Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Not even in London

Some time ago we had a discussion on the blog about terrorists being called terrorists in London but not in many other places. Well, no need to worry. They are not terrorists here either.

The BBC, always careful in its phraseology (except when it comes to such beyond the pale individuals as eurosceptics, free-market Tories and members of the Countryside Alliance) has decided to stop calling the people who planted the bombs last Thursday “terrorists” and call them “bombers” instead.

What’s in a name, you might say? The word “terrorist” has been a difficult one and most news agencies have tried to get round it somehow, arguing that one man’s terorist is another man’s freedom-fighter.

In particular the problem are around the Israel (where many of the attacks on the transport were far worse), Palestine, Chechnya and Iraq, where a new expression, “insurgents”, has appeared to describe people who plant bombs in markets and queues.

A member of the Spanish embassy in London has once expressed his (in my opinion justified) displeasure that Reuter’s described ETA “bombers” as nationalists. That was an insult, he said, to those Basques who were nationalists but were trying to achieve their aims through peaceful, democratic means.

If the word “terrorist” cannot be used, at least describe ETA as the people who planted a bomb here and there and murdered so-and-so. But that would prejudice the viewers and listeners. I guess it would, at that.

At least, the BBC is not referring to the “bombers” as “freedom fighters” or “insurrectionists”. We ought to be grateful for that.

In the meantime, HMG is pushing ahead with the terrifying law that will make “race hate speech” to be defined by the putative victim, as crime, thus ensuring that even less discussion about the roots of Islamic terrorism will be possible.

The law, as Mark Steyn points out today, will also hit the few Muslim writers who are emerging from the reign of terror imposed by the various imams and not properly fought against by such organizations as the Council of British Muslims, to make clear statements against terrorism and to demand that Muslims turn against them.

One little noted fact is that the law will bring us into line with some of our European friends. In Italy there is a law that forbids vilipendio, that is the vilifying another religion.

One of its first victims is the highly regarded journalist Oriana Fallaci, now in her seventies and seriously ill. Two years ago she wrote a book, “The Force of Reason”, in which she accused Europe of giving in to militant Islam and allowing the subcontinent to be turned over to the “Sons of Allah”.

In Italy she faces two years in prison and prefers to remain in New York, where she is protected by the First Amendment. At present, people in Britain can be silenced only by our extraordinary libel laws (more of that in another posting) but if this law goes through, our writers, too, will be prevented from expressing their opinions on certain subjects that just happen to be vitally important.

It was bad enough during the Cold War that the then politically correct point of view, expounded by academics and the dear old BBC, was that one must not be too nasty about the Soviet Union. After all, its leaders were no different from ours. At least, there were no laws that would have imprisoned the writers who disagreed with those ridiculous statements.

In this war we shall be handicapped by our own leaders, who seem to be determined to destroy the freedoms we are supposed to be fighting for.

But let me finish this posting on a positive note. We have had a bit of stick from both sides of the Atlantic about our reaction to some of the American comments. Let me, therefore, point to what I consider a thoroughly dignified show of solidarity, that needs few words (and not a bulldog in sight). We are, indeed, together in this war.

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