Throughout history of this blog, many of you have heard me chime my two cents on the term “terrorist.” In short, I have argued--and quite convincingly if I may add--that it has been redefined in the post 9/11 world as an all encompassing tool to round up various dissidence the U.S. doesn’t like. The term has moved beyond its traditional definition and has evolved into a brand to simplify a complex world.
So what about a "terrorist" organization like Hezbollah? Here is what Augustus Richard Norton, author of Hezbollah, has to say:
Can all of Hezbollah's military activity be classified as terrorism? U.S. and Israeli policy makers certainly think so, and they have defined Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. Anyone supporting Hezbollah is supporting a terrorist group. By definition, any act of violence that it commits or seeks to commit is an act of terrorism, and so there are no gray areas of justifiable behavior in which terrorist may lurk. Whether for law enforcement officials, spies, or soldiers, the issue is assumed to be settled.
Before we go crazy listing Hezbollah's historical acts that would surely deem it to be a traditional terrorist organization, lets take a breath because I'm bringing this up for one simple, slightly cute and certainly ridicules reason: I am going down to Tyre, Lebanon next week and I want to buy a Hezbollah T-shirt
Laugh away Casbahites, I understand how funny this must seem. But really, by buying a Hezbollah T-shirt from a card-carrying member in Tyre, I will technically turn myself into a supporter of a terrorist organization. As Augustus Norton says, "there are no gray areas."
The truth is that I will reluctantly make my $5 tourist contribution for a Hezbollah T-shirt next week and ship it safely back to California, where I will keep it neatly folded in a shoebox in my closet. But what if American custom agents rip through my DHL box and find it? What if they drag me into interrogation upon my return to the U.S? What will I say?
As someone who cringes at the idea of going to Law school, here is a legal satire my friends and I came up with at a famous bar in Beirut last night (The Duke of Wellington):
Well, Sir ... See, Hezbollah has "wings." I mean, ever since the British (earlier this year) decided to legitimize this concept and establish ties to Hezbollah's "political wing" ... I mean Sir.... As far as I know... (pausing for impact).... I don't think the little old ladies who sell knickknacks for Hezbollah's "tourist wing" shoot rockets at Israel. So... Umm... Can I keep my Hezbollah T?
Think the U.S. guard will buy it?