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Simon Says -- SimonSawSunlight Photo Technique From time to time its been suggested that RFF have a mentor Photography help section in terms of Technique - how to shoot this or that. 1st of all I had to find someone whose work I really like. 2ndly that photog had to be willing help others. That's the catch: so many excellent photogs just are not wiling to make the time for that, or just as likely, simply don't give a damn about helping others. SimonSawSunlight is an excellent up and coming photog whose work seems to go well beyond his 24 years.

You can view Simon's work at http://www.simonbephotography.com/  and www.facebook.com/simonbphotography Simon has been published in in FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), LFI (Leica Fotografie International) and more recently in Radiate Magazine. He also recently had a large solo-exhibition in Berlin. Not too Shabby! So, let us begin this adventure and see where it goes. Thank for taking this on Simon!


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"terrorism" and "perspectivity" of photography
Old 12-14-2013   #1
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"terrorism" and "perspectivity" of photography

for example: in the turkish uprisings this year, protesters have been repeatedly called and labeled "terrorists". i have been shooting among the ranks of these terrorists for weeks, i have been questioned about being a terrorist by "employees of the authorities" myself.
the term terrorism and words related to it are used all over the globe to discredit all possible (real or not) rational aims, reasons, and positions that enemies or political/military/militant opponents might have. i am interested in anything you might have to share in relation to this, no matter what.

... link, show, tell, discuss. what is terrorism? who are terrorists? what is terrorism used for and what is used against it? what interesting photography is there on the subject? how is photography (or video, and journalism in general) used in the context? [...]
i know this is a little against rff rules, but (as the terrorist i am) i ask you not to be shy when you think what you are saying is too "political" (whatever that means), please...
(a big old hello to the mods! )

thanks!
 

Old 12-14-2013   #2
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... perhaps its just time for a war on rhetoric?

(and hello from me too)
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Old 12-14-2013   #3
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... perhaps its just time for a war on rhetoric?

(and hello from me too)
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Old 12-14-2013   #4
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A terrorist is someone who goes against the status quo. I think history is clear on this. Those in power want to stay in power. Anyone opposed to this is, basically, a terrorist. The term terrorist has no inherent meaning, unlike "bachelor" or "triangle", which is why it is bounced around so much: easily fits in with whatever spin is being fed to whomever. Photographs fit well here- meaning and content are easily "spun" as context and intent can be ignored (or not). Soviet photography is interesting for this.
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Old 12-14-2013   #5
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A terrorist is someone who goes against the status quo. I think history is clear on this. Those in power want to stay in power. Anyone opposed to this is, basically, a terrorist. The term terrorist has no inherent meaning, unlike "bachelor" or "triangle", which is why it is bounced around so much: easily fits in with whatever spin is being fed to whomever. Photographs fit well here- meaning and content are easily "spun" as context and intent can be ignored (or not). Soviet photography is interesting for this.
do you have concrete examples of such photography?

and isn't the term terrorist also usually related to a person's or group's (true, assumed, or claimed) methods and actions?
 

Old 12-14-2013   #6
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"Terrorism is the systematic use of violence (terror) as a means of coercion for political purposes."
While ultimately, terrorists are only those, who use violence WHILE NOT HOLDING POWER, it is the violence itself that defines terrorism best. A recent example, has been the swift trial ending with the execution of the uncle of the current North Korean ruler, because "he only clapped half heartedly" at party meetings. A classic example of state terror at its best.
I have been though too many "end justifies the means" examples on my own skin, to get drawn into logic of people who justify violence. Only self defense justifies a limited use of force. If you want to protest, the best way is the non violent way, through disobedience. Ultimately, it works.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #7
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What in past times would be called dissent, political unrest , or protest now comes under the umbrella term of terrorism.

In the social climate of today the term has become a usage of convenience so that any and all opposition to the state is termed as terrorism which can now be met with a high level of force and legal sanction. It has become also, culturally fashionable via movies, mainstream news, political blogging and so on.

Any one who might ruffle a feather or two no matter how innocently, is fair game for the authorities.

Certain activities including photography fall automatically under suspicion.
It is hard ,if not impossible to change this perception as it has been inculcated into whole populations over the last decade or so.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #8
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This, is terrorism.
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Old 12-14-2013   #9
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Terrorism is violence against nonmilitary targets that intends shock value out of proportion to the actual damage inflicted. This makes the question of whether or not someone is a "terrorist" rather easy.

Calling anything else terrorism is the speaker twisting a charged word to his purposes.

-Greg
 

Old 12-14-2013   #10
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The effectiveness of non-violent disobedience assumes that there is a party to witness it and of a disposition to be outraged.

There are times when the only morally sane thing to do is to fight back.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregoyle View Post
Terrorism is violence against nonmilitary targets that intends shock value out of proportion to the actual damage inflicted. This makes the question of whether or not someone is a "terrorist" rather easy.

Calling anything else terrorism is the speaker twisting a charged word to his purposes.

-Greg
that makes a great many operations by "official" militaries acts of terrorism. do you agree?
 

Old 12-14-2013   #12
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The problem is the one who is called a Terrorist is for some other a freedom fighter and hero - so what is terrorism and is there realy one?
It allways depends on which side you are standing.

A catholic in northern Ireland wouldn´t have called the IRA Terrorists - a british soldier ordered to Belfast ...
 

Old 12-14-2013   #13
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Quote:
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that makes a great many operations by "official" militaries acts of terrorism. do you agree?
When labeling something an act of terror it is important to consider who is being terrorized, which might diminish some attempts at drawing a cheap equivalence.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #14
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For people like me, that simply don't want to get blown out of the sky on my next vacation trip, the word "terrorist" has a very real meaning. All the other political versions are just that... politics.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #15
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When labeling something an act of terror it is important to consider who is being terrorized, which might diminish some attempts at drawing a cheap equivalence.
i meant civilists, but since we are here, does it depend on who is affected by such acts of or similar to terrorism to decide whether it is actually condemnable as terrorism or not?
 

Old 12-14-2013   #16
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does anybody have some examples of photography with regards to the topic in any way? i would love to see some things that i don't know yet.
or do you have maybe have an opinion on how acts of terrorism are reported on and communicated in journalistic (or other) media?
 

Old 12-14-2013   #17
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i meant civilists, but since we are here, does it depend on who is affected by such acts of or similar to terrorism to decide whether it is actually condemnable as terrorism or not?
There are people in this world who should live in fear, I think. Not all acts of violence are necessarily condemnable nor are all conflicts merely unfortunate misunderstandings.

Last edited by Major Tom : 12-14-2013 at 14:41. Reason: Grammar.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #18
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cha..._on_Everything

http://youtu.be/N3zKuLgH_l8

Terribleism, they even have fat wah wahs.

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Old 12-14-2013   #19
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Well I see it as
Terrorism uses Violence , Brutality & Intimidation as a means of Excercising Political Will and Idealogy

Generally speaking Acts against Government policies using Violence would make One a Revolutionary though I suppose In Todays World a more Modern Day term would be a 'Terrorist''

A Government against the People using Violence makes for a Dictatorship

In either case its not a pretty Picture...

As for Examples its easy tp Find...look at Every Uprising, Every War and there You see the Courage of those holding a Camera and Documenting the Event....that the Truth be known
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Old 12-14-2013   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonSawSunlight View Post
that makes a great many operations by "official" militaries acts of terrorism. do you agree?
This is an interesting concept. I think that when that happens, i.e. a government/military targets civilians for shock value, it is definitely viewed by others as wrong. Is it terrorism?

I think Sanmich made it more clear by defining a "terrorist" as non-governmental.

-Greg
 

Old 12-14-2013   #21
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I think Sanmich made it more clear by defining a "terrorist" as non-governmental.

-Greg
With all due Respect to Michael, I disagree
Why can't 'Governments' be considered terrorists
And be Accountable and held responsible for Acts of Terrorism ???

Cladenstinely speaking, they send undercover agents in to reek Havoc & Fear
Or Simply send in the Army /Police to use Brutality against the People
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Old 12-14-2013   #22
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There is a divergence between acts of terrorism and the label terrorist, which has increasingly become not a descriptor of persons committing terrorist acts but a label of choice for those in power to to justify the use of unreasonable force against dissenters to maintain control. Any label that pushes the fear button in a population would do. It is all about defining "the dangerous other" as distinct from "us".

Edit: the danger with misuse of the label terrorist is that it diverts attention from actual terrorists. Everyone wants to be able to fly safely and not get shot up in a shopping mall. Attention should be focused on people who plan and execute these actions, not democratic protestors and photographers.

Apologies for getting a little off-topic.
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Old 12-14-2013   #23
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Actually, the lack of photographs of terrorists is a fairly good ready reckoner of what defines a terrorist. Terrorists work in small units in a clandestine manner to inflict violence on whoever will garner the greatest impact. By it's very nature it is almost unphotographable.
Where are the photographs of any of the thousands of car bombs that have been set over the years being set? The reason there aren't any is almost definition initself that those acts are acts of terror.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #24
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Actually, the lack of photographs of terrorists is a fairly good ready reckoner of what defines a terrorist. Terrorists work in small units in a clandestine manner to inflict violence on whoever will garner the greatest impact. By it's very nature it is almost unphotographable.
Where are the photographs of any of the thousands of car bombs that have been set over the years being set? The reason there aren't any is almost definition initself that those acts are acts of terror.
Al Qaeda in Iraq was notorious for uploading their acts online for propaganda.
 

Old 12-14-2013   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gregoyle View Post
Terrorism is violence against nonmilitary targets that intends shock value out of proportion to the actual damage inflicted. This makes the question of whether or not someone is a "terrorist" rather easy.

Calling anything else terrorism is the speaker twisting a charged word to his purposes.

-Greg
According to your definition the RAF we had in Germany in the 70s and 80s wouldn't be a terrorist organization because they mainly targeted politicians, army personell and bankers who financed the military state (in their view).
 

Old 12-14-2013   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mfogiel View Post
"Terrorism is the systematic use of violence (terror) as a means of coercion for political purposes."
While ultimately, terrorists are only those, who use violence WHILE NOT HOLDING POWER, it is the violence itself that defines terrorism best.
This idea, which is today a widely held view, is simply part of the current ideological distortion.

The earliest uses of the of the word "terror" in relation to public events was during The Terror (1794) in France during the Jacobinist period of the French Revolution. "Terror" originally refers *exclusively* to the violence exercised by a State upon its people. Modern states, it will be remembered, are precisely defined by holding a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence. Hence, the original source of "terrorism" is the modern State.

Today the common definition of terrorism has been completely reversed. Now it seems that "terrorism" is never applied to States, but only and exclusively to non-State actors. This appears to make sense until we begin to look more closely at the transformations that have been occurring to States since the process of "globalization" began several decades ago. In fact, States have been progressively privatized and corporatized, leading to a situation today that is very much the reflection of that old Marxist dictum, "the State is always a state of class." Class, however, in a globalized era, isn't just something that happens inside a country; class is also a process that occurs on a global scale. Once we begin to look at the connections between economy and politics on a global scale, it becomes clear that State terrorism, which often goes cynically by the name of humanitarian intervention, is still very much alive and well. (Check out Christiane Vollaire, L'humanitaire le coeur de la guerre [Humanitarianism, the heart of war]).

People who talk only about "the terrorists" (such as Al Qaida, The Base Organization) yet forget about State Terror (such as drones, or 'copter attacks on children) and the extremely manipulative big money interests behind it are simply repeating the ideology of the current Reign of Terror.

But at least we should not suppress history and distort the definition of political terror.
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Old 12-15-2013   #27
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Well I see it as
Terrorism uses Violence , Brutality & Intimidation as a means of Excercising Political Will and Idealogy

Generally speaking Acts against Government policies using Violence would make One a Revolutionary though I suppose In Todays World a more Modern Day term would be a 'Terrorist''

A Government against the People using Violence makes for a Dictatorship

In either case its not a pretty Picture...

As for Examples its easy tp Find...look at Every Uprising, Every War and there You see the Courage of those holding a Camera and Documenting the Event....that the Truth be known
... love the new avatar Helen
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Old 12-15-2013   #28
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This idea, which is today a widely held view, is simply part of the current ideological distortion.

EDIT

People who talk only about "the terrorists" (such as Al Qaida, The Base Organization) yet forget about State Terror (such as drones, or 'copter attacks on children) and the extremely manipulative big money interests behind it are simply repeating the ideology of the current Reign of Terror.

But at least we should not suppress history and distort the definition of political terror.
... I think you'll find drone-strikes only create collateral-damage, whereas terrorists randomly kill innocent women and children around the target ... one sees it in the media all the time
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Old 12-15-2013   #29
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Michael Stohl from the University of California, Santa Barbara has been researching terrorism for many years, and in attempting to get a grasp on a more comprehensive definition, he identifies ten myths of terrorism.

1. Political terrorism is exclusively the activity of non-governmental actors.
2. All terrorists are madmen.
3. All terrorists are criminals.
4. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
5. All insurgent violence is political terrorism.
6. The purpose of terrorism is the production of chaos.
7. Governments always oppose non-governmental terrorism.
8. Political terrorism is exclusively a problem relating to internal political conditions.
9. Devil theories of cause: The source of contemporary political terrorism may be found in the evil of one or two major actors.
10. Political terrorism is a strategy of futility.

These are, of course, only subtitles and the full article is called "Demystifying Terrorism: The Myths and Realities
of Contemporary Political Terrorism" ( from the book: THE POLITICS OF
TERRORISM, Marcel Dekker, Inc, 1983)
where he says: "Political terrorism is theater. It is profound and often tragic drama for which the world is the stage. Violence, death, intimidation, and fear are the theatrical ingredients. The plot often involves hostages, deadlines, and high-level bargaining. Tension and anxiety levels are immediately raised. National and international news media frequently monitor and broadcast terrorist events as they unfold. Law enforcement officials and sometimes insurgent terrorists are interviewed via on-the-scene minicameras, and speculations abound about the nature of the response that we might expect from both the authorities and the terrorists.
The central ingredients are present in all forms of terrorism, as in the legitimate theater, but only certain plays are given prominent reviews and fewer still become hits. Likewise, only a few actors and directors achieve stardom."

The definition of terrorism is certainly one that will continue to invoke colorful discussions. When trying to get a better grasp on it, it is important to consider economic, social, and historical contexts (amongst other things), as an act of terrorism is rarely a black and white occurrence.

The media plays a huge role in how the public perceives a terrorist act. If we look at the 7/7 London bombings, some outlets framed it as an externally orchestrated act (namely some US outlets alluding to AlQ etc) whereas other outlets framed it as a homegrown threat. The media, therefore acts as one of the principal framing agents, and the particular frame an act of terrorism is presented through has profound societal effects. Depending on how the threats are perceived, communities may be willing to give up social freedoms. Patriot act was very swiftly approved.

In regard to photography, other than embedded photographers covering "insurgent" or opposition fighters in Syria, for example, there doesn't seem to be much work involving more traditional cells such as Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda. This is likely due to difficulty of access and the operational secrecy that surrounds them. Also, you never know, as you're clicking away at a Somali training camp, a quiet little drone may be ready to drop its payload just over your head.
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Old 12-15-2013   #30
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4. One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.
Why is that a myth?
 

Old 12-15-2013   #31
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... I think you'll find drone-strikes only create collateral-damage, whereas terrorists randomly kill innocent women and children around the target ... one sees it in the media all the time
Your definition of "targets" merely favors and legitimizes technological superiority in target identification and acquisition.

Your implicit definition of guilt and innocence favors and legitimizes certain kinds of communities and collectives over others. Why are unarmed women and children living near presumed terrorists any less innocent (or guilty) than US citizens far away from the battlefield actively supporting both DARPA research into drones and biomimicry and US domination of the global economy through the WTO, IMF, and World Bank?

