The 9/11 attacks and US-led ‘war on terror’ have changed our perception of terrorism.

Since 2001, many have come to associate terrorist acts with radical Islam. But terrorism, as a tactic, has been around for a very long time.

I was labelled a terrorist. The organisation I was part of, the IRA, was labelled a terrorist organisation.

Martin McGuinness,

During the conflict in Northern Ireland, the Irish Republican Army (IRA) was branded a terrorist organisation by the British government. The Republican fighters, however, saw themselves as a legitimate army fighting against the British occupation. It was a classic case of ‘one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’.

In this episode of Head to Head , Mehdi Hasan challenges Martin McGuinness, the elected deputy first minister of Northern Ireland and a former commander of the IRA, on his violent past; on why he sees himself as a man of peace; and on whether the Northern Irish Peace Process has lessons for other conflicts around the world.

McGuinness also argues for the importance of negotiations and talking to the enemy as the most effective way of ending conflict.

So, is violence ever justified? And when is it time to speak to the enemy?

Joining our discussion are: Professor Louise Richardson, a global terrorism expert and vice chancellor of St. Andrews University; Dr. Azzam Tamimi, the author of Hamas: A History from Within , and Charlie Wolf, an American political commentator. 

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Source: Al Jazeera