Terrorism has always been present in society. Even in ancient times, religious fanatics resorted to terrorist tactics such as assassination to incite widespread fear and invoke an uprising. It is easy to say that the most well-known and effective terrorist attack took place on the eleventh of September 2001 when terrorists under the Al Qaeda terrorist group led by Osama Bin Laden hijacked and flew four planes into the world trade centre. The destruction of this symbol of democracy and freedom shook the entire world and put the problem of terrorism into the spotlight. Within less than a month, a US led coalition invaded Afghanistan in an attempt to weed out and eradicate the terrorist threat of Al Qaeda and send a message to other terrorist groups worldwide. Security measures in airports were increased in an attempt to reduce the chance of future attacks like the ones on 9/11. Even today, more than ten years after the tragedy, we are seeing more and more security measures that are supposed to prevent future attacks and deter groups from attempting them. No fly lists, supposedly random screenings, and increasingly probing search procedures that border on infringing our rights as humans are just a few measures that have been implemented to put a stop to the supposedly increasing terrorist threat. The question is: has terrorism actually increased since 9/11? Are we truly in more danger now than we were ten years ago?
This paper argues that contrary to what the government and media would have us believe, the threat of terrorism has neither increased nor decreased since 9/11. Rather, terrorists have just adapted to stay relevant with all the security measures that have been put in place. In order to fully understand and answer this question one must understand the origins and definition of terrorism. In particular, terrorist activities from the 1970s to today will be looked at. After doing so it will become apparent that the frequency of terrorist attacks has not risen since 9/11 but rather remained at roughly the same level as it always has. Next one must understand how since the creation and widespread use of the internet as a major media source, society has become much more connected and even insignificant events are instantly broadcasted around the world (globalization). Finally the paper will do an in depth look into the history or Al Qaeda, the notorious terrorist group that was responsible for the attacks that have changed our world so drastically, as well as other less well known terrorist organizations that many people have not heard of. After considering all of the aforementioned points one will understand and have to come to the conclusion that while it may appear that terrorism is on the rise, the truth is that the government and media have just shined a spotlight on terrorism in recent years causing the public to hear more about it in their everyday lives.
The word “terrorism” does not have a precise definition. As such the media to describe violent crimes that are not, strictly speaking, terrorist acts. For most governments, terrorism is considered any violent act against them. From the view of the other side, the government is the terrorist group. The term is loosely thrown around to strike fear into the hearts of the general public and justify any measures that are deemed necessary to prevent it. When it comes down to it, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and so it is virtually impossible to define the word, let alone use it to label a certain group or organization. With that being said there are some acts so heinous, such as the 9/11 attacks, that can clearly be defined as terrorist attacks. Even so, one must understand why Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda believed that such attacks were justifiable. To do so, you need look no further than the letter Osama Bin Laden wrote to America after the attacks. He outlines why the attacks took place and why more attacks will...
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