For instance Chechen rebellion against Russian repression as well as

For instance chechen rebellion against russian

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2002;2GMJ: Mediterranean Edition 4(2) Fall 2009 Wittebols, 1991). For instance, Chechen rebellion against Russian repression as well as Palestinian resistance against Israeli occupation are commonly conveyed as illegitimate acts of attacking civilians and threatening social order and stability. Contrarily, oppressive Russian and Israeli policies against the respective peoples are portrayed as justified and warranted (Tuman, 2003). While scholars generally agree that terrorism is a form of political violence – violence performed with political goals or within a political context (e.g. Nacos, 2002; Nossek, 2004) – there is no consensus on what “terrorism” encompasses (e.g. Schlesinger, Murdock, & Elliot, 1983; Tuman, 2003). The term’s resistance to definition is perhaps best captured in “the hackneyed expression, ‘ one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’” (Carruthers, 2000, p. 165). In 1988, Edward Said even suggested eliminating the term, explaining: The use of the word terrorism . . . usually has all kinds of implicit validations of one’s own brand of violence, it’s highly selective. If you accept it as a norm, then it becomes so universally applicable that it loses any force whatsoever. I think it is better to drop it (p. 44). A common theme running across attempts to define “terrorism” is the essential reliance on inducing psychological intimidation within the target audience for the sake of a politically oriented goal (Weimann & Winn, 1994). There is also scholarly consensus that the label “terrorist/terrorism” attaches a pronounced connotation of guilt and illegitimacy to the designated party, thereby permanently tainting its image (Crenshaw, 1995; Tuman, 2003). Such connotation also helps justify government policy toward other nations, including refusal to foster diplomatic relations and imposition of economic sanctions (Crenshaw, 1995). At this juncture, the role of mass media as the cultural arms of any given modern day society (Gerbner, 1992) is pivotal. Most of the information we acquire is through media outlets; they serve as primary means of constructing our everyday reality (Gerbner, 1992). Furthermore, mass media are the first and foremost publicity forums for acts of political violence serving as a practical theater for perpetrators to convey their messages to the intended audience(s) (Carruthers, 2000; Weimann & Winn, 1994). Laqueur (1987) has even gone as far as calling “terrorists” the “super entertainers of our time” (p. 305). Whether acts are designated as terrorism, revolt, resistance or otherwise, can be highly consequential. Once assigned, the power of a name is such that the process by which the name was selected generally disappears and a series of normative associations, motives, and characteristics are attached to the named subject (Bhatia, 2005). Given that the agendas of those participating in the political violence discourse are varied, an expected consequence is tailoring such definitions to suit those agendas (Tuman, 2003).

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