This Ongoing War..
13 November '14..
Ten years ago this week, an American television journalist offered up a solemn tribute to the death that day of the kleptocratic mass-murderer Yasser Arafat:
"There may not be any other man in history who better embodies the saying that one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter... For most Israelis, many Jews, he was a bloody terrorist and nothing more. Yet elsewhere in the world, even among Arabs who questioned his leadership, he was treated as a hero, freedom fighter, revolutionary. A diminutive man who became a larger than life symbol of the Palestinian dream..." Diane Sawyer reporting Arafat's death on Good Morning America, November 11, 2004 [Source]
We wish Ms Sawyer understood - and hope the past decade has shown - that one does not have to be Israeli to see this as one of the most galling aphorisms of our time.
More than that: convincing other people that "One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" is an essential part of ensuring moral confusion will reign. A thoughtful friend of ours puts it this way: it makes people stupid.
The United Nations which does not have, perhaps never will have, an agreed definition of terrorism, is the world's most important shrine to the consequences of not grappling effectively with terrorism and terrorists. In 1999, the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1269 (full-text version here). It's not a long document - the entire text could fit on a single sheet. Broadly what it does is: