Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Ted Honderich on Terrorism

I watched with interest the Channel 5 programme Don't get me started, where a well-known figure talks about an issue they feel strongly about. This week, it was the philosopher Ted Honderich (Profesor Ted Honderich for the intimates), who talked about the war on terror bla bla bla.

His point was that we had to address the causes of terror, not just terror itself, and the cause is rooted in the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.
Who would have thought? Thanks for that, Ted, we had figured that out before.

As a reminder, Israel was created in 1948 by the Western powers, in some sort of compensation to the Jewish people, victim of the Holocaust, on a land called Palestine. ie a land where people already lived, but we didnt really think about that. So we can imagine the anger of the Palestinian people, having their land taken away, and realising that their fellow Muslims were powerless to regain that land for them. Today, Palestinians still suffer from Israeli domination (checkpoints, the wall etc...) and that can be said to fuel extremism and terrorism among Muslims (the same way Nazi brutal occupation of France fueled the ranks of the Resistance during WWII)

Anyway, 2 interesting points in the programme:

  • One, Honderich presented his principle of Humanity: the principle by which one takes rational actions to prevent people from leading bad lives (ie from being deprived of length of lives, well being, freedom, respect, goods of relationships and satisfactions of culture). (A principle that can be liked to Amartya Sen's view of development as freedom)
  • Two, based on that principle, Honderich said the Palestinians had a moral right to terrorism, since they were being almost ethincally cleansed and had no other means. I am not exactly sure how that goes with the principle of Humanity.

Ha, how I like programmes with interesting and challenging messages nicely presented and argumented, where the trail of thoughts is easily identifiable and things make sense. Well done. Tap on the back Ben, for feeling clever tonight.