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So what exactly is Terrorism??
January 30, 2011
4:55 am
Forum Posts: 709
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July 30, 2010
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Terrorism: the Ambivalence of its Definition

After the historical 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, the term ‘terrorism’ had gained the highest recognition by its worldwide popularity. These terrible turn of events showed to the world the probability and impact of the international terrorism phenomenon. Modern societies and it people almost certainly did not realize the potential large scale effects of this until they have seen and felt its lasting and adverse effects.[1] Townshend (2002) stated that after the 9/11 incident, people are put in a certain situation in which they found their selves in an “apparently open-ended and permanent state of emergency”, which is called a ‘war against terror’.[2] The consequences of this state are as hard to make out as terrorism itself. Today, the presence of the terrorist attacks and threat of terrorism is a global concern. As a result, critics of this act declared a universal all-out war. Much has been planned, given, done, and implemented to address the various effects of this phenomenon especially to identified aspects of contemporary societies. But still, the fact remains that terrorism ignites debates and argumentations as to what does terrorism actually means. Its roots are being traced in order to classify what are the key concepts of this term for such act is considered an act of terrorism. Terrorism, Townshend added, “is never easy to understand, and least of all in the aftermath of a terrorist attack”.[3]

This paper aims to provide a comprehensive discussion on the concept of terrorism. Specifically, it presents varying definitions of the term, difficulty in definition, effects particularly in tourism, economy, and politics, and the threats in the civil aviation industry. The wide range of literatures related to terrorism and its related topics are extensive. Given with this fact, this report goes over the related literatures associated on the focus of the discussion.

Definition of Terrorism

It has been recognized that people “appear to live in an era of violence, a time of terror” (1978).[4] Today, terror has become sophisticated that it includes even the highest form of technology man had ever invented. It is not only in the number of brilliant and often shocking incidents but also as a compelling subject for academic analysis and topic for policy decision makers. Similarly, authors and scholars define terrorism in varying ways. With this fact at hand, there are debates and controversies regarding the most ample, all-encompassing, and acceptable description of the term. The following discussion focuses on the selected definitions of terrorism, which the author objectively preferred.

(1998) provides a simple yet inclusive definition of terrorism. According to him, terrorism is “the deliberate creation and exploitation of fear through violence or the threat of violence on the pursuit of political change.[5] Hoffman’s definition included the essential features of any terrorist activity. As such, the definition will classify a certain act on whether or not it is terrorism in nature. The mere presence of violence does not certify that a certain action is terrorism related. There should be a deliberate exhibition of violence among people wherein it also induces fear among a greater number of victims. Political objectives are also a must as they encompass the consequences of the action. Hence, Hoffman’s deliberation of terrorism simply sums up a practical definition of the term.

(2004 ; 2004) describes terrorism as "the organized use of violence to attack noncombatants ('innocents' in a special sense) or their property for political purposes".[6] added in his definition the presence of the concept of targeting civilians as well as their properties.[7] This attribute of terrorism is considered to be the most common criterion to categorize such act. It is a “common public complaint” even if there is no definite description of who are the referred noncombatants.[8] Another aspect of definition that is remarkable is the presence of an opening for the purposes of questioning the specific goals every terrorist wanted to achieve. It is very evident that every terrorism attack is coupled with the demands of the people behind it. Then, it is safe to speculate that the varying aims of terrorists and their groups contribute to the difficulty of standardizing its definition.

The definition provided by leaves the issue of “political purposes” as they comprise "the major interest of terrorism, both theoretically and morally".[9] Then, it also touches on the argument of properties owned by civilians. On the contrary, it excludes threats to violence "because ... the threat to do X is generally not itself an instance of doing X, and in the present case the threat to do an act of violence is not itself an act of violence, no matter how disturbing it may be".[10]

Conversely, definition forgets to indicate the important factor of inducing fear among the people.[11] Inducing fear is one of the most important features of a terrorism related case. However, due to the absence of such characterization, Coady’s definition is inconclusive. Despite this weakness of the definition, Halwani commended definition by including the facts that one can think of cases of terrorism that are done individually, without the umbrella of an organization.[12] Lastly, does not claim that his definition captures all cases, but he should have commented on it, at least by explicating the term "organized" and what he really means by that.

