Terrorism is a major cause of fear, anxiety, and destruction all over the world, in countries like India, Pakistan, USA, UK, France, China, and Spain. How can we get rid of terrorism?
Can anyone ever get used to terrorism? No, it is always a traumatic event for the people involved.
A survey, funded by the National Center for Food Protection and Defense, conducted over the Internet by TNS-NFO 2005 among 4,260 U.S. residents over the age of sixteen found that 98 percent of U.S. residents believed there will be another terrorist attack during their lifetime.
What is Terrorism?
There is no universally valid common definition of terrorism. Terrorism is commonly understood as a systematic use of terror for ideological goals, especially targeted at civilians (non-combatants). If anyone uses terror for making profits or snatching other people’s possessions, it’s robbery, piracy etc and not terrorism.
The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, in response to 9/11 attacks on the USA unanimously imposed on all members that all members shall not finance, support terrorists or provide safe havens for them. Most countries, especially those that have suffered from terrorism, have some form of legislation specifically authorizing anti-terrorism measures.
Criticism of Terrorism Definitions
There is much debate about the definition of terrorism and what is considered lawful response. Historically, the main argument against terrorism is the unlawful use of violence. Depending on the point of view, unlawful violence has been used for centuries by many nation states to further their own commercial, political ends and further their hegemony ambitions as well as destabilize or delegitimize political opponents. Thus, nation states themselves can be seen as becoming guilty of practising the same crimes they accuse the terrorists of doing.
Further, the response to terrorist attacks seldom addresses issues that produced terrorism in the first place. Significantly, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 does not require nation state members to investigate the reasons, which produce these horrendous acts of violence.
Most of the known terrorists today are networks. Some are home grown inside nation states, with or without support from powerful groups inside that nation state or with external support even from other nation states. Many are loose international movements functioning as autonomous cells with sophisticated support and functional systems.
Terrorists Can Become Good Guys
There are many notable instances of people called terrorists by others abandoning violence and actually becoming peacemakers.
In 1947, the New York Times describe Irgun, the militant Zionist group fighting against the British occupation, as a terrorist organisation after the King David Hotel bombing in 1946, which killed 91 people. Eventually, their leader Menachem Begin became the prime minister of Israel and won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978.
Nelson Mandela, another Nobel Prize winner respected all over the world today, could enter the UN only in July 2008 after being taken off the US list of terrorists by President Bush.
Samuel Adams, one of the leaders of the 1773 Boston Tea Party, a terrorist from the British government perspective, is respected as the “Father of the American Revolution”.
Wikipedia Approach to Terrorism
Terrorism machinators have now adopted a Wikipedia approach, where planners rely on users (media, terrorism analysis industry and media users) for maintaining and contributing to their aims of spreading terror.
The masterminds behind the recent November 26,2008 Mumbai attacks have understood how important their terrible actions are for a terrorism-hungry media, a terrorism analysis industry, local politicians and power groups eager to capitalise on the event.
By showing their faces on CCTV cameras, the terrorists assumed that their images would be broadcast all over the world, and they were. The media response has been a guarantee of instant fame (notoriety) for the perpetrators.
A few days ago the news of the British terror suspect Rashid Rauf being killed in a US drone attack in North Waziristan was spread in global media along with his picture and biographic profile on major media sources.
Do these incidents reveal a new culture of instant attention and fame? Is it the same psychology driving people to take part in programmes like reality shows, Idols and Big Brother? Are we experiencing celebrity terrorism? The psychology behind their recruitment is fame, which they would never get otherwise.
The machinators have understood this emptiness in the inner lives of the young men and fill them with hatred and commands for doing terrible violence.
A Different Solution to Terrorism
The standard response to terrorism has been to fortify borders. Well, can we have a fortress USA, a fortress UK, China or India in this contemporary world of globalization, transparency, and interdependence?
What about seriously directing efforts and a part of these hundreds of billions spent on anti-terrorism wars etc., at creating social, educational, and entrepreneurial structures that would give create jobs for young men in areas where terrorism originates?
Would making roads, building houses, schools, hospitals, and energy production facilities for the local people drive most of the young angry men away from the clutches of the evil machinators?
Surely, it would boost the struggling economies of the developed world by giving jobs to their workers too.