TERRORISM: BIRTH OF A DARK AGE

TERRORISM: BIRTH OF A DARK AGE

Terrorism has become a festering wound. It is an enemy of humanity.

- Atal Bihari Vajpayee

 


ARTICLE BY

Name: Shourya Chopra & Shubhi Pandey

College: Department of P.G. Studies and Research in Law, RDVV, Jabalpur


INTRODUCTION

Terrorism in today’s world has created fear in the minds of billions of people on Earth.  It has given birth to a dark age; the age of bloodshed, attacks, and chaos. le terrorisme est une catastrophe is a French phrase which means ‘ terrorism is a disaster ‘. This age has witnessed murkiness. This disaster has created a threat to peace and harmony.

It is a brutal and callous practice that affects the mankind. These terrorist activities are performed by individuals or group of individuals who are trained with specialization in arms and ammunition to achieve an end.  These acts are not immediate, they are planned and organised for a long period of time.

Yonah Alexander defined terrorism is “the use of violence against random civilian targets in order to intimidate or to create generalized pervasive fear for the purpose of achieving political goals”.[1]

Terrorism came up from the word terror which is derived from the French term terreur. The act of destruction which leads to the creation of terror is known as terrorism.

It basically refers to the creation of destruction by non-political assassins who don't belong to a political organ and aim at the creation of terror and massive killing of humans. Their acts are illegal and immoral as well. These acts are not against an individual or a group; these are against a particular country or nation at large.

The acts of terrorism cannot be compared with assault, torture or murder. Terrorism has become a critical global threat. It has led to instability of the nations and insecurity amongst the citizens. This essay highlights the atrocious State of terrorism and its horrifying impacts. It reveals the miserable history of terrorist attacks, their types, and causes.

HISTORY

Terrorism can be traced way back in 1st century AD. Violent attacks took place in this era and they were later recognized as terrorist acts. There existed a few terrorist groups which gave birth to distress and it was later recognized as terrorism.

Sicarii (66–73 CE) was a Zealot-affiliated religious sect which fought against Roman occupiers in Palestine and Jerusalem. It is considered as the ancient terrorist group which adopted terrorism as their tactic.[2] In the 11th century Persia, the Assassins were a religious sect who performed terrorist activities against the empire of Saladin and resisted the armies of the Ottoman Empire.[3]

Later, in the 13th century, the Thugs of India were found performing such activities. They were also called Thuggees, who usually attacked travellers with a noose on the name of God and robbed them. It continued till the 17th century and is still in existence in some rural parts of the country.[4] Terrorism came up in more exacerbate form during the French revolution in the 1790s. In 1934, terrorism became a matter of international discussion and the League of
Nations took the first major step towards making terrorism highly illegal and punishable. In doing so, it drafted a convention for the prevention and punishment of terrorist acts.

Some of the important acts and statutes by various nations helped in fighting terrorism. The Prevention of Terrorism Acts which was a series of Acts of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1974 to 1989 conferred emergency powers upon police forces where they suspected terrorism. Another important statute was the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act which was an Indian anti-terrorism law which was in force between 1985 and 1995 (modified in 1987). It was under the background of the Punjab insurgency and was applied to the whole of India. Both of these acts helped in the prevention of terrorist activities and saved the world from the damages that terrorism causes.

TYPES

State Sponsored Terrorism

It refers to a situation where the State supports the terrorist groups by providing assistance. Some States sponsor terrorist groups because it enables them to commit acts of violence against a rival State without having to go to war. Typically, a State would do this in order to weaken the other State or create political discord inside it. States may also sponsor terrorist groups because they are in ideological agreement with the group’s objectives. The State may provide financial support, training, equipment and technical assistance.

Non-State Actions

It refers to those terrorist activities which are not discharged by State sponsorship or which are not under the control of the State. These activities are carried out by a body of individuals who are trained by private leaders or institutions. The major terrorist threat in the early 21st century is not from the States that sponsor terrorism, but rather from non-State terrorist groups—organizations operating as independent actors even though they may occasionally accept support from States.

Nationalist terrorism

It refers to such terrorist groups which seek to form a separate State. They draw the attention of the world to a fight for “national liberation”. They believe that the world has ignored its need, it is difficult to define Nationalist terrorism, since many groups accused of the practice, insist that they are freedom fighters, not terrorists.

Religious terrorism

It refers to such terrorist groups which seek to use violence to further what they see as divinely commanded purposes, often targeting broad categories of foes in an attempt to bring about sweeping changes. The activities under this type of terrorism are carried out based on motivations and goals that have a predominantly religious character or influence.

Left-wing & right-wing terrorism

Left-wing terrorists are out to destroy capitalism and replace it with a communist or socialist regime. It has taken vivid manifestations across the world and presented diverging dynamics and relationships with national governments and political economies.

