9.18.2007

Terrorizing the Terror

...because surprisingly enough, I feel that this essay is socially relevant enough to be shown and laughed at by others. So here.

Terrorism is defined as violence or other harmful acts committed or threatened against civilians for political or other ideological goals. These are carried out by what are called “acts of terror,” which, according to the UN Security Council Resolution 1566, are “criminal acts, including against civilians, committed… with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in… a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act.” To prevent such acts, measures known as counter-terrorism measures are employed by governments and organizations internationally. One of these measures, according to the U.S. government, is the designation of certain organizations as “foreign terrorist organizations,” or FTOs; according to Colin Powell of the U.S. Secretary of State, “FTO designations play a critical role in our fight against terrorism and are an effective means of curtailing support for terrorist activities and pressuring groups to get out of the terrorism business.”

A well-known local example of these supposed organizations is the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its military wing, the National People’s Army (NPA). This leading communist party in the Philippines, founded by Jose Ma. Sison in 1968, is an ideologically Maoist union that has been fighting a “people’s war” since 1969. It is known to be one of the more controversial left-leaning coalitions in the National Democratic Front. The group’s military wing has long been accused of conducting civilian killings and rampant destruction of both public and private properties (a recent happening is the alleged arson of school buildings in Natonin, Mt. Province), as well as extortion, illegal funding, and the like. Based on these allegations, in 2002 the CPP/NPA was placed on the list of “terrorist organizations,” where the likes of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda are found.

The FTO designation imposed upon the CPP/NPA classifies the joint organization as “terrorist,” and this classification allows the Philippine and US governments to cut off any form of financial or political support to the organization or any member of the organization, in order to prevent the funding, organization, and occurrence of supposed “acts of terror.” It aims to disable and disarm such acts or organizations that carry out such acts.

The designation and all encompassing laws, however, does not allow any government or military to use similar “acts of terror” to combat those of the CPP/NPA. The employment of anti-terrorist measures comparable to the “terrorist measures” employed by the NPA in the pursuit of its political beliefs is unjustifiable. UN Security Council Resolution 1456 states that “States must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law… in particular international human rights, refugee, and humanitarian law.“ For both sides, the ends does not justify the means – whether it’s the CPP/NPA attempting to attain the fulfillment of their ideologies, or the military and government trying to combat the supposed terrorist group. Fighting fire with fire only stokes the flames of war. Of course, the local administration and its military, when needed, must employ measures to protect and prevent harm to its citizens; however, drastic measures such as torture, killing, and kidnapping (which, ironically, are the very same activities the government condemns), are inexcusable. Following the United Nations definition of terrorism, governments and militaries such as ours, if found guilty of such methods, should also be declared “terrorist.”

I believe that the CPP/NPA should remain classified as a terrorist organization only as a precautionary measure by both local and international governments. Until the communist party has shown that it has refrained from activities generally classifiable as terrorist, government and international institutions hold the right to cut financial, material, and political support, and the CPP/NPA shall remain as a terrorist group. But the government, in turn, must facilitate the diplomatic resolution of certain tensions between the leftist movement and current administration, and refrain from the use of drastic counter-terrorist methods, possibly shifting conflict from those whom are uninvolved to the two parties directly in dispute.

1 Comments:

Anonymous sarah d dubs said...

im going to be in the philippines today / tommorow / the day after tommorow (i dk the time difference.) see you in about 24 hours.

9/25/2007 10:23:00 PM  

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