Last night I watched The Rock. The movie has Nicholas Cage, Sean Connery and Ed Harris... all three great actors. Ed Harris plays the role of a disgruntled General in the US Army demanding compensation for the soldiers who lost their lives in covert operations round the world under his command - he does so holding 81 people hostage on the Alcatraz and threatening to annihilate major US towns with some poisonous gases. Though it is truly an act of terrorism and blackmail, Ed Harris is never a terrorist. He does not intend any benefit for himself, rather it is for those who truly deserve merit and honour. Furthermore, during the course of the movie, he deeply regrets the death of the marines sent in to regain the Alcatraz. The best part is when he changes his plans and decides to leave the island without any of his demands being met, for he realises that he cannot kill innocent people to gain what he thinks is right. Connery too adds this line: He will not launch the rockets, he is not a terrorist, I've seen it in his eyes.
That draws me to ponder as when does not really become a terrorist. It is not when one aspires to do good, even if it means the loss of a few innocent. It is not when one passionately is ready to live and die for a noble cause. It is not when one is willing to risk everything for the sake of others benefit. But if one is willing to hold at stake the life of innocent people, people who have no idea of what his intentions are or what reason they are dying, then he is a terrorist.... however good and noble the cause maybe!
Take for instance, the Sri Lankan-LTTE crisis... whoever be the hero and whoever be the villian, for me, the one who plays with the life of the innocent is the terrorist. (Surprising, The Hindu often has the last page fully dedicated to this crisis, while DC rarely mentions anything about this whole issue - I realise, The Hindu is basically a Chennai based paper and surely the tempers there run very high these days!).