Definition of terrorism

Terrorism has unfortunately become a common word in our vocabulary. But why? Well the world is too often hit by violent acts that is classified as terrorism. But what can actully be classified as terrorism?

There are many definitions of this word. United Nations(UN) defines it: “as any act “intended to cause death or serious bodily harm to civilians or non-combatants with the purpose of intimidating a population or compelling a government or an international organization to do or abstain from doing any act.”

But is it terrorism when some nutcase fires some bullets upon the Synagogue in Oslo, at a time when it’s not very likely that the bullets could harm someone? The Israeli ambassador in Norway classified this as terrorism. After the UN classification, no. But I don’t say that we should stand very rigid by this definition, or definitions in general, because everything is in the eye of the beholder.

There has been an inflation in the use of the word terrorism, nearly every violent action of a bigger nature is put in this box. And it seems like it’s very easy to just do this when something like that comes up. I don’t say that 9/11 wasn’t an act of terror, because it definitely was. But is it an extensive wave of terrorism what nearly everyday happens in Iraq and Israel? Have someone ever thought about civil war as a more apropriate word. We don’t want to use that, because it is much more serious. That requires more action than just shooting a bunch of bad guys and lock the rest of them up and throw away the key. You may actually have to negotiate or involve yourself a little in it.

The same thing goes with the word terrorist. The criterias for being a terrorist or expected to be so are very diffuse and stigmatising. A nervous Arab man with a big beard and dark eyes playing with his cell phone in an airport is very easily suspected to fit what we all visualize as a terrorist. And why do we visualize them like that? The media plays a key role in this.

Read through a couple of newspapers, especially tabloids, at nearly any given day and count how many times you see the words terrorist, Arab, muslim and so like in close connection to each other. Of course the word terrorist sells papers at the same level as sex does. Money talks no matter what you do, I know that.

The thing is that this contributes the use of words that shouldn’t be used lightely, because of the serious meanings and horrifying memories they carry. So is the Arab sitting next to you on the bus a possible terrorist? Or is the act of nutcases with guns terrorism? Just be careful with the words, an inflation in use of them can make them lose their meaning when we really need them.

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3 Responses to “Definition of terrorism”

  1. […] I mean, come on!  This is the standard for terrorizing a town.  Wow!  I’m sure they did intimidate some classmates and behaved inappropriate, but terrorizing?  Is anyone else tired of Media perverting the “terror” word for their own agenda?  Checkout another blog’s successful look into the word “terror”. […]

  2. jeremyraybrown Says:

    I agree with your analysis, the word terror is dreadfully misused in today’s society. The shameful part about it is our media and politians have unethically used it to push their own agenda, get elected, and make money. The appearance of a muslim with a beard in an airport is going to strike fear in people for the forseable future and I think that is totally understood. I just hope people act rationally and manage their fears to avoid racist and inappropriate reactions to an appearance.

  3. VERY interesting article. Thanks for posting.

    Here is my take on it:
    Terrorism works by taking a noble idea and corrupting it with distortions.
    A poorly educated religious fanatic takes the words of a holy book, combines it with the desire to rid his country of foreigners and convinces someone with even less education that strapping explosive to himself and killing others is “the will of God.” This is morally bankrupt. One has to wonder who is more at fault here, the bomber, or the misguided “teacher” who advocates death as some kind of
    salvation.

    The war in Iraq takes a noble idea and distorts it.
    The idea is “Democracy in the Middle East.”
    Poorly educated leaders in the US use the mantra of spreading democracy, or defending freedom to take over the oil fields of a sovereign nation. They wrap
    themselves in the flag, and establish a facade of religious righteousness. You can almost hear the strains of “Onward Christian Soldiers!” But God weeps at the mixing of war and holiness. In truth, the reasons for the war invasion are distorted. The good will of the soldiers betrayed. There is no doubt here that unenlightened leaders have misused the power of the military. You cannot force
    “freedom” on a nation at the end of a rifle.

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