June 25, 2009


Terrorism is often a tragic drama for which the world is a stage. Violence, death, intimidation and fear are its theatrical ingredients. The plot usually involves hostages, deadlines, and high-level bargaining. Tension and anxiety levels are immediately raised. National and international news media frequently monitor and broadcast terrorist events as they unfold.

The impact of the violent act extends beyond the immediate victims. The message is more extensive. Terrorists – leftists, rightists and insurgents – are thus likely to choose their victims and targets with care to achieve maximum impact.

The Politics of Terrorism, edited by Michael Stohl, says the purpose of terrorists is either to maintain a regime or create the conditions for a new one. The violence of the terrorist act is not intended simply to destroy but also to be heard.

As opposed to patriotism, the insurgents’ claim of love of country is a lie. The comfortably accepted notion about them, according to English journalist G. Mcknight, is that they are people lost to love twisted by hates and frustrations. Corollary to this, one must examine deeply the cause. When we examine an individual terrorist the following points must be checked: 1) the assertion of masculinity (or femininity in case of women); 2) desire for depersonalization, that is, to get outside or away from oneself, as a result of chronic low self-esteem; 3) desire for intimacy; and 4) belief in the magic of violence or blood.

Moreover, a famous politician once cited that the idea that one person’s “terrorist” may be another’s freedom fighter,” cannot be sanctioned. Freedom fighters don’t set out to capture school children; terrorists/murderers do. Freedom fighters don’t assassinate innocent businessmen, or hijack and hostage innocent men, women, and children; terrorists do. It is a disgrace that democracies would allow the treasured word freedom to be associates with acts of terrorism.

Bel, a prolific author of studies on terrorism and social movements, suggests that an appropriate response to the further threat of terrorism consists of a scrupulous reliance on laws, taking care not to dispense with civil liberties. Another professor of politics at the University of Aberdeen concludes, “The government has a duty to invoke special powers to protect the community, restore order and re-establish the rule of law.” Bell counters, “If we cannot tolerate the exaggerated horror flashed on the evening news, then we do not deserve to be free.”

So many argue about the case. But ultimately the underlying principle must be the maintenance of due process and the rule of law. And subsequently, however serious the threat of terrorism, if citizens stay together for a good purpose – they survive.
Rose Flores – Martinez, published Tribune newspaper October 5, 2000.


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