Terrorism – Paper 7

Terrorism
Introduction
T
errorism has been a dreaded phenomenon during the later half of the Twentieth Century. Since the Second World War, it had continued to grow and expand, firstly as a part of anti-colonial guerrilla or resistance movements and secondly as a protest against unjust political dispensations resulting in imposed or unresolved territorial disputes and the problem of identity and self-rule by large ethnic/communal minorities. Despite its growth as a multi-faceted political concept, terrorism is not well-understood nor well portrayed particularly by the Western media which virtually presents any act of violence against the state or society as terrorism. No distinction is drawn between anti-government protests, militant actions by dissidents or separatists, rioting and arson by unruly mobs or state repression, ethnic discriminations, religious or sectarian fanaticism, sabotage sponsored by hostile states, organized syndicate crimes and violence or individual acts by lone psychotics. All are herded together and treated as terrorism. This vagueness and ensuing confusion have frequently resulted in condemnation of otherwise legitimate politically motivated militant protest, causing further alienation and spread of terrorism.
The fact that terrorism originated as an instrument of repressive state power is either not generally known or has not been emphasised deliberately. Its strong psychological impact to cause fear and insecurity and to intimidate and demoralize people was first pointed out by the ancient Greek historian Xenophon (c.430-349 B.C) and effectively applied through the ages by the imperial powers to discourage rebellion and enforce submission. The notorious Courts of Inquisition used terror to punish religious dissidence and heresy. The reactionary role of Hasan ibn Sabah’s Assassins during the Abbaside period to spread chaos and anarchy are well known. [1] It was however during the French Revolution that perhaps for the.