While terrorism has existed since the dawn of mankind, no time like in recent history have terrorists been able to affect the world with their acts. Long before the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centers’ Twin Towers, acts of terrorism has occurred in virtually every corner of the planet. The concept of terrorism too is set on a thin line between what is considered to be right and wrong. What the world may call terrorism today, in the terrorists own minds they are freedom fighters and are willing to do what ever it takes to prevent repression from their enemies.
In comparison, a terrorist does not have the strength nor the capabilities of fighting head on with a world power over their beliefs; so as a result, their tactics for fighting is not of the norm. In conventional warfare, the use of rockets and missiles with powerful warheads and guidance systems are what is considered to be of the norm today, but for “terrorists” this is financially not an option so as a result, the fighting is done more of a guerrilla style which obviously costs substantially less.
It was after the early 1990s advent of the Internet Era as well as the much advancement in mobile and cellular technology which has allowed those to combine their efforts more effectively. In previous times, the distances between groups limited their ability to communicate and orchestrate acts of terrorism. However, in recent times, the globalisation of the world in general also means that the terrorists too have globalised. Now able to communicate via cell phone and e-mails, the attacks of terrorism have been better planned and more organised then ever before allowing them to cause more stresses on the world powers that they consider to be oppressing them.
Terrorism, or as some refer to it; freedom fighting is a form of warfare which exists without any conventional rules or even concepts of engagement. It is this unconventional warfare that makes terrorist work. The name itself is Terror and in it, the attempt is to strike fear in the eyes of the enemy from a smaller foe. If one were to hear on the news that there was going to be an explosion somewhere that day, they would most likely stay at home and stay away from anything that could potentially be a cause. Furthermore, in the event that an explosion does happen, no one really notices. The lack of any form of premeditation of the incident is what strikes fear in the masses; chaos ensues when one is not expecting an act of terrorism.
Terrorists use this fear as a means of changing a situation in which they do not agree with and it is the total fear levels created by an act of terrorism which is recognised as a victory. If an act of terrorism did not strike fear into the populous, then they would simply not do it, but the chances of that ever happening is not going to happen as long as the acts are able to create some form of chaos.
It was the attacks on the World Trade Center in September of 2001 that changed everything. The concept of the attacks was that the act being done against one of the world’s superpowers without any true resistance would lead to media coverage on a global level and as such would also strike fear into other world powers. Just the thought of the 9/11 attacks, one looks at the intended targets. For starters, you have the Twin Towers which are part of the “WORLD” Trade Center in New York City; the heart of commerce around the world. Not just once, but twice; two towers were hit. After the Towers were hit in the attacks, the next location hit is that of the Pentagon. The Pentagon of course is a symbol of the power and might of the United State’s military power. Finally, you have a 4th plane which crashed over Pennsylvania when the passengers attacked the terrorists but were unable to land the plane. This last plane was destined to fly into the White House; the heart of the democratic world and the founder of the concepts of what makes Westernised society as it is.
This would not be the last set of attacks though. These terrorists would continue going after the world’s super powers by striking them at their heart. This includes the Italian and French train systems; some of the most advanced in the world. There were a number of attacks all around the world and while the number of terrorist attacks globally has actually fallen in recent history, the size of the attacks themselves has increased.
With the various tools which has led to globalisation of the world, the terrorist groups like that of the Taliban and al-Qaeda have been able to increase the potency of their attacks and instil fear on a massive world-wide scale. Today, these groups of terrorists are less like a band of bushmen and more like a corporation which has major corporate offices all around the world as well as smaller cell offices in other cities and countries. This concept has become more prevalent with the use of technology as an attempt to counter the attacks in which the term “cell” has become infamous.
While tightening security measures have continued in major locations that could be potential targets including all of the United States, the terrorism still has not ceased, but rather continues to thrive. While not necessary capable of attacking the heart of democracy again, these terrorists continue to attack other locations. In any given week, it is not uncommon to hear about a bombing at an Embassy in a remote country in the world or even the attack on a not so powerful country simply for the fact that the country relies or closely works with the world superpowers for its income and products.
The biggest thing that has really been assisting the terrorism in the 21st century is of course two-fold. For starters, like in the past, the media affects the terrorism by their ability to report the attacks quicker which in effect spreads the fear associated with the attack around the world quicker than it was ever capable of doing before. The second part of course is the internet. The Middle East television station, Al-Jazeera has more than 35 million people that it reaches on any given day. This number is increased through the use of the internet in which any news ends up being posted on the television station’s website and gets picked up by the world quicker than it would through the media.
Today in recent history, many people truly blame the media for the ability for the terrorism to continue. Living on the belief that their viewers and readers want blood, mayhem and chaos in their news, the media around the world continues to report these acts of terrorism. As a result they are giving the terrorists exactly what they want, a means of spreading the fear. If you were to take this away from them, they would not be able to continue spreading fear and as a result will not continue down their current paths. The only real question is whether or not the media will change anytime soon as a means of preventing these terrorists attacks, or if they will only continue because it means guaranteed revenue each and every time there is a photo of an exploded vehicle on the front page.
Maybe the media itself does not really have to change. Many things in the daily lives of people around the world lead to desensitising. While at the turn of the millennia, the report of a terrorist attack would send people running for cover, but today, with the media already having displayed excessive amounts of terrorist related activities, the general populous may be becoming desensitised to the affects of these attacks and as a result the terrorists are losing the fear that they need to continue.
Original Authors: Nick (Globel Team)
Edit Update Authors: M.A.Harris
Updated On: 05/08/2008