Terrorism: a Modern Plague
When we talk about terrorism what do we exactly understand? What does it come to our minds? We associate terrorism, obviously, with a cruel, violent and almost illegal action. The aim and main purpose of this essay is to throw some light upon such a subtle argument that becomes even more actual.
Terrorism definition’s according to dictionary is: the systematic use of violence and terror against politic, governments, media or individuals in order to attain political changes. Terrorism also, can be described as violent and dangerous to human life acts, which violate the criminal laws of any state. It can also, indicate the government of a state by using inhuman means.
Usually we regard to terrorism as a contemporary problem afflicting our society. But the truth is that terrorism has existed since ancient times and it just evolved over the years and throughout history in its actual form. Since emperors times terrorism was seen by people as the unique means to obtain what they wanted, and emperors, to prevent it, used frequently banishments or execution against the dissenters. In this day and age the phenomenon has acquired larger and more serious dimensions as technological improvements support it’s expanding and effectiveness by using new- terrible- methods of attacking: new weapons, bombs, explosive material etc.
But what pushes some people to evince their disappointment with violence and terror instead of peaceful and democratic procedures? We only can say for sure that causes can severely differ.
Fanaticism, for instance, in all its forms (religious, political or racial fanaticism) can be a catalytic force conducing to the intensification of the phenomenon. The fixation, the certainty of their opinions infallibility, forces them to impose, these opinions, by any means. Especially the Islamic extremism has no limits and it’s on the rise after American operations in Middle-East countries as Iraq and Afghanistan. Another example that could be mentioned is the diversities, based on religious issues, between Catholics and Protestants taking place in Ireland.
Another cause must be addressed to several injustices endured by autocratic and authoritarian regimes. In that case, terrorism is thought to be the only way to oppose the arbitrariness of government power and the only possible way to overthrow it. Inversely, an autocratic government can exercise its power (illegally by using or threaten violence) against people in order to maintain its position, and its privileges, unalterable. Terrorism, sometimes, can be revealed a useful arm in liberation fights of “minor” nations to obtain their independence and recognition by other states. We surely remember the struggles of Palestinian, Armenian, and many other nations’ fights for liberty.
Moreover, the economical, political and social problems combined with the inefficiency of the government in solving them, augments the rage and the despair of a population that can only react through terrorism. The injustices, inequalities, scandals, the unequal wealth distribution are factors that convince people to react violently to gain respect and full acknowledgment of their civil and human rights over an omnipotent government.
Another serious cause, which cannot be left out, is the loss of ideals and moral. This reality leads to ideological deadlock and the necessity of finding radical solutions becomes even more pressing when there isn’t another way to prevent social tensions. And when these tensions burst out into riots and unrest and the governments seems unable to impose rules and laws to preserve social unity that is when terrorism takes over the situation.
On the other hand, opinions and critics are frequently expressed in favor of terrorism and terroristic organizations. These people assert that, besides all of the negative aspects involved, terrorism is required to solve an urgent problem that failed to be solved with any other approach. Furthermore, terrorists usually defend their absurd actions by claiming to be dedicated to higher causes. That is the main difference between a terrorist and a common criminal. Terrorists, in the vast majority of cases, are convinced of the rightness of their actions and hardly will they admit the opposite.
They refer to causes such as: defense of democracy, equality and meritocracy, re-establishment of justice and finally the punishment of the responsible (that caused nations’ dysfunction) and protection of the civilians.
In fact, history itself proves that violence, in many occasions, was the indispensable means to accelerate and achieve social changes. In this case violence is “justified” by people who assure that without it important achievements would have never been made. The American and French revolutions are bare examples of social changes attainted by using force and violence.
Even if these reasoning are logical and true, is still an indisputable fact that violence (and its extending, terrorism) has never been the solution to each nations’ internal crisis but, on the contrary, these matters sharpened. Another important point we should never forget is that human society differs from animals’ because of the law and the rules we’ve created. But when we behave contravening these rules we equate the animal state, where there is no order or law to prevent us from acting in such a manner. Thinking about it seriously we’ll realize that no violence form is accepted or tolerated by any state, except the violence monopoly of every government so that social stability is guaranteed.
The reality about terrorism is different despite the romantic and gentle depiction presented to the public. They are criminal and illegal acts, strengthened by dodgy ideologies which fanaticize their followers in every way. In the name of these beliefs, terrorists act without ever doubting the exactness and truth of what they take for granted. Their only aim becomes the realization of these beliefs, no matter if they are right and true or fake and invented only for the accomplishment of political ends.
Usually terrorists are indoctrinated and they don’t even question or doubt what they’re told. That’s what makes them extremely dangerous: Trying to impose and accomplish those doctrines they use every form of violence and terror they dispose.