The United States, just to name one particularly egregious State, has an historically proven track-record of targeting non-combatant civilian populations, then claiming those populations to be guilty by association, hence legitimate targets. I'm surprised people still fall for that old ploy.
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Old 12-15-2013   #32
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This is an interesting concept. I think that when that happens, i.e. a government/military targets civilians for shock value, it is definitely viewed by others as wrong. Is it terrorism?

I think Sanmich made it more clear by defining a "terrorist" as non-governmental.

-Greg
By practical definition, Sanmich is correct, terrorism is carried out by underground or subnational groups and is not the work of a formal government. Though a subnational group may consider itself and even operate as a government within and apart from a larger national government.

This point is key in the definition, along with the points of targeting non-combatants, and seeking as large an audience as possible, all carried for the sake of influencing political policies.

But since it is a word that carries such strong emotions and induces such fear in average people, it gets perverted to other uses. So we see it used so loosely that is in danger of losing any useful meaning. For example:
  • calling a nation that refuses to adhere to international norms, laws or treaties a "terrorist nation" rather than the more appropriate rogue or outlaw nation.
  • states like Texas passing laws against "terrorist threats" that include any any threat against persons or property that causes a reaction of any type by an official agency. This attempts to help prosecutions by creating the false equivalency of someone who makes a localized threat for any purpose with true organized terror groups
  • people who claim that revolutionaries - including American colonists against England were terrorists just because they were rebelling against the status quo - without the intentional targeting of non-combatants with the intent of striking fear into the populace.
  • declaring any people of group you disagree with terrorist - such as the case of the linked video above of US officials' statements after /11.

ADDED: in deference to Jon's discussion of the roots of the term with regard to political violence, I am speaking about the current or modern usage of the term from the research/academic perspective. Many words have evolved from their origins; all definitions have to start or end somewhere and it serves no meaningful purpose to expand the use of the term terrorism to include such equally heinous acts as war crimes, or genocide, etc.
 

Old 12-15-2013   #33
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Interestingly the word was first used for terror coming from the official state. La terreur in the french revolution. Madame Laguillotine was part of it the word was coined by Robespierre the funny thing was that the terreur was implented after the storm of the bastille and other prisons where the prisoners were literally torn to shreds by the revolutionists. Robespierre became disgusted by those acts started the terreur to stop those acts.

In the late 60's and 70's there were plenty of images from terrorists the RAF, the Brigate Rosso, Carlos. The RAF for example had a lot of the public behind them when they started, because they didn't target "innocents" but bankers, leading Prosecutors etc... after a while though they went over the top and the tide turned against them. The same with the Brigate Rosso. Veronika Becker (former RAF) has been prosecuted again resulting in new pictures, plenty of former members of the BR are getting hunted down by the police 40 years after the deed. In short the hunt for the red terrorists has a renaissance. I do not condone their acts but I find it interesting that they waited nearly 40 years to do something must be the political climate which is neo-liberal to boot and probably fears a renaissance of left wing terrorism against Bankers and members of the political caste.

I liked the IRA example because the IRA justified their acts by saying that they are a reaction to the state terrorism done by the Brits (and yes they did plenty of it)

The Government can be terrorists or support terrorism the US did it, the Russians did it, the British, French and every other western country did it.
States supporting terrorism are not only based in the middle east but mostly in the west. Each drone attack that kills an innocent creates a hundred terrorists.

The biggest hypocrite in this case truly is the US Government not the people, after September 11th Somalia was bombed, Jemen was bombed, Afghanistan was bombed, Iraq was bombed but the one country that supported these terrorists and was home to these terrorists was not bombed Saudi Arabia which is a terrorist nation human rights nil, you don't pray you get caned, you are a weatherman and can predict the weather you are witch so let's behead you, you want to celebrate christmans death penalty or long imprisonment. BTW Iran under the Shah was not much better for the population than Iran under the Mullahs and compared to Saudi Arabia Iran is an enlighted state.