Whereas the right-wing terrorism refers to those groups which seek to do away with liberal democratic governments and create fascist States in their place. It aims to overthrow governments and replace them with nationalist or fascist-oriented regimes.

Suicide terrorism

It refers to a politically motivated violent attack perpetrated by a self-aware individual who actively and purposely causes his own death through blowing himself up along with his chosen target. The attacker expects their own death as a direct result of the method used to harm, damage or destroy the target.

 Cyberterrorism

It is defined as the use of computing resources to intimidate or coerce others. It creates a large-scale disruption of computer networks, especially of personal computers attached to the Internet. It can cause massive damage to government systems, hospital records, and national security programs, which might leave a country, community or organization in turmoil and in fear of further attacks. The objectives of such terrorists may be political or ideological since this can be considered a form of terror.

CAUSES

Religious extremism

 Religious extremism has become the main operator of terrorism in recent years, according to Global Terrorism Index. It identifies the main factor that correlates with terrorism which is the hostility between different ethnic or religious groups.

Oppression

It is the State of being subject to oppressive treatment. Terrorism caters the need to abate the power of rivals. The root cause of terrorism is oppression and terror cannot be addressed effectively without giving oppressed people self-determination. In order to lower the strength of such rivals, these activities are taking place to suppress the enemies to maintain one’s own dominance.

Relative deprivation

It refers to a situation of lack of resources to sustain the diet, lifestyle, activities, and amenities that an individual or group are accustomed to or that are widely encouraged or approved in the society to which they belong. Somewhere or the other it can be related to poverty and social exclusion. The primary source of violence appears to be the frustration, the anger induced by frustration which is a motivating force that disposes men to aggression, irrespective of its instrumentalities. This frustration is caused by relative deprivation, and the resulting aggression is manifested as terrorism.

 “Human rights are not only violated by terrorism, repression or assassination, but also by unfair economic structures that create huge inequalities.”

- Pope Francis

Unemployment

It refers to a situation where people who are actively in search of employment are unable to find work. It leads to failure of individuals to earn for their livelihood. To combat such a situation of unemployment and to earn money people tend to enter terrorist groups. These groups offer a large amount of money to take the benefit of such people.

 Illiteracy

 It is the inability of the illiterates to read, understand and interpret any information given to them. They can be easily convinced to perform terrorist activities. They are offered money for such tasks and without understanding the consequences, the illiterates end up in killing innocent people.

MAJOR TERRORIST ATTACKS

The world has been hit by a series of terrorist attacks in the past years. These attacks have left a threatening impact on the society at large. In a shocking incident, four passenger planes operated by two major US air carriers were hijacked by 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda targeting the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York. The attack killed 2,996 people and injured more than 6,000 on September 11, 2001.

In another shocking incident, armed Chechen rebels took approximately 1,200 children and adults hostage at a school located in Beslan, North Ossetia, Russia. Due to which more than 330 were killed, including 186 children, and about 700 people were wounded on September 1, 2004.

On July 7, 2005, Central London was attached by four suicide bombers with rucksacks full of explosives. After two weeks, i.e. on 21 July 2005, four other bomb attacks paralyzed the functionaries of London’s public transport system. Reportedly fifty-two civilians were killed in that series of coordinated suicide attacks while more than 700 were injured.

 On November 26-29, 2008, Ten Pakistani men associated with the terror group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba targeted Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Leopold Café, Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Hotel, Oberoi Trident Hotel, Metro Cinema, Cama and Albless Hospital and Nariman House in India, due to which 164 people were killed. Nine of the gunmen were killed during the encounter while one survived. Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman, was executed in November 2012.

In another incident of India, Militants attacked a bus in Kashmir and killed seven Amarnath pilgrims, including six women, and injured 19 others on 10th July 2017. It is considered as the worst attack on the annual pilgrimage since 2001. These incidents show how terrorism has become a major concern. It has taken millions of lives so far and has deteriorated the world economy, peace and harmony.

IMPACT

Terrorist attacks leave a gloomy impact on the World and its people. As per the reports of Global Terrorism Index, Iraq is the country most impacted by terrorism. Economically, it significantly weakens economic activity, with long-lasting effects on the economy of any country. People are left homeless. A situation of chaos is built and there is distress everywhere. People lose their jobs because of the destruction caused. There is a huge loss to the infrastructure and public property. These activities also affect the global trade by ceasing the import and export functions.

Socially, an environment of fear is created and it gets difficult for people to continue their day-to-day activities. People lose their families and are left homeless. These activities also hinder the education of children. People who suffer injuries also get affected. Some people suffer permanent disabilities which stops them from living a normal life ahead. Also, due to lack of resources, proper medication and treatment are often denied to people in the affected areas. People are asked to shift from their native places for their security which disrupts their routine.

