Critically Evaluate the Differences in the Representation of Terrorists and Terrorism Before and After 9/11.

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Essay Question: Critically evaluate the differences in the representation of terrorists and terrorism before and after 9/11.

The representation of terrorists and terrorism can be said to have changed significantly since the attacks on the United States of America on September 11th 2001. On this day, referred to as 9/11, Islamist extremists hijacked four aeroplanes that were flying above the United States. The hijackers intentionally flew two of these planes into both the North and the South Tower of the World Trade Centre (WTC), a third plane was crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington DC and the fourth plane crashed into a field near Pennsylvania. The hijackers responsible for the attacks were members of the Islamist militant group, Al Qaeda. “The 9/11 attacks remain the worst terrorist event worldwide in terms of loss to both property and human life” (Coburn et al, 2011 p.26). This essay intends to critically evaluate the representation of terrorists and terrorism pre- 9/11 and post- 9/11. It is argued that we now live in a so-called “Age of Terror” (Furedi 2007, p.1). This essay intends to examine how we have moved into this “Age of Terror” and to what extent the events on 9/11 have affected this shift. Terrorism is not unique to contemporary society, the term ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’ date back to the late 18th Century (Laqueur 1987 as cited in Newburn 2007, p. 871). Defining the word ‘terrorism’ is a difficult task; Walter Laqueur is said to have counted over 100 definitions of terrorism and he concluded that the only general characteristics that are most often agreed upon are that terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence (Laqueur, 1999 as cited in Furedi 2007). Although these are not new terms to society, it is important to analyse any changes in the representation, of the words ‘terrorism’ and ‘terrorist’ since the events on 9/11. The perceptions that individuals in society have and...
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