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Define Terrorism. Discuss its method and causes with its impact.
Terrorism has become one of the most worrisome concerns of the present-day world. A dozen persons killed by terrorists, half a dozen killed in cross-firing, a large number of innocents by a bomb blast, two officers kidnapped, three houses gutted, petrol and bank looted are some of the usual headlines of everyday morning paper and Source of all these is ‘terrorism’. There is a spurt in seminars, discussions, and conferences in the academic institutions and among the public, in general, and everywhere, the theme is ‘terrorism’. The private discussions the household, in the neighborhood, in the offices at the lunch hour, revolve around ‘terrorism’.
Terrorism echoes in the waits of a mother, a sister, a housewife, and the helpless children, it also echoes in the travails of those who lose the hope of eking out a living for yet another day. Terrorism gets revealed by the silent and silken faces of innocent masşes, it gets revealed by the continuous flow of tears of those whose nears and dears will never appear again before and it also gets revealed by the sight of an old woman lamenting on the wide-scale devastation making it difficult for her even to spot the location of her generations-old house. Terrorism has stuck mankind at the birthday party of a little flower, at a marriage pandal, at a gathering, and at public functions. Terrorism has spread its tentacles far and wide in every sector of society. Terrorism has taken the shape of a menace threatening the very existence of a civilized society.
Regarding terrorism, there are a number of definitions given by different people. Some of them are –
(1) According to the Oxford Dictionary says “Terrorism’ means ‘Use of Terror’ especially for political purposes. It is further that a Terrorist uses violence to cause terror for political ends. Needless to point out that both ‘Terrorism’ and ‘Terrorist’ are the nouns of ‘Terror’ which itself is a well-known term.
(2 Terrorism is the method or theory behind the method whereby an organization group or party works to achieve its desired aims though
the systematic use of violence.
(3) Terror is an intense paralyzing fear or the dread of it. Terrorism is a deliberate attempt to create terror through a symbolic act involving the use of abnormal force for the purpose of influencing a larger group.
(4) Terrorism is an overwhelming impulse or hysteric or read. It is a state of intense fear caused by the systematic use of violence by a party or a faction.
(5) Terrorism is an act of organized violence to create chaos and disorder for achieving the goals, which is a normal course that cannot be realized within the framework of legal and constitutional institutions.
(6) Terrorism is a deliberate attempt to strike terror among the people by us of abnormal force. It creates a fear psychosis so that the people do not muster the courage to speak against it.
(7) The U.S. Department of Defence defines terrorism as the unlawful use of force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies often to achieve a political, religious, or ideological objective.
(8) It is the use of threat or violence by an individual or a group whether acting for or in opposition to established authority and or fear indulging effects on a larger group.
Definition of a Terrorist
A terrorist has been defined by the Government of India in Anti Terrorist Act 1985- “a person who indulges in wanton killing of persons or in violence or in the disruption of services or in damaging property or disputing means of communication essential to the community with a view to putting the public or any section of the public in fear affecting adversely the harmony between religious of different races coercing or overawing the Government established by law or endangering the sovereignty and integrity of India.”
Encyclopedia Says – “A supporter of a dissident faction who resorts to violence in order to intimidate and coerce people for political ends.”
Aims of Terrorists
The main aim of the terrorist is to erode psychological support to the Government machinery by spreading fear among the government. officials and their supporters.
(1) Nationalist Terrorism
These groups seek political self-determination. Their struggle may be waged in the state, they want to liberate or they may seek to liberate the concerned territory from outside, the latter may at times forced by the action of security forces to wage the struggle entirely from exile.
(2) Ideological Terrorism
The aim of these groups is to change the complete political and social scenario.
(3) Religious Fanatics
The aim of these groups is to overturn a prevailing religious order, which they regard as corrupt and civil e.g. Islamic Jihad group of fundamentals, Shaites, who were inspired by the Iranian revolution and are now challenging more of the moderate Arab regimes.
(4) Single Issue Fanatics
These groups aim at changing a specific practice or policy within a society eg. Anti-abortion and Anti-nuclear extremists.
(5) State-Sponsored International Terrorism These groups are used as tools of State policy. These sponsoring states may either use their own recruited or controlled squads or may work through proxies. They always covertly so that the state could deny their involvement e.g. Gaddifis hit squad sent abroad to eliminate dissidents.