STEPS TAKEN TO COUNTER TERRORISM

The terrorists are unique in their brutality. They execute captured prisoners. They kill children. They enslave, rape, and force women into marriage. They threaten religious minorities with genocide. To combat terrorism, various nations have taken revolutionary steps. Some of them are as follows:

 AMERICA

The United States of America is playing a vital role in the eradication of such a traumatic situation of terrorism. It is America that helped remove and destroy Syria's declared chemical weapons so they cannot pose a threat to the Syrian people or on the rest of the world. The American government is trying to draw on substantial counterterrorism capabilities to prevent ISIL attacks. The nation is working with its partners and is increasing its efforts to improve and strengthen the intelligence and defences. It is also working to counter its warped ideology, and stem the flow of foreign fighters into and out of the Middle East.[5]

ISRAEL

Israel is working closely with many States and regional organizations to advance counter-terrorism cooperation in areas from aviation security to border protection to terrorist financing. Israeli police forces train international peers in security procedures ranging from combating terrorism to preparing for mass casualty emergencies. Israel has worked with multiple American agencies, including the FBI, NYPD, LAPD, and Washington, D.C. Police Department. Israel is also working with U.S. government and private entities to develop technologies and equipment aimed at thwarting terrorism and safeguarding the citizens. [6]

UNITED NATIONS

Prior to the adoption of resolution 1373 (2001) and the establishment of the Counter-Terrorism Committee, the international community had already promulgated 12 of the current 16 international counter-terrorism legal instruments. Various other conventions on terrorism were: - International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted on 15 December 1997; International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted on 9 December 1999; and International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism, adopted on 13 April 2005.

INDIA

India has arranged for physical security agencies. These include the Central Industrial Security Force, which is responsible for physical security at airports and sensitive establishments; the National Security Guards, a specially trained intervention force which is to terminate terrorist situations such as hijacking, hostage-taking, etc; and the Special Protection Group, responsible for the security of the prime minister and former prime ministers. India has entered into a bilateral treaty with various nations to fight terrorism. This is a major step taken towards eliminating terrorism.

CONCLUSION: SOLUTION TO THE PROBLEM

“Everybody is worried about stopping terrorism. Well, there is a really easy way; stop participating in it.”

– Noam Chomsky

Social issues are affecting the lives of almost all humans on Earth. Terrorism is one such social issue which has deteriorated millions of lives. It destroys human rights and the Rule of Law. It is one such action which can never be justified. There are various steps that can be taken to eliminate terrorism.

Education is the power, terrorists fear the most

– Malala Yousafzai

One such step is Education and employment. It plays a vital role in battling terrorism as it helps a majority of people to earn a living. It will make people independent and so, they would not be influenced by terrorist groups who use such people to fulfil their evil needs. Another step that can be taken is unity of the nations.

Nations worldwide must join hands and stand against such groups which hamper the international peace and security. Support shall be given to such individuals or organizations who take steps to eradicate terrorism. We must attack terrorist infrastructure, and go after those who support and finance terrorism. No State should stand alone. Combating terrorism is not easy but if we all stand together and deliver the message of peace and non-violence, we will surely succeed in eradicating terrorism. Therefore, the feeling of revenge needs to be eliminated from our minds as it is a root cause of terrorism.

Terrorism is an alarming situation and needs to be tackled to save any further loss. It needs to be fought before the growth of this Dark Age. Millions of lives have been affected so far and the world cannot afford to lose more of its people due to such heinous activities. These must be stopped and each one of us should be a part of this battle against terrorism.

If you fight terrorism, it is based on fear. If you promote peace, it’s based on hope.

– Greg Mortenson


[1] Alexander, Yonah ,International Terrorism: National, Regional and Global Perspectives. New York: Praeger, p. xiv.(1976).

[2] Matusitz, Jonathan . Similarities between Terrorist Networks in Antiquity and Present-Day Cyber terrorist Networks. Trends in Organized Crime, 11(2), 183–199(2008); Matusitz, Jonathan, Social Network Theory: A Comparative Analysis of the Jewish Revolt in Antiquity and the Cyber terrorism Incident over Kosovo. Information Security Journal: A Global Perspective, 20(1), 34–44.(2011). 

[3] Chaliand, Gérard, & Blin, Arnaud. The History of Terrorism, from Antiquity to Al Qaeda. Berkeley: University of California Press.(2007).

[4] Martin, Gus . Understanding Terrorism: Challenges, Perspectives, and Issues. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. (2010).

[5]Mr. Barack Obama,Transcript: President Obama's Speech on Combating ISIS and Terrorism, CNN Politics, September 11, 2014, GMT (0935 HKT), https://edition.cnn.com/2014/09/10/politics/transcript-obama-syria-isis-speech/index.html.

[6] American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Fighting Terrorism,AIPAC,2015, https://www.aipac.org/learn/us-and-israel/fighting-terrorism.



Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in the article or any other publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Sadvidya or its members.

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