According to (1996), terrorism is the “substate” use of violence for the purposes of creating havoc in a society and weakening up to overthrowing the present government authorities for power take over or political change.[13] This is among the earliest definition of the term. However, it is stated that this definition is mainly focused on the rules of engagement present in any terrorism act. As Laqueur added “Since 1900, terrorists' motivation, strategy, and weapons have changed to some extent.”[14] That is why, it is just selective.

(2002) defined terrorism as the premeditated use, or threat of use, of extra-normal violence to obtain a political objective through intimidation or fear directed at a large audience.[15] According to both authors, terrorist attacks are characterized by political objectives, otherwise they are cannot be considered as terrorist acts but criminal acts. Also, terrorists often direct their violence and threats toward a vulnerable target group, not immediately involved with the political decision-making process that they seek to influence.[16] This definition is very comprehensive, however, the main weakness lies on the fact that the authors tries to generalize every act of insurgency or revolution against the state is terrorist, since these need not aim at civilians or their properties.

Terrorism is an act that seeks to influence a population significantly larger than the immediate target (2004).[17] This is generally pertains to international terrorism. The quality of public’s understanding is the most persuasive consideration in providing this definition. As people’s response on terrorism varied significantly, their individual perception of the meaning of terrorism is vital in describing the term. In encapsulates “force, coercive power, authority, legitimacy, behaviour, motives, intentions, antecedents and consequences”.[18] In relation to the differing perceptions of violence, terrorism can be seen as an easily recognised and undesirable activity, subjectively determined and shaped by social and political considerations.[19] These considerations provide a clearer view of the dimensions of the term.

Defining terrorism is still controversial. As the consequences of such activities increase and complicate, the manner in which every scholar views it also transform rapidly. In the end, there is hope to provide a standard characterization of terrorism.

The Difficulty in Defining Terrorism

(2004) edited a book basing on philosophical perspective and he argues that a good definition of terrorism is not founded “in terms of the agent, nor in terms of the agent's ultimate goal,” and should tolerate for the possibility that victims of terrorism might themselves make use of it in response.[20] Further, he added that such a definition should focus on what is done and what the immediate point of doing it is, and put to one side the identity of the agent and their ultimate and allegedly justifying aim.[21] The problem in defining terrorism is the vagueness of its categorization and classification of acts that can be claimed as such. There are some instances that government leaders call a certain action as terrorism in nature only to find out that it is not.

According to (2005), the most primary difficulty in creating a worldwide policy against terrorism is the absence of an established definition.[22] With this, there are many problems that persist and affect the proliferation of knowledge about it. To , among the problems are:

* a government “terrorist” is another’s “freedom fighter”;
* governments are themselves inconsistent on what they regard as terrorism; and
* the word “terrorism” is usually applied to only one-state actors and so ignores the role of governments in terrorism.[23]

More or less, the problem in defining terrorism lies in the different beliefs of people and societies about it. Conflicting knowledge about the term results to its further misinterpretation. Additionally, as cases of terrorism increases, the boundaries of its coverage also expand. This means that what considers to be a regular act of violence will fall to the category of terrorist acts given the fact that there is a feature of terrorism that is included in the case. In summary, the word “terrorism” is far more a political term than a legal one and its use varies according to the political expediency of each government at the time.[24] Furthermore, affirmed that it is essential to define terrorism particularly in relation to its proper use in analyzing the moral issues that surrounds it.[25] It is similarly argued that the term is relative in its usage and application.

One outstanding explanation in the problem of defining terrorism was observed by . To quote;

…the term's derogatory thrust and the political discourse are all major contributory factors to its complexity. Although there is hardly a definition which does not contain the word violence, the concept, rather than being considered as a technique of applying violence which in principle can be used by anyone in all sorts of conflict situations, is linked to certain actors only for certain types of conflicts. Often the well-worn phrase 'one man's terrorist is another man's patriot' is used, proving that the concept has been subjected to a double standard, and an 'in-group, out-group' distinction ().

