15 June, 2021

Ain’t No Terrorist

Caught between geo-politics and race, defining ‘terrorism’ is a slippery terrain

Ain’t No Terrorist

The debate on terrorism is back in focus. Whether violence carried out by an individual, apparently unaffiliated to any militant organisation, on a large number of innocent people, constitutes an act of terror has been a contentious issue in recent months. In an increasing atmosphere of Islamobhobia that has gripped western governments and sharply polarised their societies, the mass killing in Las Vegas on October 1 by a white Christian gunman has added a new layer to the debate. Stephen Paddock’s act of carnage led seve­ral people to ask justifiably: “How could the worst mass shooting in US history not be terrorism?”

President Donald Trump’s “warm condolences” for the victims notwithstanding, investigators are yet to label the mass killing in Las Vegas as an “act of terror”.

This, interestingly, is the third time in four months that the American public is talking about the issue. In June, when a man attacked members of the Republican Baseball team practising just outside Washington and again...

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