Terrorism An Act of Fear

Fear denotes the feeling of apprehensiveness and anxiety about a probable situation such that the party concerned is frightened of the event (Plaud, 1995). Additionally, an emotional anticipation of danger also indicates the element of fear. Looking at the definition of fear from a different perspective, it is the profound respect of a supreme being or supernatural forces. Terror is a term that refers to an extreme feeling of anxiety as a result of fear or the individual who inspires this fearful feeling. A terrorist is the radical that actually implements terror as a weapon that is religiously, socially, emotionally or politically motivated.

Terrorism is the threat and calculated employment of violence against innocent residents aimed at accomplishing goals. Furthermore, terrorism is mostly used as a means of coercion and it equally entails the deliberate commission acts of brutality that eventually causes the victims to suffer. Violence is utilized in terrorism to instill fear which is done randomly to as many people as possible (Albritton, 2006). There are several types of terrorism such as state-sponsored terrorism, anarchist terrorism and right wing terrorism which is rare as it is mainly an attack on refugees. Others include the left wing terrorism which usually limits the employment of violence. Finally, there is the religious terrorism and the nationalist terrorism which is the most violent (Fleming, 2008). This could involve a whole country such that the reaction forces an individual or government to comply with the terrorists demands. In light of this view, this paper will center on terrorism as an act of fear by considering some of the instances of fear that cause terrorism and a case study on Northern Ireland.
The Northern Ireland was a center of focus as a result of the emphasis by the United States to eradicating terrorism all over the world (Livingstone, 1983). This study entailed the discovery of the causes and origins of terrorism in Northern Ireland. Some of the findings gave an insight to fear as the backbone of many terrorism attacks. Ever since the island was divided in 1919, it has been involved in an unstable relationship with the British. The growth and genesis of terrorism in this island were alluded to fear of physical and cultural survival due to the human rights abuses that were witnessed in the region.

The political rights of the people were never given keen interest thus the individuals were filled with uncertainty, insecurity fear and lose confidence in the leadership they had. The limits on the political rights and civil of the Catholic majority within the Northern Ireland had a major role to the origin of terrorism in this island. Notably, the British abuse of security rights fueled the number of Irish citizens that were in support of and took part in terrorist activities. This was because fear of insecurity is usually a strong cause for any set of people to panic.

Usually, fear triggers war especially when one group that is oppressed perceives a threat to its physical or cultural survival. The fear of extinction eventually leads to war especially when a group which is threatened strongly believes that it can avoid this imminent danger through violence. During the colonial times, it is acknowledged that in the colonized states most of the nationalism movements ended up into terrorism mostly due to oppression of the ethnic minority. There is a high likelihood of conflict when an ethnic group is disadvantaged be it in social status, economic opportunity, cultural expressions, political voice or their rights. These groups end up in the fear of being extinct and resolve to retaliation.

When there is inequality in the distribution of scarce resources, some individuals or groups end up having cumulated feelings of fear such that they are put in a mind frame of neo-colonialism. Such nations and groups tend to see the countries or groups with more resources being in a better position to manipulate them economically (Darity, 2004). This is the main reason why the super powers are usually the heart of most terrorism attacks. When any group is either relatively or absolutely deprived economically, they are inclined to rebel. According to the UN statistics (Pogge, 2005), the citizens in third world countries are worse off at the moment than they were thirty years ago as a result of inadequate resource distribution.

A democratic government is endorsed with the mandate to represent the people and offer political means for the people to voice their grievances. On this note, when a given set of individuals is not sufficiently represented, the people suffer from uncertainty, fear and lose confidence in the leadership that they have. In such a case, the basic liberties and rights are denied by the government. The citizens end up not receiving adequate fortification from the state and may resort to terrorism acts due to the fear of insecurity. Acts of terrorism that follows are then culminated as a result of retaliation so that they can put into power a government that will offer protection and safeguard their needs.

The fear of not being recognized as being among the intelligentsia class causes the individuals involved to mobilize the masses into acts of terrorism (Oliverio  Lauderdale, 2005). They do this in search of recognition and also so that they can go down the books of history. Essentially, this forms the main reason as to why there are several individuals who come up to declare responsibility of some terrorism acts. The intelligentsia group will usually induce ideas that incite and would result to terrorism in a bid to be recognized. The goals of most terrorism acts by such people include fame, notoriety, riches, audience and hero-worship. Too many individuals here borrow heavily from past terrorist acts and then utilize the same know how to catapult themselves into some level of prominence.

The fear of Allah and adherence to the Muslim faith causes some terrorism acts which result to increased levels of dehumanization. In such attacks, the terrorists are either sent by a religious leader or their own conviction in the name of a holy war-jihad and they equally perish with the innocent victims. It is reported that, in his lifetime, the prophet Mohammed organized about 86 (Mcdonnell, 2004) expeditions that were against the people who either came in the way of his ambitions or refused to pursue his teachings. One is left to wonder whether it was fear that caused him to organize these expeditions. The prophet goes down in history as having perpetrated terrorist acts all over Arabia. It is also said that he did all these under Allahs instruction in the Koran. Some of the present day staunch Muslims follow in the prophets footsteps for the fear of Allahs punishment.

Many terrorists claim that violence is the only way to implement the change after long deliberations, i.e. fear of living in complacence where there is no initiative to usher change. There are several terrorism cases that carry this explanation. A case in point is the bombing of the Abortion clinic in the 1990s (Kelly, 1999) and the groups such as Animal Liberation Front gave this as the only solution to end the acts of abortion. Others include the Zionists who found the only way to create a Jewish state was by bombing the British targets. The infamous Osama bin Ladens declaration that there would be war on American interests came from his deep rooted belief and fear that the U.S. troops which were stationed within Saudi Arabia were an abomination to the type of Islamic state which he believed was to be existent in the Arabian Peninsula. With this notion, he implemented a series of attacks in the U.S so that they would withdraw from Saudi Arabia. In addition to this, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine decided that the armed attacks toward Israel would be a response to the usurpation of their land and therefore justifiable.

Generally, fear strikes most people in the most vicious ways possible. Before fear establishes its dominion, it usually colonizes the peoples imagination. Some acts of terrorism are meant to instill fear in the target population. Basing on the concept of totalitarianism, it has moved all the way from Lenin to Stalin, then to Hitler. From Hitler to the Ayatollahs down to Saddam Hussein followed by Osama bin Laden and finally to Yasser Arafat. It is evident that some of the terrorists had a motive of creating fear. Arafat, for example did not want to build a state as his followers thought, but to destroy in order to instill fear in the victims. A further illustration is through Osama bin Laden who was not out to defend the Muslims rights but to murder as many Americans as possible so as to destroy America. On the other hand, Saddam Hussein was not out to defend his people but to cause his neighbors to fear his capabilities (Borradori, 2005).

Fear as a cause of terrorism can be curbed by the prevention of conflict together with any elements that cause the volatile mix of dissatisfaction and oppression. In spite of the terrorist acts that have been committed, there are so many unanswered queries to do with terrorists and terrorism. The mere reference of terrorism as cowardly and evil and accusing terrorists of being jealous at times beats logic. The only way to resolve such issues is by dialogue and taking keen interest in the feelings of others regarding certain matters and especially matters that causes fear.

Much as these recommendations may take time, it is proper to make the first move so that nations and communities abstain from future foreign conflict that may result into the animosity acts related to terrorism. A lot of investment needs to be made in universities, schools and colleges to educate people and generate a culture of security especially in nations like Afghanistan. According to the case study of the Northern Ireland it was found that there exists a very strong relationship between terrorism, fear and human rights.


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