The question of the definition of terrorism is fundamental to an understanding of the phenomenon and to the success of any rational measures directed against it.[26] A lot of of the definitional troubles challenge a lot of scholars, experts, and analysts who study terrorism. Primarily, they can be found scientific and ideological discourse on violence. Terrorism has been always depicted to the presence of violence and political motivation. Such definition is connected in terms of violation of various features such as “corporal integrity of the state, territorial or special integrity, of moral and legal decency, of rules and expectations and even as violations of self esteem, dignity and autonomy” (2006).[27]

Certainly, providing a succinct definition for "terrorism" or describing terrorism activities is not easy. All the given definitions give plausible explanations that seem to get at the essence of terrorism. Such definitions are also pertinent to a moral discussion of terrorism. them again, it should not be forgotten that as the world and its people changes, terrorism in the same way transforms.

Characteristics of Modern Terrorism

Looking on the provided definition of terrorism, the following characteristics must be present in order to be called as such.

Violence - In international terrorism, threats are frequently parts of the pattern of violence but Thackrah emphasized that they do not replace the use of violence itself.[28] The actual use of violence is the primary prerequisite for terrorism. While all terrorists are criminals, it is indicated that not all criminals are terrorists even if they commit exactly the same acts. Thus, in considering a terrorist act, the presence of violence is basic. However, it is still significant to pay attention to some details.

Presence of fear and psychological effect or aftershocks – It is indeed terrifying to any person to be involved – directly or indirectly in any terrorism incident. All terrorists are motivated to create spectacle that induces fear and severe psychological impact.

Politically motivated – All terrorist activities are directed to violent acquisition of power. Terrorists are mostly driven by their political goals such as to demand change in national leadership.[29] It is generally a political tactic.

Planned targeting of civilians – The involvement – direct for that matter, of civilians is another focus of terrorism. Civilians and their properties are often subjected to force and used as primary subjects. To (2002), the inflicted suffering on people “accomplishes the terrorists' goals of instilling fear, getting a message out to an audience, or otherwise accomplishing their political end.”[30]

These features qualify the definition of any terrorism action. If such are present, regardless of any consequence, it is an act of terror. But then again, it is always important to see to it that any incident that is perceived to be a terrorist act fall to two or more characteristics given other considerations that affect the overall condition.

The Effects of Terrorism

(2006) said that “if terrorism can never be justified, it is discussed as if terrorist actions can be the worst actions humans perform, forgetting, for example, the comparable destruction and death brought on by conventional warfare”.[31] With this, the effects of terrorism will never be understood. There are varied references for terrorism particularly on the economic impacts. For instance, (2004) provide a good overview of empirical literature on the economic consequences of terrorism.[32] While most researchers have concentrated on the impact of terrorism on investment and economic growth (1996;1998;2001;[ 2004;2005[37]), others connect it with tourism.

There are significant amount of literatures pertaining to terrorism and tourism. For example, the assessment of terrorism-related losses in the tourism sector (1992)[38]. Usually the aforementioned studies employ the number of incidents as an indicator of terrorist activity and, therefore, focus on a single country or a few countries, where terrorist events are of comparable frequency and magnitude. Meanwhile, the research endeavor of Sönmez, Apostolopoulos, and Tarlow (1999) favored the inclusion of crisis management planning in tourism especially in tourist spots that are susceptible of terrorist attacks.[39] This is directed to the purposes to provide sustainable development and marketing/management strategies that will protect and rebuild their image of safety/attractiveness, to reassure potential visitors of the safety of the area, to reestablish the area's functionality/attractiveness, and to aid local travel and tourism industry members in their economic recovery. They determined the potency of risk of terrorism in various tourist destinations. As such, they recommended having a crisis management plan in place, establishing a tourism crisis management task force, developing a crisis management guidebook, and partnering with law enforcement officials (1999).[40] Also, a general survey research study conducted by (2005) dealt with the perception of travel risk, anxiety, and intentions to travel internationally. In this research, terrorism and socio-cultural risk came out as the most significant predictors of travel anxiety.[41]

