Terrorism, an issue that plagues our world every minute of every day. You never know when or where a terrorist organization is going to strike. The point is that all terroristic groups have their own reasons to act violently. While some of them have political or religious reasons, the others are driven by hatred only.
One of the most interesting facts about terrorism is that, according to the FBI, there is not particular, generally accepted definition of it. However, the federal code of the United States of American defines terrorism as the illegal use of violence and force against human beings or their property in order to threaten them for certain political or social objectives.
The roots of terrorism are believed to have started in 1007 A.D. Hassan ben Sabbah born in Qom (Iran) was an Ishmaili Muslim and opposed all other Muslim groups except for the Ishmailis. He is believed to be the father of terrorism. Ben Sabbah’s actions had started a whole new trend; people began to follow his actions and started to form terrorist organizations. Terrorism started back then, and its motives and tactics have continued to evolve through the reign of Stalin and Lenin in the Soviet Union and Mao Tse-tung in China. Many people consider what Hitler did in Germany to be terrorism, and when you actually think about it, it makes sense.
As we’ve mentioned before, there is no particular definition of this issue. However, when you define terrorism, most definitions say that it is the act of violence and/or intimidation to achieve some level of power and control. As for the definition of a terrorist, it is a person that employs terror or terrorism as a political weapon. And when you think about that definition, it pretty much fits Hitler. He wanted to create a society that would fit his personal political agenda. Of course, the examples are taken from world history, but what about the United States? Do we have terrorism in our own country committed by our citizens? Of course, we do. Just take the Oklahoma City Bombing, for example. Timothy McVeigh, out for himself and his own political agenda. The first act of terrorism recorded in the US was in 1622, and it committed by Indians when they massacred the people in settlement of Jamestown. Contrary to what people think, terrorism is the problem that is present everywhere, not just in the Middle East.
People think that there is such a thing as the “typical terrorist,” but there really isn’t. I guess it could be said that terrorists are stereotyped in many ways. Many people believe that terrorists in the Middle East are either Muslims or Islamic. However, it is not true either. Just because a person comes from a particular region of the world, it does not mean s/he is a terrorist. But the reality is that even the person that lives next door to you may be a terrorist. But to understand what terrorism is, you must first understand its causes – the motivation to commit these acts of violence.
First, at the government level, states may use terrorism against their own people or other nations for several reasons. One state may wish to force its message of ideology, politics, or religion upon people or other nations. The other country may use terrorism in order to eliminate dissent among the population. What is more, some governments may resort to terrorism to eliminate normal political systems or because of fear of another system developing and being embraced by citizens. Besides, there are countries that may use terror to harass, control, or eliminate political, religious, or radical minorities. At the same time, this or that government may be in constant conflict with external enemies and use terrorism to handle this kind of conflicts. Finally, the government may be in business purely for itself and for what it can get without regard to the welfare of its citizens (Mullins 90).
Then there is also the reasoning behind individual terrorism. An individual terrorist’s act is very different from that of a group of terrorists or the way the government would use terrorism. Although ideology and motivation are the same – to invoke a violent act to achieve some political goals. Some reasons for committing individual terroristic acts are as follows. First, certain minorities that are economically or politically repressed with poor job opportunities are prone to terrorism. Second, rising employment and inflation can result in people turning to terrorism in an attempt to force improvements in economic and workforce conditioned.
What are the impacts of terrorism? Typically, the impacts of terrorism are presented in some specific forms. Many of them last long after a terrorist event. The main impact of terrorism is the loss of life and damage to property. People dying because of terrorists’ actions are the most terrible consequences of terrorist attacks even though this kind of attacks have become less frequent since the 1970s in the US. At the same time, deaths and property loss are not the only impacts of terrorist events. It is also important to mention long-lasting damage that terrorists do to the human psyche. Even some minor threats that have no action in the future can become intensively stressful for people. In other words, even if terrorists do not accomplish any goals that they announce, the psychological aspect can leave many “scars” on a nation.
Either due to perceived or real terrorism threats, people may lose their businesses. When people face the necessity to leave their homes, all the impacts of terrorism can be seen when they come back and try to bring their business back to life.
Even though your chances of dying in a terrorist event is far lower than from anything else, the very idea of terrorist attacks obviously has a strong power in our collective consciousness. The point is that these events are not mainly designed to kill but to horrify. Therefore, understandably, they receive much more attention.