Disputing Terrorism

In Vicente Medina (ed.), Terrorism Unjustified: The Use and Misuse of Political Violence. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 23-40 (2015)
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“Terrorism” is a polysemic, emotionally laden term. Belligerent groups could be labeled “terrorist” by some and “freedom” or “guerrilla” fighters by others. Similarly, the same organization or group could be labeled “terrorist” by some and “humanitarian organization” by others. Hence, depending on which perspective people take in a given conflict, and how the international community reacts to the conflict in question, members of different organizations or groups might end up being classified in a negative sense as terrorists or in a positive sense as freedom fighters. Such perspectivism partly explains why so much disagreement exists on the meaning, justification, or excuse of terrorism.

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Vicente Medina
Seton Hall University


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