For thirty years, Nelson Mandela was imprisoned as a "terrorist", a notion supported at the time by many Western governments, most infamously Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, but today is venerated as the man who brought South Africa to democracy. As oft been quoted, "One person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter". Terrorism has traditionally been defined in distinction from armed struggle, which does not target civilians, by oppressed or colonized peoples in situations where avenues for political negotiations have been closed by the ruling forces. The 'War on Terrorism' today is in danger of making no such distinctions, with profound implications not only for political and civil liberties here and elsewhere, particularly of Moslems, but indeed for peace negotiations and conflict resolution in many parts of the world - from Colombia, to Palestine, the Philippines. The EU has recently appointed a Dutch politican, Gijs de Vries to serve as its first anti-terrorism coordinator. What is his perspective? The EU Accord on countering terrorism was introduced in March, what are the implications for civil and political liberties in Europe? Is The Netherlands under threat from terrorism? What is a progressive response to terrorism? These are some of the issues we will be grappling with at this public discussion. TNI brings to Amsterdam three eminent people from parts of the world directly affected by armed conflict and who have thought through these issues. They hope to discuss their experiences and ideas with you.
Speakers: - Achin Vanaik, Indian journalist/author, Asian Peace Alliance; - Jochen Hippler, Peace and Development Studies Centre, University of Duisberg, Germany; - Praful Bidwai, specialist on religion and conflict in the South Asian context, journalist/author, Asian Peace Alliance, India; Chair: Kees Biekart, International expert, Senior Lecturer in Political Sociology at the Institute of Social Studies, The Netherlands.