Ludo De Brabander
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“We don’t talk to terrorists”

The international terrorist lists and their consequences for conflict resolution.

Seminar Thursday, 3rd of December 2009 13:00-16:00 Ghent University, Academieraadzaal, Volderstraat 9, Ghent (Belgium The principle that countries do not negotiate with terrorists is practically accepted as dogma. The appellation of terrorist thus has an extremely delegitimizing impact on whatever political cause the terrorist group purports to represent.

 "(Joanne Mariner, Human Rights Watch, 2002) Since 9/11 a Global War on Terror has been on stage. Many organizations were – against this background of securitization – enlisted as ‘international terrorist organizations’. A good thing, so it appeared: few people would endorse organizations that commit attacks on innocent civilians. The anti-terror lists were soon to become subject of controversy though. Several political movements found themselves labeled as ‘terrorists’. However, often these have a clear political project and represent a great number of people that have remained excluded from the political arena. Governments, in particular in the Middle East, benefit from defining groups that threaten to undermine their political power as ‘terrorists’. With terrorists one does not need to dialogue. This particular categorization thus delegitimizes these movements and very often, that is particular what is sought. The terrorist label is not an innocent instrument. It’s impact is felt in the daily lives of many thousands of people. For more than two years the people of Gaza, living in ‘Hamas-controlled territory’, have suffered the consequences of a blockage and an international political isolation. In Afghanistan the military anti-terror war strategies vis-à-vis the Taliban still haven’t brought any solution and the number of deaths is rising. In Turkey, the current ‘peace initiative’ of the government risks to remain stillborn as the political recognition of the Kurdish movement continues a taboo. On many occasions violent conflict continued as the terrorist label ran negotiated solutions with governments and international actors impossible. The question then is if the terrorist lists are not creating more problems than they actually seek to solve? In this seminar we will give the floor to prominent guests who all have their own particular answers to these urgent questions. The language of the seminar will be English. There is no translation foreseen. Program Welcome and introduction by Ludo De Brabander, vzw Vrede The anti-terror policy and the European Union by Thomas Baekelandt (Belgian Anti-Terror Coordinator) The ‘crusade’ against terrorism and its consequences for the ‘Greater Middle East’ by Jef Lambrecht (VRT-Journalist en author of 'De heilige Wereldoorlog' / ‘The Holy World War’) The War on Terror and its consequences for political protest and conflict resolution by Mark Muller QC (Chair of the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales and the Kurdish Human Rights Project) Terrorist lists and the criminalization of resistance by Liz Fekete (Deputy Director of the Institute of Race Relations in London and author of A Suitable Enemy: Racism, Migration and Islamophobia in Europe) 14u55-15u30 Paneldiscussion 15u30-16u00 Questions and Answers Free Entrance Vrede vzw, Filips van Arteveldestraat 35, 9000 Gent – vrede@vrede.be> – 09/233.46.88 11.11.11. – Umbrella of the Flemish North-South Movement, Middle East and North Africa Research Group/MENARG and Vrede vzw.

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