Define Terrorism Essay

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History of Terrorism Today we hear the word “terrorism” and we automatically think of the events of September 11, 2001. We associate the word with mass casualties, hijacked lanes, destruction and Al-Qa’ida. We think terrorism is something that just started in 2001 in America, but in reality terrorism has been around for centuries and it was happening in other counties. As history will show, terrorism existed long before 2001 and it came in different forms, such as state terrorism, tyrants, anarchists and 4 waves of terror.
Terrorism; what does it mean? According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary it is defined as “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal”. The use of the word “terrorism” can be traced back to the Reign of Terror that occurred after the French Revolution. The Reign of Terror was led by Maximilien Robespierre and he was determined to destroy those who were suspected of being enemies of the Revolution. Roberspierre was a very important member of the Committee of Public Safety which had control over the French government. In 1974 the Committee of Public Safety put the Law of 22 Prairial in place. This law did away with a suspect’s right to public trial and to legal assistance and the only two choices the jury had was to acquit the suspect or sentence them to death. The Committee of Public Safety began to be called terrorists because with this law in place it is estimated that at least 300,000 people were arrested and about 1,400 people were executed by guillotine.
Carsten Bockstette at the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies defines “terrorism” as “political violence in an asymmetrical conflict that is designed to induce terror and psychic fear (sometimes indiscriminate) through the violent victimization and destruction of noncombatant targets (sometimes iconic symbols). Such acts are meant to send a message from an illicit clandestine organization. The purpose of terrorism is to exploit the media in order to achieve maximum attainable publicity as an amplifying force multiplier in order to influence the targeted audience(s) in order to reach short- and midterm political goals and/or desired long-term end states”. (Center for Primary Action to Counter Terrorism – Carsten Bockstette 2008)
Although terrorism is thought to be actions of non-state actors, it is said that states can, and have used force or the threat of force to terrorize citizens in order to achieve a political goal, without declaring war. (A guide to Different Types of Terrorism; Amy Zalman Ph.D.). “State Terrorism” refers to acts of terrorism conducted by a state against a foreign state or people or its own people.( Merriam-Webster Dictionary) An example of “state terrorism” is Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Joseph Stalin’s rule. Joseph Stalin was the General Secretary of the Communist Party and after Vladimir Lenin died in 1924, Stalin took over as the leader of the Soviet Union. Joseph Stalin was a very harsh leader. He had anyone that didn’t agree with him killed. He caused famine in certain areas of the country so that people he wanted dead would starve. He ordered purges in order to get rid of the people he thought was against him, which resulted in millions being killed or sent to slave labor camps.
Tyranny is a government in which all power belongs to one person: the ruler or authority of a tyrant. It refers to different forms of oppression, either by government, or by a social situation in which a group is tyrannized. Dictatorships are a common form of tyranny. Adolf Hitler is an example of a tyrant. He hated Jewish people and wanted to rid Germany of them. He forced Jewish people to go to concentration camps where 6 million Jews were killed during World War II. He also killed other races and other people he didn’t like. Propaganda by the Deed was an anarchist’s concept that promotes the decisive action of individuals to inspire further…