Forms of Terrorism
(1) Individual Terrorism
These are acts of violence carried out by an individual for purely personal gains. Acts committed are rapes, robberies, murders,
kidnappings. The main aim is to unleash violence to generate fear for personal gain.
(2) Revolutionary Terrorism
This form of terrorism is aimed at achieving political and social change. It is directed not only against defeating the enemy by military means but has the mass support of people as a crucial factor.
(3) State Terrorism
It is used by a dominant power to gain and maintain political control. It is not often employed by monarchial regimes of totalitarian
regimes against their own people.
(4) International Terrorism
These are terrorists act committed across the border of own State to try and draw world attention to own cause or to prove to the adversary your ability to strike at targets well away from own area. PLO, IRA can find acts of this kind of terrorism in acts.
Method of Terrorism
Terrorists use various methods for terrorizing the people to prove that the Government is incapable of defending the public. Fear psychosis is built by creating terror and insecurity. Some of the methods used by the terrorists are-
1.Hijacking of planes
4.Assassinations and killings
Terrorism has existed for all ages. It has now grown in form and size along with the evolution of society. There has always been dissent against the established authority irrespective of the fact that the authority is established under a feudal system, a monarchic system, or a democratic system. From the rule of the dominant to the rule of law, many states have been witnessed the evolution of human society and at each stage of evolution, terrorism existed in one or the other form. It has been identified as anarchists, revolutionaries, and fundamentals at different times of history.
In ancient, Greek mythology, terror(Phobos) and dread(Deimos) were the names given to twin horses that drew the chariot of the God of war. Along the path, Phobos and Deimos went on getting different names and different manifestations whatsoever the levels of emancipator, whatever the levels of intellectual growth, the subjectivity of human mind have not been overcome. Terrorism did exist at all stages of history and the subjectivity of the human mind identified it with revolutions which were far too different movements to bring about reforms in the society, with freedom struggles that had nothing to do with it and with social and peace. Terrorism has been the biggest beneficence of human subjectivity. It has taken advantage of revolutionary movements, freedom movements, and movements aimed at social reform. That the societies have accepted these, illogical justifications of terrorism from time to time reflects the horror that Phobos and Deimos have struck while driving their master to their destination.
The traces of terrorism may be found in the Roman Empire in Tsarist Russia, in France during the period of its revolution and in other parts of the world at one or other times in their history. Terrorism in the past has manifested itself in three known forms.
To overthrow the ruler by unleashing a reign of terror that he would be unable to control.
To eke out a parasitic living the cost of the weak who would be coerced into acceptance of their authority and undue demands amounting to extortion and to rob the rich for distribution among the poor. This third form is an extinct variant now. Terrorism developed in the 19th century as opposition tactics to autocracy in Russia and other countries where it existed. Terrorism is not a new phenomenon but since the late sixties, it has grown in enormous proportions and has affected countries of almost all geographical regions of the world without exception. It has assumed menacing proportions. We have been hearing to terrorist organizations like Black September, Japenese Red Army, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, Red Army, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestinian, Red Brigade of Italy, Iristu Republican Army of North Ireland, LITTE Group in Sri Lanka and the like.
Causes of Terrorism
There may be several reasons for the emergence of terrorism. Some of these may be genuine and some may be made to appear by vested interests. Although different forms of terrorism may arise for a different set of reasons, some of the genuine causes may be listed as-
(A) Economic deprivation
(B) Political Frustration
(C) regional disparities and
(D) intervention into religious, social, and personal freedoms of the people.
Any or all of these may, at times create situations where international vested interests find it easy to intervene and to stimulate the tendencies towards terrorism to further their own objectives at the cost of local innocent people.
Economic deprivation in the form of unemployment, income and wealth disparities, lack of other basic amenities of life, and discrimination resulting in inaccessibility to suitable economic avenues has given birth to several terrorist movements all over the world. Failure of the governments to carry out the program and politics of economic reforms has resulted in a widening of income inequalities causing thereby extreme frustration among the poor to make them willing entrants into the terrorist activities. Strifes such as the Naxalite movement and the emergence of group gangsterism in the past are examples of terrorism developing from economic deprivation abject poverty, unemployment from economic differentials in the levels of living do have the potential of promoting terrorism with the sole aim of bringing about the economic equality among the people. Economic exploitation of men and material resources does also generates the tendencies of terrorism.
