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Terrorism: Holding Civilization to Ransom

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By Bindu N Doddahatti:

The word Terror evokes fear and Pain. The impact of Terrorism is so great that the whole human race know what it means. Often Terrorism has been an effective tactic for the weaker side in a conflict. As an asymmetric form of conflict, it confers coercive power with many of the advantages of military force at a fraction of the cost. Due to the secretive nature and small size of terrorist organisations, they often offer opponents no clear organisation to defend against or to deter.

Terrorism is a criminal act that influences an audience beyond the immediate victim. The strategy of terrorists is to commit acts of violence that draw the attention of the local populace, the government, and the world to their cause. The terrorists plan their attack to obtain the greatest publicity, choosing targets that symbolise what they oppose. The effectiveness of the terrorist act lies not in the act itself, but in the public or government’s reaction to the act. For example, in 1972 at the Munich Olympics, the Black September Organisation killed 11 Israelis. The Israelis were the immediate victims. But the true target were the estimated one billion people watching the televised event.

As of 2006, at least 232 of the India’s 608 districts were afflicted, at differing intensities, by various insurgent and terrorist movements. In August 2008, National Security Advisor M.K Narayanan said that there are as many as 800 terrorist cells operating in the country. More than 4500 terrorist incidents occurred in India between the years 1970 and 2009. The important states affected by these attacks are the Jammu Kashmir, Maharashtra, Delhi, Punjab, Assam, Nagaland, Karnataka…the list goes on…

The most fatal attacks include the 26/11 Mumbai attack, attack on Parliament, besides there have been hundreds of attacks and thousands of deaths, including the most recent one on 13th February 2010 where a bomb explosion at the German bakery in Pune killed fourteen people, and injured at least 60 plus. More gravely the attacks on the world like that of the 9/11 WTO, the attempt to blast London airport, and the everyday blasts in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran, Palestine etc. are a posing a threat to humanity.

Finding the reasons for these acts may seem difficult but not impossible. It may be the act of true believers in a cause or religion, or it may be simply for the purpose of manipulating political sentiment for more mundane pursuits, usually money and power. Sometimes true believers can be manipulated by more cynical and worldly individuals. Terrorists may believe they are fighting for a cause, while in fact they are mere pawns in a much larger struggle.

The small group actions generally referred to as terrorism in the media are usually attempts by those who have been made to feel powerless, to define power for themselves. Religious fundamentalists hate and fear the values of the modern world, Leftist terrorists see violence as the only recourse against the economic ruling classes, nationalists act from patriotism, all feel that they have no other choice.

Almost any nation born of violent revolution has its roots in what we call terrorism. This definition does not distinguish between actions against military or civilian targets, and is only concerned with the relationship of the terrorist entity to the observer. Terrorists who fight against America’s ideological and national enemies are often called “freedom fighters” by their sponsors, and when they later bite the hand that feeds them, the freedom fighters again become “terrorists” in the eyes of the media.

The cause of terrorism is the existence and abuse of political and economic power and all terrorism is abuse of power. Therefore, power itself and the addiction to power can be viewed as the ultimate cause of terrorism.

The consequences of terrorism is disastrous for all countries, both rich and poor, and their people. The normal social life gets totally disturbed and a large number of innocent lives go in vain. Fear and terror haunt everybody and the productivity of people is miserably stalled. Everything may come to a halt and the dream of leading a life of happiness and peace is shattered. Economic and social development of the society cease to uncertainly. Almost all become paralyzed amid terrorist incidents.

Terrorism breaks down the social, economic, political and legal structures of the affected countries and the entire process of development stops. Socio-cultural mosaic goes to rack and ruin, and the economy of the country suddenly becomes a shamble. The rule of law and human rights crumble and people suffer terribly. For developing countries, terrorism is fatal to their development planning because they can hardly withstand the violent assaults of terrorism; their longing for a better and brighter future goes up in smoke. Moreover, terrorism not only weakens the established political authority but also brings about political instability. In that situation the maintenance of the rule of law and human rights become almost impossible.

Terrorism idealizes violence, does away with morality, distorts politics, promotes totalitarianism, subverts progress, destroys the apparatus of freedom in democratic societies. In fact, it destroys the will of a civilized society to defend itself. It appears that everything that mankind strives for collapses like a house of cards. As a matter of fact, terrorism is war against civilization.
Peace and Terrorism cannot exist together. The perfect answer to the terror activities will be given when the world community join its hands and fights together. This war against civilization is not a big threat when all the countries come together regardless of how unique their cultures may be, whichever the religion they follow be, whatever their backgrounds are … the triumph of humanity against terrorism is sure.

It isn’t enough to talk about peace, one must believe it.
And it isn’t enough to believe in it, one must work for it.

– Eleanor Roosevelt

Peace is the property of humanity and it is the work of humans to keep it intact by fighting terror.


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  1. Ajitesh Mitra

    My indian sisters nd brothers,I m from west bengal(kharagpur).I saw the 1992’s riot.I can’t forget that days.That time I was in Bangaluru for my diploma.There had my friends ASHOK,satish,yasmin,anoar.Yasmin & Anoar behave with me differently from that day.ohh GOD why, why?I m a HINDU ?I d’nt fill like that.Our sunshine,air,water,roads,schools,colleages,monsoons etc. are same.Is this war only for religion?No, NO .Indians, u all think & tell to ur God ur answares.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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