Domestic Terrorism Essay

Pages: 5 (1519 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Terrorism

Domestic Terrorism

As the world evolves, so do its problems. For instance, on the one hand, the it community has come up with new gadgets and applications to improve the quality of our life, but on the other hand, the population becomes more sedentary and the incidence of cardio-vascular diseases increased. Another major threat of the modern day society is the lack of proper measures of safety or security. And in the most advanced countries, despite the existence of such measures, the problem relies in the existence of people determined to threaten the safety and well-being of the citizens in order to achieve their personal desires.

Domestic and international terrorism

The acts are generally known as terrorism, and while the problem is not new, it is intensifying to gain international momentum. Terrorism is basically understood as "violence, or the threat of violence, calculated to create an atmosphere of fear and alarm. These acts are designed to coerce others into taking actions they would otherwise not undertake or to refrain from taking actions that they desire to take" (Riley and Hoffman, 1995). Terrorism, in all its forms is illegal and immoral. And in most cases, it is so severe and so socially unacceptable that its manifestations would even break the rules of war, given a situation in which war existed.

There are several forms of terrorism, identified through the lenses through which one looks. Through the lenses of geographic coordinates and national boundaries, two types of terrorism become distinguished -- domestic terrorism and international terrorism. The differentiating element revolves around the source and destination of the terrorist attracts in the meaning that domestic terrorism spreads nation wide whereas international terrorism spreads globe wide. In other words, "domestic terrorism is defined as involving groups or individuals whose terrorist activities are directed at elements of our government or population without foreign direction. International terrorism is defined as involving terrorist activities committed by groups or individuals who are foreign based and/or directed by countries or groups outside the United States or whose activities transcend national boundaries" (Riley and Hoffman).

In further assessing domestic terrorism, two distinct dimensions become obvious. The first is that of domestic terrorism from above and the second is that of domestic terrorism from below. Domestic terrorism from above occurs when the acts of terror are the doings of powerful parties, leading national powers, which use terrorism as a form of manipulating the population. Domestic terrorism from below on the other hand occurs when the acts of terror are the doings of the disadvantaged social groups, acts through which they seek revenge, justice or whatever other goals.

2. Political violence

There are several approaches to domestic terrorism pegged to political violence, which have become popular along the years. One is Mao Zedong's belief that the few high political powers controlled the state and disadvantaged the people. In this light of events, he created a system of beliefs according to which the people regain their power and their role within the state affairs with the usage of violence. They would become organized into armies and declare People's War, as an attempt of relieving themselves from the oppressions of terrorism from above.

Another approach to terrorism is offered by Franz Fanon, who argues that the western colonizers in Algeria are the main culprits for the sorrows of the native population. His belief was that the foreign settlers struggled to impose their own ways and minimize the culture and rights of the aboriginals. He stimulated the peoples to rise against the settlers and against the natives who had allied with them, in what is now known as urban terrorism. One cannot help but notice the similitude between Fanon's perceptions and the beliefs of modern day Al'Qaeda.

Carlos Marighella focuses on the ability of urban terrorism to lead to the desired outcomes. He militates for the formation of small violent groups -- guerillas -- which would act in two distinct meanings. They would first conduct acts of violence and they would then give meaning to the violence. The result would be materialized in the ability to influence the national governments. Finally, the last type of terrorism, promoted by Ernesto "Che" Guevara sees the initial formation of small guerillas, and then their gradual unification into a great and powerful army, which would act as a controlling fighting force (Florida International University).

As it has been mentioned throughout the introductory section, terrorism poses a greater threat today, but this is only due to the propagation of the international terrorism phenomenon. At the national level, terrorism is nearly as old as the peoples themselves. This belief is also promoted by Miki Vohryzek-Bolden, who argues that terrorism within the United States occurred as early as the sixteenth century.

3. Early forms of terrorism in the U.S.

A first example of early terrorism is given by the colonization of the United States by the European settlers. These would often use violence against the aboriginals and would terrorize them into submission. In time, the natives began to rebel against the Europeans and urban terrorism was born. Initially, the aboriginals would strike back as an act of revenge or justice -- terrorism through vigilantes. As events progressed however, they would become better organized and fight back the domestic terrorism from above with urban acts of terrorism.

Even as slavery was abolished, acts of terrorism continued, mostly from the part of the white colonists against the newly free blacks. And the most relevant example in this sense is the Ku Klux Klan. These early forms of terrorism are just as bad as the new ones as they are borne from the inability of man to comprehend and accept differences. In other words, they are borne from lack of tolerance and from selfishness. Yet, what is worse in today's acts of terrorism is that they benefit from the advances made in the past four centuries, meaning that they are more elaborate and more devastating.

4. Right wing terrorist groups

But modern day terrorism continues to draw significantly on the feelings which motivated early on terrorists. And probably the most relevant example in this sense is given by right wing terrorist groups. While they often militate for different things, they are also often united by their similar dislike and disapproval of sexual liberties, religious freedom and so on. In other words, they share the commonality of religious intolerance, ethnic intolerance and anti-governmentalist views. From their standpoint, the right granted by the second Amendment of the United States Constitution to bear arms is fully exploited.

Right wing terrorists, with their strong beliefs and intolerance of other peoples and values, are often associated with Odinism. Odinism is a Germanic cult, focused on acts of paganism and witchcraft. While there are several wings of Odinism, each militating for various ideals, they are all united by the belief in the supremacy of the white peoples. This belief has captured the attention of other groups, such as the neo-Nazis, the racist skinheads or any other group that also promotes the supremacy of the white race (Kaplan and Tharp, 1997). These beliefs represent a strong link between right wing terrorists and Odinists.

5. Greenpeace and PETA

While one would tend to think that the matter of terrorism is cut and clear, there are however some nuisance aspects worth further consideration. One of them is the potential inclusion of Greenpeace and PETA on the list of terrorist organizations. Greenpeace is a nongovernmental organization militating to reduce pollution, greenhouse gases, resource exploitation and so on, with the scope of ensuring environmental stability and sustainability. Yet, their determination and the methods they used have often constituted grounds for terrorism accusations. On several occasions, the Greenpeace activists barged into official locations hosting formal meetings and protested against various decisions that were discussed, such as the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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