Political frustration has emerged as an explosive louse for terrorizers in recent history. With the emergence of democratic republics, political aspirations of the masses have risen considerably but there is evidence where these aspirations were not allowed to get manifested at the hustings, forcing people to resort to terrorist violence for ventilating this hurt feeling in the developing countries of the world, the societies are in transition and the institutions of democracy like social justice and secularism have not struck the roots firmly and hence the functioning of these institutes does not bring about the realizations of the people’s aspirations as per their acceptations. This causes frustration among the people in general, and among some sections of society in particular frustration among the minorities is often cited as an example exploiting the ethnic and regional turmoils by international politics has often been witnessed in the kind of terrorism.
Regional disparities are also an important contribution to the emergence and growth of terrorism. This occasionally takes the form of separatist movements. The concentration of economic infrastructure at selected places, ignoring the economic benefits of a region, and lopsided allocation of resources results in economic disparities among the various regions compelling them to seek regional autonomies, and failure to evoke a response to these demands leads to regional terrorism. The stage of this terrorism is an open revolt against outside entrepreneurs, to begin with, followed by violence against soft targets, which might also include these locals not toeing to the in of terrorists. Many times heterogeneity of men and material stocks place regions at different levels of central authority. To correct these natural distortions gives rise to ill feelings which in an extreme form takes the shape of terrorism.
Interference in religious, social, and personal freedoms results in emotional outbursts capable of leading to terrorist violence. Men by nature are freedom-loving and possessive and any challenge to these basic instincts may amount to a feeling to terrorize. Quite often unimaginative persons give wrong interpretations to things and mislead innocent masses and provoke them to resort to violence. There may be a host of other causes, general or specific, that directly or indirectly contribute to one of the other forms of terrorism. Many times, young innocent boys are misguided and learned into terrorism either for money or for a cause, which they are told is a sacred one.
Terrorism produces harmful effects in several ways. Normal life is disrupted and the smoke of devastation hovers all around. The- atmosphere of uncertainly develops and everything seems to be coming to a half suddenly. Nothing seems to be working and it appears that everything the man strived for, has collapsed.
The adverse effects of terrorism can be classified as economic, socio-cultural, and political.
Terrorism derails an economy and nothing can be more serious than halting a process, which seeks to maximize human welfare.
After the second world war, the developing countries that emerged on the development scheme have been busy implementing manifold schemes to bring about speedier development in their countries. These schemes include the programs for building up infrastructure, industrialization, and rural development. Terrorism has put a very heavy strain on these activities.
Railway installations, bridges, power projects, and a host of other structures have been blasted off, halting thereby the smooth working of these ongoing programs. Frequent bands, curfews, cross-firing, and bomb błasts completely bring these activities to a halt and prolong the immediately needed reprieve to the poor masses.
Terrorism has equally harmfully affected the augmentation, efforts, and setting up of new ventures. We are living in a fast-changing society where developments in science and technology are rapidly taking place and every-on-going development program is to be continuously augmented to keep it adjusted to changing technology and innovation. Every morning unfolds itself with it new challenges that demand to launch of new economic initiatives to keep the wheels of progress moving. With the changing global economic scenario thrusts are required to be placed on new economic programs in line with globalization, standards of efficiency and competitiveness, and liberalization. Terrorism acts as a stumbling block in putting through these initiatives with speed and purpose. The developing world is going to lose considerably on this score because of spreading terrorism and it is likely to cost us heavily in the years to come. Poverty and unemployment are the cause as well as the effect of terrorism. Since the second world war, the developed countries have further moved ahead of us and we are unfortunately still grappling with the acute problems of unemployment, poverty, and inequality. Terrorism could very well be spent on programs aiming at the removal of poverty and unemployment. Huge outlays earmarked for security could be diverted towards construction and industrial activities generating a source of employment and livelihood for millions of our people.
Socio-cultural effects of terrorism are deep-rooted and well have a lasting effect. Societies are always in evolution ever striving for higher levels of emancipation. This process of evolution is more marked in developing countries. The change in social ethos, altitudes, and approaches has to be very fast in these countries to catch up with more privileged societies on this planet. Growing terrorism does appły brakes on this movement towards a better society. The social effect may principally be divided into the effects on education and emancipation, social harmony, and human psychology.
