A perspective on terrorism


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Terrorism: The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims. Terrorism is a real danger in our modern society and has been for longer than most suspect.

One of the earliest terrorist groups were The Sicarii, a Jewish group who murdered enemies in their campaign to overthrow Roman rulers in Judea. This however dates back to 13 B.C.E. Skipping a few centuries, we hit The Reign of Terror in France where the use of terror was the driving force of power in that time. Robespierre, the leader of France during this time period stated,

“Terror is only justice: prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue…” Robespierre was also responsible for the deaths of 40,00 people during his time in power. Of course there were several other time periods upon which dictator/ leaders used terror such as The Russian Revolution, where the Russian Government sponsored terrorism and used it to maintain power and control an entire population, Hitler and his reign during the Holocaust, and the communist leader of China Mao Zedong.

The question now to be asked: how does this relate to modern terrorism? The simple answer: everything. With the rise of Muslim extremists, the world has seen some of the single largest terrorist attacks ever to be recorded. 9/11 being the one of our generation, and an attack that will be engraved in our history forever.

The follow up question: why is this being brought up when the entire American population is already aware of these facts and events? The not so simple answer being that societies paint brush has created a portrait of what a terrorist is in our minds. It’s been given a religion, a color, certain characteristics, a general area, and even a language. The stereotype of the word terrorist has been created, even though acts of terrorism have been occurring throughout the world for several hundreds of years. This has caused fear within the middle eastern and Muslim community, as they have been abused because of their appearance and/or religion.Terrorism can and has been happening all over the world involving several different organizations.

Between 2001 and 2003, the FBI reported a 1,700 percent increase in hate crimes against Muslims. Ignorance has been portrayed even within our government.

“If I see someone come in and he’s got a diaper on his head, that guy needs to be pulled over and checked,” said Representative John Cooksey after the September 11th attacks.

Racism against Muslims isn’t a problem only in the US but also in other parts of the world such as the U.K. Hate crimes towards Muslims in Britain has skyrocketed during the course of 2013. Mohammed Saleem, an 82 year old man was stabbed and killed after leaving a local mosque, and his attacker also placed three bombs outside of the Mosque. “But younger Muslims, like Sameera Hussain, 19, a student who wears a headscarf, said she sometimes got insulting or aggressive comments when she traveled outside her community, things like, ‘We’ll take your scarf and wrap it around your neck,” from New York Times article ‘As hate crimes rise, British Muslims say they are becoming more insular’

The power given to the word terrorist all comes from what society and the media has portrayed for what the stereotypical terrorist is and looks like.

Terrorism is also a perspective from who is terrorizing whom. A 12 year old Iraqi boy is with his father at home eating breakfast. Troops barge in, fire shots, and take the father claiming he is responsible for terrorist actions. In the 12 year old Iraqi boys mind, who are the terrorists? A nuclear bomb is dropped on Hiroshima. To those Japanese who survived in the rubble, was this not an act of terrorism? Slave owners to the slaves, Nazis to the Jews, Soldiers to the refugees, are the oppressed not feeling like they are being terrorized by the oppressors?