My dad is a terrorist.
So, I have just come back from 2 unexpected weeks in South Africa, as my dad was taken ill.
While there I came to the surprising revelation that my father was a terrorist.
This wasn’t due to new information, just a change in the way I think.
Let me describe the scenario to you. We are all sitting in the family room, my 2 year old son is whizzing around, my dad had an afternoon pass from the hospital and was at home, and they were teasing me, telling my dad that my son was a terrorist (Muslim connection of course). Me and my dad often have this witty banter thing going on, so without really thinking I said,
“He must take after his grandfather then” at which point everyone stopped, and looked confused.
“Don’t you know my dad is a terrorist?” This was met with more silence
“Don’t you know he was in prison for passing messages to the ANC and for terrorism!”
at which point the penny dropped, they all laughed and agreed with me that My son must be following his grandfathers footsteps.
But the thing is it really made me think.
My dad is a terrorist.
He left his homeland because he was a terrorist.
And now it is all forgotten, no one is bothered, everyone is glad there were people like him who did the things they needed to do to keep the ANC going and bring an end to the real terrorists which were oppressive regimes.
“One person’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” well finally I grasp the full implications of this statement. I can see it not only from the point of view of someone who is currently viewed as a terrorist by many, who others believe is not, but also from a future viewpoint in which those people tortured for terrorism are now hailed as having been essential for the creation of a new non oppressive state to be created.
I also read a book while I was there. It was about a white girl growing up in Tanzania with a dodgy father. It mentioned ANC training camps and arms deals in East Africa. It made me wonder, was my dad going to a terrorist training camp? was he going with messages of tactics or intel or supplies? Was he going to meet with an arms dealer? I mean he mentioned once when he was arrested the man who was translating for him said don’t worry I am not who you think I am, and later he saw that man in the new ANC government in 1994. But my dad wouldn’t tell me. Like the true politician he kept changing the subject.
Imagine those to day who are considered terrorists who support training camps or do arms deals, what will those in the future think of them?