The worst-hit social sector is education and other intellectual activities. Hundreds of educational institutions get destroyed, the rest remain frequently closed and the remaining hardly do any meaningful work, owing to fear and uncertainly. The creative intellectualisın gets shifted. The freedom of the press gets, curbed and the growth of cultural ethos comes under heavy strain. Fanaticism rules supreme and reason gets a burial.
Darkness replaces emancipation and mind-boggled with the clutches that objectivity endeavors to clear up our minds. It reverses the direction of change from darkness into light. The realization of human glory gets unduly delayed. It perpetuates social backwardness that seriously hampers the liberation of the human mind from dogmas. Educational advance towards the growth of science, innovation, and creative capabilities gets slowed down increasing thereby the dependence on advanced countries of the world.
Social harmony is yet another victim of terrorism. Terrorism creates differences among communities and other ethnic groups bringing them To war against each other. on the basis of religion, caste, and creed other narrow considerations. This war finally gets directed against humanity, against the man and his finest value, and ultimately against God who created man to serve his brethren to get them out of pain into the world of pleasure. The precious possessions God gave man are love and peace and the cruel hands of terrorism murder both.
Another serious damage done by terrorism is to prevent human psychology. A mind cannot flower, under fear psychosis, nor can it orient its thinking towards rationality and logic. A society whose psyche is shaped under the shadows of fear, tension, and disharmony suffers serious disadvantages in its march towards progress. Man with a bound psyche can not leap forward with confidence and success where virtues are subdued among those stricken by terrorism. Societies lose the early accrual of advantages of emancipated societies on account of psychologists under development.
Terrorism has far-reaching effects on the political situation of a country. The political effects of terrorism are mainly manifested in the form of instability, a hindrance to the growth of democracy, and the loosening of administrative authority.
Any country or part thereof suffers political instability in the wake of terrorism, The normal political activity either gets completely halted or seriously disrupted. It has dangerous consequences. The normal business and economic activity suffer heavily bringing manifold hardships to the people. The investment falls considerably and the capitalists away their investment to the grave consequences for the country or any region thereof. The platform for voicing the people’s difficulties is lost and they are left with no alternative than to put up with the miseries.
In the wake of terrorism, democratic institutions come under heavy strain. The basic freedoms of the people have greatly curbed fin the people’s government. It is a march towards the rule of security forces. The goals of secularism and welfare suffer a great deal and people all around wear a depressed look.
Terrorism exerts heavy pressure on administrative machinery making it difficult to cope up with the problem that arises from day-to-day. The routine works come under strain and the facilitating services rendered to the society get utterly disrupted administrative authority gets eroded and the terrorists keep on the upper hand and the working of a society.
To solve the problems of terrorism a deeper examination of the circumstances and causes leading to it is warranted. Adhoc solutions will not eradicate terrorism. While vested interests, anti-social elements, and international mischief do contribute to it but the poor, the unemployed, and the ignored are easily tempted to join the terrorist gangs often on the temptation of money and hope. In our country, the promises made to the people to wing out their tears have not fulfilled. The problems of poverty, unemployment, and inequality persist. A lasting solution to the problems of terrorism and turmoil cannot be obtained unless these problems are permanently sorted out. This calls for sound economic programs, strong political will, honest administration, and national character. White as our pans have contributed to the socio-economic transformation but most often these have been financial and not the physical plans.
Emphasis has been on spending money and not on creating the solid physicał asserts. The evaluation of monitoring has been either negligent or extremely poor. The accountability docs not exist and in the name of democracy and freedom, everybody has been getting away with anything and everything. The administrative model as handed over on tours of colonial administrators was adopted even after independence. Even when the country’s first Prime Minister Pandit J.L. Nehru felt that the type of administration the country has after independence will not be able to address itself the pressing problems of the society. Not much was done in this regard and no correctives were adopted administration in the developing counıries has been working on the model of formalism making things look as they should be and not as they are.
There are stories of corruption in the system and the policies are highly centralized. The commitment to national reconstruction is stupendous work and people are not properly motivated towards making it. The individual and collective contribution towards building a society based on brotherhood, goodwill peace, and equality. Unless, therefore, all our honest efforts are made to overcome these infirmities in our economic, administrative and political setup, the problems of terrorism cannot be solved.
The responsibility is not of the government alone, each one of us has a role to play. The former US Ambassador Jeane J. Kirk Patrick Says “Finding the courage to face the truth and speak about it is the first step towards the defect of these terrorists who would destroy our freedom and our world.
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