Terrorism, as defined in the dictionary, is known to be making use of violence, intimidation and threats to achieve a certain goal, which happens to be of political purposes most of the times.
In this essay, we’ll look into the different reasons of why people resort to terrorism, if it is really the last and best way to achieve what they want. I will also write about the opposing views of seeing terrorists as just terrorists alone, or if they are actually freedom fighters. Lastly, we will discuss if terrorism can ever be justified.
One of the factors is due to political reasons. Unlike other types of terrorism, political terrorism is a criminal politcal act that aims to strike a political blow to the concerned countries, or at times, to the world. This happens when there is a breakdown in communication between the authorised personnel and the people who think that they are “seeking justice”. One example of such terrorism can be seen from Black September, a Palestinian group. The Munich Massacre, which happened on 5 September 1972, during the Munich Olympics. Black September was unhappy with the fact that the Israeli government had captured over 200 of their people and hence demanded for the release of the political prisoners in Egypt. With such political motivation, they captured and killed a total of eleven innocent Israeli athletes who were at the Munich Olympics to compete. This political terrorism escalated into a transnational one as well; Black September was based in Palestine, they annihilate Israeli citizens and attacked in Munich. This proves that political terrorism may not necessarily happen within the concerned countries alone. Another would be due to religious reasons. Religion is something that people keep themselves and their beliefs rooted to. And most of the times, it contains a moral code to the way people live their lives. A well-known example would be Al-Qaeda, with Osama Bin Laden being their figurehead. As the United States took over the lands of Islam, they saw that as Americans committing crimes and sins, also declaring war on their God and Muslims. Thus they believed that killing Americans and destroying whatever they have is an order from God. One of their famous acts was the September 11 attacks, which took place in 2001; four planes, were hijacked, two of which crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. Al-Qaeda commits terrorism with its eye on the prize of establishing its version of Islamic rule across all Muslim territory.
Last but not least, people resort to terrorism due to social reasons. This happens in areas where minority feels that they have not been granted with the rights they deserve, hence resorting to terrorism. One example would be the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The terrorist organisation strived for an independent state for Sri Lanka’s ethnic Tamils and fought between 1976 and 2009. Ethnic conflict arose when the Sinhalese majority began to ostracize the Tamils in their common homeland, Sri Lanka. The Tamils felt deprived of their rights, as the government did not take their needs into consideration; the Tamils were denied of their citizenships, had to face the change of language policy, and were deprived of entering the universities. LTTE’s attacks include suicide bombings and massacre. The attack that had the highest death toll was the massacre of Sri Lankan Police Officers, which happened in 1990.
Therefore, political reasons, religious reasons and social reasons contribute to the reasons of why people turn to terrorism.
As an old saying penned by Gerald Seymour in his book was “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. My personal view on this quote is that people are making use of this cliché saying in defense of the terror they have caused. However, to be fair, it’s all about a matter of perspective. It’s hard to draw a line between a terrorist and freedom fighter because they are of overlapping...
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o Boaz Ganor
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o Kate Pickret
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