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The Meaning Of ‘Terrorism’

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Prime Minister Tony Abbott is eager to amp up the terrorism threat, putting Australians at greater risk (Image via Mark Di Stefano ‏/ @MarkDiStef)

Under the Abbott Government, it is hard to work out  what "terrorism" actually is, writes Bob Ellis.

WIFE-BEATING IS TERRORISM. Fast bowling is terrorism. School bullying is terrorism. Taking away the child of a drug-addicted mother, or threatening to, is terrorism.

Shock and Awe, by definition, was terrorism. Drone strikes on hill villages in Pakistan is terrorism.

Buggering children on Nauru, or  threatening to, is terrorism. Trading blow-jobs for hot showers is terrorism. Threatening gaol for those who report these things is terrorism.

Most episodes of Underbelly have involved, or included, terrorism. The men who collect money owed to Crown Casino are terrorists. Landlords who raise rents and threaten eviction are terrorists. Most bikies are, at least, part-time terrorists. Ask any town they’ve briefly dominated.

Is it a useful word? Well, to bully-politicians like Abbott or Bush, of course it is. It provides a bogeyman – a nameless bogeyman, a Great Satan – to rail against. Who is the head of DAESH? We are not told. He is a many-tentacled "terrorist" — a bogeyman.

"Terrorism" is no more than the way war is now and, in the medieval world, and before then, always was. There were border raids, kidnaps, ransoms. There were pogroms and massacres of Jews. It is the way things have always been.

Slowly, this is becoming plain.

When Abbott said: "as far as the Daesh death cult is concerned, it’s coming after us," it was clear he was exaggerating. It is clear he was trying to mess with our minds.

Because the figures are against it. No Australian has died by "terrorism" for a 100 years and 202 days, since the Battle of Broken Hill. If you add in Man Monis and the Hilton Bombing, the number is three. There have been three wives beaten to death in this last fortnight.

Three cricketers killed by fast bowling in this last year. Five hundred children school-bullied in this past hour.

It is a Big Lie if there ever was one, like the "evil jew" that was simultaneously a Communist menace and a capitalist devil. It serves Tony Abbott, of course it does, as long as it is believed.

But that belief is depleting, as belief in anything he says is disintegrating.

If Turnbull goes on Q&A, Abbott is finished. Even if he does not, Abbott's days are numbered.

And so it goes.

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