as a cold and calculating secret agent makes it a lot more realistic in my opinion when compared to some of the other James Bond actors esp Roger Moore. What I found more interesting was the British support for the Mujahedin in Afghanistan, the very same people who would later become the Taliban and subsequently give rise to the Al Qaeda.

These facts are not new, but I wonder how many movies post 9-11 will dare to show the connection. After all, consider the various insults being traded over Speilberg's new movie - Munich (to be released in 2006 in SA, released two days ago in the US) - which explores Israel's retaliation to trackdown the killers of the Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympic games.

The main problem with terrorism is with its definition - one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter. Even "Carlos the Jackal" can be considered a freedom fighter of sorts, fighting for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), one of the largest factions of the current PLO.

The main reason I started thinking of all this was after reading an article in the Financial Times from a week or so ago discussing torture - and how the US practices torture even though it's not defined as torture (the article alleges that the US conducts emotional torture on terror prisoners and since the US defines torture as physical pain, they are not committing "torture"). This is off course coupled with the allegations by Saddam that he has been tortured while in US custody. There is apparently a call by some Americans (according the FT article) to re-legalise torture for terrorism suspects - which is what brings this back to terrorism. Who or what is a terrorist? And, when does a person become a terrorist?

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