There are certain questions that no number of PhDs nor years ensconced between the leaves of books can sate.
Today my best tutorial group was in pensive mode and as the post-presentation activity languished untouched, the following poured forth:
When is a genocide a genocide?
What is the difference between a terrorist, a militant, a guerilla and a freedom fighter?
Why are the Palestinians classed as ‘terrorists’ and the Israelis not?
Why is one or two Israeli lives equivalent to hundreds of Palestinians?
Why is Deir Yassin not classed as a genocide or an act of terror?
What is the difference between an act of terror and a genocide?
And, asked with utmost sincerity:
Will you mark me down if I called Palestinians ‘terrorists’ in my essay?
The questions are so grave that my involuntary nervous tic of smirking was unavoidable.
How can we decide what makes a genocide and what makes a massacre?
How do you decide whether someone’s cause is more justified than that of another?
It is not possible to capture such issues within a definitive framework.
A framework – yes.