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gil troy

That’s what Gil Troy calls them in an op-ed piece in today’s Gazette (link requires subscription):

What happens when a terrorist organization decides to enter the political arena? Does it automatically become legitimate?

[ . . . ]

The truth is that terrorists by definition have entered the political arena from the start because terrorism is violence with a political agenda. Without the political context, bombing, kidnapping, and shooting are simply crimes. Terrorism, like war, is politics by other means, an extension of politics when negotiation or discussion break down – or never existed.

The questions also are misleading because we have discovered that the world’s commitment to morality and justice is relative: It varies depending on the players involved. Especially when it comes to the Middle East, the world’s moral clarity gets muddy, the moral compass goes haywire.

[ . . . ]

We cannot be fooled by [Hizbollah] or by Hamas. Terrorists in suits and ties remain cold-blooded killers.

Terrorist organizations have a history of trying to “go legit” while still maintaining their original violent purposes. But Gil Troy’s argument cuts both ways: if a terrorist in a suit and tie is just a terrorist, then how is a democratically-elected terrorist preferable to dictatorship? If a society gets the leadership it deserves, then shouldn’t we let democracy unfold?

That doesn’t mean, of course, that any other government – Israel included – should be forced to deal with them.

What about what’s happening in Egypt, where the first hints of democracy have yielded a corrupt election where there are no clear “good guys”, because the people being prevented from voting and running were associated with the ultra-fanatic Muslim Brotherhood? What is the preferable outcome – a fair and impartial election of terrorists, or an “election” of so-called moderates thanks to rigging and intimidation? As it happened, we had a rigged election of terrorists, so it’s almost the worst of both worlds. But how does that fit in with the theory that we ought to push for democratic reforms in the Middle East?

One thing is for certain: As long the world continues to reward terrorists by giving them legitimacy in political arenas, terrorism will continue to thrive.


In a scathing opinion piece in today’s Gazette, McGill profs Reuven Brenner and Gil Troy tear apart academia:

We don’t have today a “free marketplace of ideas” – not by any stretch of the imagination. What we have is a heavily subsidized production of “obscure jargons” – much noise, that is – with academics carving out, then jealously guarding, their turf.

Pompous wording, circuitous sentences and flaccid prose protect prerogatives and bamboozle students with buzz-words, elaborate models and unverifiable theories, leaving a trail of confusion that mediocre followers – in academia, media and politics, too – either mistake for profundity or just misuse when convenient.

I think that’s a little harsh. There are some very good professors out there, and I took more than my share of excellent, thought-provoking classes.

But Brenner and Troy aren’t attacking individual professors so much as the entire system of academia. And here, they aren’t too far off the mark. While their analysis is more bleak than anything, there is no denying that academia can be full of narrow-minded people who are oftentimes out of touch with reality. The overuse of jargon should be obvious to any first-year arts student. Too many professors have voiced concerns about the sacred cow of “publish or perish” being replaced by “toe the line or you’re out”. If your opinions are unfashionable, you’ll have precious little success finding a position anywhere.

I’d like to say things are getting better, but it seems that they are getting worse. Too many classes, instead of teaching students to become independent thinkers, instead require regurgitation of the professor’s ideas. It’s obvious this can lead nowhere positive, and maybe some soul-searching in academics is long overdue.


Good terrorists or bad terrorists?


Once again, Gil Troy gets it right when he claims that there are no “good” or “bad” terrorists; they’re all “bad” terrorists: Of course, terrorism was supposed to be aimed at “legitimate” targets – Israeli kids munching pizza, American secretaries booting word processors, Australian teenagers bogeying in a nightclub. By exporting terror, the Saudi kingdom […]

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Bastards? Think again.


Gil Troy wrote an opinion piece in today’s Gazette about MP Carolyn Parrish’s infamous reference to Americans as “those bastards”. Since it didn’t make it to the online version, I’ve transcribed excerpts below: Liberal MP Carolyn Parrish’s admission that she “can’t even guarantee” she would not repeat her anti-U.S. remarks is refreshing. Considering the thoughtless […]

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