Gordon was the last panel member to speak and he addressed the very
loose definition of terrorism in 19th and 20th century African history.
The late 19th century, he argued that Africans were terrorized by Europeans
in wars of conquest. He also mentioned the 1967 Biafran war and the
1994 Rwandan genocide where 800,000 civilians were killed. None of these
were called terrorist acts even though they perhaps should have been.
They are instead called "rebel army" actions.
He then arrived at the main point of his talk - the ambiguous definition
of which people are terrorists in African history. The African National
Congress, for example, was identified as a terrorist group at one point
by the apartheid South African government. Dr. Gordon then stated that
there is a relative definition of terrorism in Africa - what one person
sees as a terrorist another person can see as a freedom fighter. The
term "terrorism" was used to label small groups of individuals with
more or less power than the government. These groups would use hit-and-run
tactics against the military or citizens. "Terrorists" was a label used
for Africans fighting colonial powers. He concludes by stating that
terrorism has certain meanings in African history that will linger as
the United States fights a war against terrorism.
After each of the panel participants had spoken, the floor was opened
up for questions from the audience. The first question concerned the
definition of terrorism, upon which Dr. Herf reasserted his definition
of the attempted or actual murder of any non-military person for a political
purpose. The next question concerned whether the United States