Sunday, July 24, 2005


The Morally Right Response to the Terrorism

"Three important historical conflicts that involved similar terrorism against civilians come to mind: Native Americans versus white settlers, black slaves versus whites in the American South, and blacks versus whites in apartheid South Africa.  Below are examples of such terrorism from each of these conflicts -- terrorism against white settlers, white Southerners, and white South Africans.
see Terrorist Massacre
Jefferson County's last Indian massacre occurred on July 17, 1789, when the family of Richard Chenoweth, builder of Louisville's Fort Nelson, was attacked.  Three of Chenoweth's children and two soldiers guarding them were killed at the family home on Chenoweth Run about a mile west of Floyds Fork. [ ]

"In August 1831, Nat Turner and his small band of black rebels wreaked fear, violence and murder in Southhampton County, Virginia. Attempting to strike a crushing blow against the institution of slavery, Turner and slave insurgents killed approximately sixty whites, many of whom were children." [ ]

In South Africa in 1986 Robert McBride, a member of the ANC's special operations unit, bombed Magoos Bar on the Durban beachfront, killing three people and injuring 80, nearly all of them white.

In all three cases the victims were no less innocent ... the violence no less wrong. Native Americans, as virtually everybody now concedes, were the victims of genocide and ethnic cleansing. American slaves were the victims of the morally indefensible practice of chattel slavery. Blacks in South Africa were the victims of apartheid.

White settlers could have responded to the native American terrorism in two basic ways: increase their support for the U.S. cavalry's genocidal campaign against native Americans, or end the conflict by opposing their government's genocide and seeking to live with native Americans in peace by respecting them as human beings with rights fully equal to their own.  Southern whites could have responded to Nat Turner by supporting  increased security measures to protect whites from blacks in a slave society, or by abolishing slavery. White South Africans had to choose between supporting the apartheid government and its draconian methods for controlling the black population under apartheid, or abolishing apartheid. In these kinds of conflicts, the choice is between standing in solidarity with people who are fighting against a terrible injustice, or using the violence against innocent civilians as an excuse for taking the side of those perpetuating the injustice.

In every case cited above, the root cause of the conflict was a fundamental injustice; terrorism was merely a response, however indefensible, of the victims to the injustice. In every case the morally right response to the terrorism was to abolish the injustice, not to step up security measures against the Indians or slaves or black South Africans. Note that this is true regardless of the morality or immorality of the terrorist acts." exerpt from John Spritzler's article " RIGHT AND Wrong Responses to Palestinian Suicide Bombers" March 24, 2005

I have used the Nat Turner example myself for several years. The fact that terrorism is used does not mean the policies are OK.


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