Terrorism is a part of our daily lives or at least it is something we often think about, due to the over saturation by the media and our governments. While it is a serious problem, make no mistake about it, your chances of being a victim is extremely low. To talk about terrorism we need to break down the definition and meaning behind the term. Often times the true theme is lost and severely biased. In this article over the following slides, we will be explaining what terrorism is, what are the main types, and what the future may hold.
What Is Terrorism?
Understand that the term “terrorism” is very complex and not easy to define. While the simple definitions give you the general idea, often times media and officials will label something as terrorism or not terrorism incorrectly. There are literally dozens of acceptable definitions to choose from, but for the sake of keeping this interesting and not a simple lecture, we will go with the general one.
Terrorism can be defined as violence or threatened violence intended to produce fear to effect change. The targets and the victims really define what type of terrorist act is being committed and we will dive into that in the next sections.
What Are The Main Types Of Terrorism?
State Sponsored terrorism is when a government of a nation provides material, political, and financial support to a terrorist group. We see this all the time with nations like Iran and Syria who constantly give money, weapons, and support to Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
State sponsored terrorism is hard to stop because it is often back room deals unseen by the public. Sanctions and public denouncements seem to have little effect to curb these types of activities and the only real option that the West uses is military action. Still, this seems to have negligible effect as well considering you can’t just invade Iran, a nation with an enormous military force.
State terrorism is where a government oppresses its own people through fear and violence to control them. The biggest example of this today is North Korea, one of the world’s only totalitarian dictatorships.
Surprisingly, America is rising in this category when you factor in the local, state, and federal levels of government allowing major police abuses everyday. When you ask people what they think of police often times you hear the traditional “fuck the police”. This of course isn’t all people by a long shot, but it is a very large percentage who have serious distrust and legitimate fears. I often examine and speak out against police brutality in America so it should come to no shock that I included them in this list.
When your government actively supports or ignores major abuses it is easily categorised as state terror. No nation is exempt from this becoming a reality. Many parts of Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East know this sad truth as it affects them everyday of their lives. A more recognisable term to use in conjunction with this is ‘Police State’. The media of course doesn’t talk about this type much because it becomes a very uncomfortable conversation when in one hand they bash another nation for terrorism, their own nations are often a party to it.
Religious terrorism is what we see most these days when extremists use religion as an excuse to use violence to convert, dominate, and conquer nations. We see plenty of examples like ISIL/Islamic State, Al Qaeda, Taliban, etc.
The incidents at Charlie Hebdo Magazine in France is the most recent example of religious terrorism. The several men involved and a woman (now on the run) took offence to the magazine’s depictions of Muhammad and heinously murdered 12 journalists, several police officers, and several shoppers.
The global response has been a mixture of both unity of people and division against real Muslims. In France, up to 3 million people took to the streets (on January the 11th) with peaceful demonstrations speaking against violence and this terrorist attack. Unfortunately the far right are using this terrible crime as an excuse to further their xenophobic beliefs. Many are calling for the national immigration policies to be radically changed in the hopes to stop future attacks. As we will explain later, this just won’t solve the serious issue of terrorism.
Religiously motivated terrorism is one of the most common, if not the most talked about. Generally you only hear about Islamic terrorists or these lone gunmen in the West. Both have their own levels of impact on the fears of a society. Religious terrorism has existed for thousands of years and we can see ready examples of this in Rome, where they were feeding early Christians to lions in the Colosseum. Then we had 9 Crusades which were another example of this as they went around the Middle East conquering, destroying, and killing hundreds of thousands of people.
In America we tend to have a problem with right-wing extremists using terrorism to effect change on issues like abortion. The hypocrisy is staggering of course considering their goal is to stop the deaths of the unborn, yet they kill to achieve this goal.