From taking hostages to murder of relevant political, economical or juridical elements, and from abductions to bombing and placing exploding devices in public buildings to catch the media and public attention. There are no rules that can contain them from acting like this. Only rule they know is terror and violence, either psychological or physical. Why do they prefer such methods instead of dialogue, diplomacy and compromises must be searched in their backgrounds and the environment that shaped them. Maybe they were raised under paternalistic regimes and do not completely understand the meaning of liberty, independence, freedom and other values as they’ve never experienced them. This applies especially for the extremist terrorism conducted by Muslims. Now a distinction is essential: the religious Muslim, possibly the fundamentalist believer, is not necessarily a fanatic or a terrorist. But it’s undeniable that Islamism, as religion, includes expansionism elements that enforce extremist ideologies. Characteristic examples are the extremist organizations, based on Islamism, like Hezbollah, Hamas, Al Qaida and others that claim to be fighting for the rights and the liberation of their followers and stalwarts detained in prison. But they are also fighting to spread their religion, the only good and fair, over the infidel West. Despite the entire hypothesis made, and the lack of crashing evidence, still the tragic accident of 9/11 is attributed to the terroristic attacks coordinated by Al Qaida. This can only be an example of the awkwardness of such organizations and the importance attributed to the role of fanaticism.
However, terrorism can assume many other forms beyond the religious and extremist one. Today we confront the threat of biological, chemical and nuclear terrorism and the devastating effects that can be provoked. These new forms of terrorism are likely to be used on the global political scene to intimidate and constrain the head of states to meet the terrorists’ demands with the intention to prevent a complete catastrophe. Particularly, biological terrorism is an uncontrolled type of violence that targets a large number of people or entire sections of population. The existence of microbes, viruses, bacteria and other microorganisms inside research centers, laboratories, universities departments and hospitals is an unquestionable reality. The reason of their existence is the research, the study of these microorganisms in order to find solutions or achieve antidotes against infectious diseases. Despite that, the possibilities to turn against humanity these potentials are as eminent as unproblematic. It’s one of the most dangerous forms of terrorism as it does not know limits or boundaries; it does not reckon population groups and can never be controlled by any law.
The consequences of this phenomenon, terrorism, are multiple and almost tragic.
First of all, the loss of innumerable human lives, that relates to human rights infringement. It’s a symbol of modern barbarism that stains our society. With the increase of terrorism and the government failure in preventing it we face new kind of harms increasing: anxiety, fear and insecurity, lack of confidence in our fellow-men.
What is more, the restraint of citizens’ independence as the government becomes more severe and limits our activities trying to keep under its control the population, as this discomfort seems, until now, the unique way to prevent terrorism.
Unfortunately a situation like this can easily lead to political destabilization.
In addition, we are all aware that the increase of government power can have negative implications worldwide as the world-leaders could find in terrorism the perfect excuse to start war operations against weaker states, and all this in the name of the war on terrorism, overlapping their true objectives of expansionism. Again, we’ll have to mention the wars started by United States against Iraq and Afghanistan in the name of “so-called” war on terrorism. In truth they just wanted to expand their clout and influence in Middle-East taking benefit by the already stretched situation.
But the negative repercussions caused by terrorism don’t stop there. Terrorism can lapse the entire consolidation of society and ruin the external image of a state, showing it as incapable to solve its problems so that people take recourse on violence and terror. It’s more likely this to happen in underdeveloped countries with political instability and then, the internal terrorism is associated with revolutionaries’ forces trying to overthrow or stress the government. Such revolutionary movements are present in Argentina and Nicaragua.
A real burden directly linked with terrorism is also the developing of illegality and black economy phenomena. The illegal arm and drug trade is on the rise, as most terroristic organizations make profit out of that. Thus the country’s tourism is hit and country’s reputation is damaged. Alarming can also be the fact that arm-forces aren’t always prepared or skilled enough to contrast and capture these criminals. If a country is very poor and cannot afford many operating expenses for its defense then it’s condemned to remain at terrorists’ mercy indefinitely.
In conclusion, we fully understand that terrorism is the phenomenon that impedes and obstacles any progression attempted by states. It obstructs democracy and spoils all those values on which democracy was formed: liberty, freedom, respect for human rights, tolerance etc. Terrorism, on the contrary, annihilates every of these values and questions the foundations of democracy itself. The future of terrorism is destined to last and remain an open wound as long as we continue to disdain human life without recognizing its immense importance. But we can all contribute to the effacement
and obliteration of the matter in collaboration with all the available means. Such means are school and educational system, which owes to show much sensibility and accuracy when handling this theme, it must accurately inform about the gravity of the situation and how it can be avoided. Additionally, each terroristic action should be severely condemned by politics and governments. They need to find permanent solutions to this burden by cooperating on international level. If all nations decide to join their forces signing common agreements that condemn terrorism and safeguard civil rights against terroristic attacks, it would be easier to contrast it permanently.
But yet we are too far from wiping out the problem. Many struggles and fights are to be done and the situation becomes even more difficult and complicated day by day.
Nationalism enhances terrorism and new menaces arise as terroristic organizations, in the last years, knew an upsettingly stretching in the West as in the East. We confide that in future all nations together will be able to overcome this like many others obstacles.