Seriously the Governments are the biggest terrorists in history, by their acts they create more terrorists that have to be fought. The war against terrorism is a money making machine because it can never end they way it is fought with weapons and acts of terrorism.
 

Old 12-15-2013   #34
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Your definition of "targets" merely favors and legitimizes technological superiority in target identification and acquisition.

Your implicit definition of guilt and innocence favors and legitimizes certain kinds of communities and collectives over others. Why are unarmed women and children living near presumed terrorists any less innocent (or guilty) than US citizens far away from the battlefield actively supporting both DARPA research into drones and biomimicry and US domination of the global economy through the WTO, IMF, and World Bank?

The United States, just to name one particularly egregious State, has an historically proven track-record of targeting non-combatant civilian populations, then claiming those populations to be guilty by association, hence legitimate targets. I'm surprised people still fall for that old ploy.
Sorry, I was attempting satire ... clearly if they were Pashtun drones flown from the Pakhtunkhwa and bombing Surrey they would be reported differently I expect
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Old 12-15-2013   #35
DominikDUK
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BTW the great Nelson Mandela was a terrorist, David Cameron the current British PM said so in the 1980's so did a lot of other governments that were present at his funeral. As I said hypocrites.

As a side note why is de Klerk never mentioned in relation to the end of Apartheid he freed Mandela and ended Apartheid after all. He also received the Nobel Peace Prize together with Mandela for ending the Apartheid. That's just something I never understood they are both great men, one had to fight against oppression and the other had to jump over his own shadow.
 

Old 12-15-2013   #36
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Since this is a photography forum Terrorism can be depicted by it's aftermath like September 11th, those photographs have become symbols for terroristic acts and are used for propaganda look what they did we have to fight them from one side, and look what we did from the other side. The can also be used a rememberance to mourn the victims of september 11th. Photography is a very difficult position as it can used for good or bad the only good use in case of sept 11th is to use them as memories and mourn the victims the rest is propaganda that causes more victim and does no good to anybody.
This relates to all images of terrorism not only to those of sept. 11th, let's use them to help us remember the victims not to cause wars or vengeance. If we can't stop the circle of violence the killing by both sides will never stop. Arab terrorism has it's reason it's not only islam vs but often you killed my brother or insert other family member and now I want my vengeance.
 

Old 12-15-2013   #37
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A couple of observations.

1) Mass aerial bombings of civilian populations was pioneered in WWI by the German Zeppelin campaign against England, but perfected in WWII by the Allies. USAF doctrine since is pretty much built around mass slaughter of non-combatants, which should be an international war crime were the US not on the UN Security Counsel.

2) "Terrorist" is a political term, not a military term. Post-9/11, the term is often used in the US not to define the actions of the perpetrators (i.e. targeting of civilians for political purposes) but to permit State resources to be concentrated on prosecution by means otherwise outside the pervue of constitutional provision; i.e. targetted assassinations, rendition & torture, purposeful avoidance of due process. The word terrorism, when applied, is a legal term that opens a floodgate of additional State power upon a situation. In that context, it is very much state-sponsored.

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Old 12-15-2013   #38
SimonSawSunlight
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it seems that nobody calls him-/herself a terrorist. maybe the actions of those that we want to call terrorists define our term of terrorism. it is indeed a term for the "other".

for instance:
http://www.latimes.com/world/worldno...#axzz2nY3RGL71 (sorry that it's the US, and a drone on top of it all, it was the most recent and suiting example i could find.)
i am quite sure that relatives and others somehow related to the victim would be likely to regard this event as an act of terrorism?
 

Old 12-15-2013   #39
bonatto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SimonSawSunlight View Post
would be likely to regard this event as an act of terrorism?
That's assuming "terrorism" is even part of their vernacular. Would be interesting to know how they refer to it outside official channels.
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Old 12-15-2013   #40
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Mandela did say in his autobiography he had made a conscious decision to become a saboteur, and he wasn't even French
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