Definir el terrorismo

Cada era tiene sus enemigos. A mediados del siglo XX, los fascistas eran los malos. Después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, los comunistas se convirtieron en la némesis de la civilización. Ahora, los terroristas son los amos de la maldad. La palabra "terrorismo" aparece en códigos legales de todo el mundo. Se aplican diversas sanciones civiles a las "organizaciones terroristas", y puede ser un delito darle ayuda a alguna.

Pero no siempre es fácil determinar quiénes son "ellos", los terroristas. El que las organizaciones sean o no consideradas terroristas es en gran medida una determinación motivada por la política. La ONU constantemente aprueba resoluciones en contra del terrorismo, pero no hay acuerdos sobre cómo definir el término.

Las definiciones oficiales del terrorismo son poco persuasivas. Por ejemplo, en la definición del congreso de los EU, el terrorismo incluye la motivación de coaccionar o intimidar a una población o influenciar a un gobierno. Pero esa fórmula no cubre con claridad ni siquiera los ataques terroristas de septiembre de 2001. Si la motivación de los secuestradores de los aviones era simplemente matar infieles, sus acciones quedarían fuera de la definición del congreso.

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