Terrorism: What is it?

Essay by forureyzonle July 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.3

"Terrorism has been practiced throughout history and throughout the world. The Spanish Inquisition used arbitrary arrest, torture, and execution to punish what it viewed as religious heresy. After the American Civil War (1861-65) defiant Southerners formed a terrorist organization called the Ku Klux Klan to intimidate supporters of Reconstruction." (Internet reference) The above-mentioned are just two of the many terrorist acts not typically considered to be terrorism.

So, what is terrorism? There is no concrete definition; instead there are many, which are based on individual and self-centered views. When defining the term we tend not to ask the following: Does terrorism need to involve the killing of many people or can it affect just one person? Can it involve simply the destruction of property, with no injuries? Can governments commit acts of terrorism, or is the term reserved only for people who operate outside of governments? Must terrorism involve the people of one country attacking citizens of another country? Does motive make a difference? Does terrorism need to be intentional? Many of us limit ourselves to the belief that terrorism only involves the people of one country attacking those of another.

This is the case today; post 9-11 and with the strong media influence most have been brainwashed into associating terrorism with the "cowardly acts" committed by a group of people against the government and citizens of either their own or foreign country. We have also begun to put faces to this one-dimensional definition, those being Osama Bin-Laden, Saddam Hussein, Al-Qaeda, and the Taliban to name a few. With the influence of the U.S. the world has become defensive.

We are now at war against terrorism. But how can we put an end to something that we cannot define? The answer to that is to base the solution on your...