This week I read a blogger questioning whether or not Hezbollah meets the definition of a terrorist organization. I am not referring to a fringe anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist crazy either. I am referring to a recent blog entry posted by CNN correspondent, Tom Foreman, on Anderson Cooper’s blog this week.
Foreman pondered the question of how a terrorist should be defined by a news agency.
“What makes a terrorist?
I don't mean why do people starting bombing, and shooting and fighting from the shadows. I mean, for the purposes of news organizations defining terrorism, what should the definition be?
The United States and others clearly call Hezbollah a terrorist group: The source of countless raids, bombings and attacks on Israel; the bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut in 1983, which left 241 people dead; and the architects of all those displays in which young men cover their faces, strap mock bombs to their chests, and parade before the cameras pledging to kill any and all soldiers and civilians alike who oppose their cause.
All this makes Hezbollah, especially for many westerners, the very definition of a terrorist group.
But some people describe another part of Hezbollah. They talk about a group that is beloved in southern Lebanon for running schools, hospitals, social services, even clearing snow in the winter for some communities that the official government of Lebanon does not serve. They say these things make Hezbollah something other than a terrorist group: A quasi-government; a nation within a nation.
All of this is done for Shiite Muslim families. The Shiites in Lebanon have long felt economically and politically deprived, and Hezbollah clearly gives many of them a feeling of both military and social strength.
So for one side, Hezbollah is a killing machine bent on seizing by terror what it wants from the world; for the other side, Hezbollah is a brave force, fighting for the rights of its people.
So what should the standard be? If you ran a newsroom, how would you define who is called a terrorist and who is not? What, for you, is Hezbollah?”