Other related studies include political turmoil. Richter (1999) conducted her research to three Asian countries such as Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan.[42] She concentrated on the relationship of political turmoil in relation to tourism development. (1994) also studied the changes and patterns of origin regions evident in international tourism.[43] They recognized the impact of dramatic political and economic changes occurred in the early 1990s in three different regions namely Europe, Asia, and the Middle East particularly on international tourism. Research results showed that Europe is still the leader in trips generated, although a significant proportion from this region is declining over time. Further, Asian countries exhibited the most marked improvement due primarily to the tremendous economic expansion taking place on the Pacific Rim. In contrast, countries of the Middle East have declined in importance relative to international tourism as an effect of political and economic instability in the region. Meanwhile, (1999) focused his subject to a comprehensive typology of 300 cases of acts of crimes and violence that occurred in various tourist locations worldwide.[44] He classified the attributes of acts of crime and violence, analyzed the differential effects that such attributes have on tourism demand, examined the effectiveness of methods used for prevention and recovery from such acts, and identified the parties responsible for prevention and recovery. This is a relevant research that paved way to more research studies directed to the discussion of crime, violence and terrorism based topics.

The main effect of terrorism to tourism is that in increases fear of travel, decreasing the number of tourists visiting the country. Burke (2005) stated that “heightened fears have reduced the level of travel to and from various countries resulting in a drop in air travel and tourism” ().[45] The September 11 attacks in the United States a few years ago are being pointed as the cause why tourist spots are now the best locations for terrorists to attack. The said terrorist attacks (henceforth, 9/11) distorted the way in which the global community perceives terror as a threat to national security. It has been realized that a terrorist incident can result in large-scale damage to both human and physical capital and can have permanent implications for economies across the globe.(2005) stated that the Counter Terrorist Solution or CTS believes that the September 11 attacks strengthened the security concentration on embassies and military facilities making them ‘hard targets’, while leaving tourist locations as ‘soft spots’ for terrorist attacks.[46] The logic is that extensive traffic in hotels such as human, material and vehicles, inside and outside the buildings is usually unprotected and unregulated (2005).[47] Such weak points are especially true for larger hotel chains that incorporate bars, restaurants, clubs, shops and other public facilities – all turn security into a much more complicated matter. Basically, believed that the logical assumptions of CTS pose new security challenges within the hospitality industry and whole tourism industry.[48] Meanwhile, (2002) foresee the possibility that in response to augmented security measures in rich countries, terrorists shift their activities to low- and middle-income countries while continuing to attack people and property from "prime target" countries.[49]

According to the document published online by (2005), terrorist actions can have both affect trade directly and indirectly.[50] They added, “As an immediate consequence of the destruction of human and physical capital, trade disruptions can be important for certain economic agents… Terrorism may also involve a destruction of traded goods or a disruption of industrial supply chains”. Most studies that are conducted on the economic consequences of terror do not deal with the actual damage (in terms of human life, property, momentary disruptions through closure of airports, etc.). Instead, they focus on the impact of changed market conditions in the face of terror and the continued risk and uncertainty it entails and on the security measures taken in response to terror and the higher transaction costs this implies ( 2005).[51]

Despite the reports that tourism locations are now ‘soft spots’ for terrorist attacks, tourist spots - in fact – are already soft spots for terrorists as early as the 1980s. (2002) stated that there was a rash of terrorist incidents in 1985 that made an increase in terrorism-related inquiries and purchases of travel insurance.[52] Some examples of terrorism attacks on travel in the mid-eighties include the December 27 attacks on the Rome and Vienna airports in which 20 were killed and 100 injured, began to affect both seasoned vacation travelers and business travelers (2002).[53] Such incidents and other made overall traveler concern more confined to areas associated with terrorism rather than travel per se. Concerns for terrorism in travel were even heightened by media coverage, leaving travel agencies with no choice but to take terrorism in stride.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the (2001) stated that the first reactions of tourists were to return home, and for others who did not travel yet, to cancel their travel bookings.[54] Of course, the logical explanation is that people do not want to risk their lives on dangerous place or places that are perceived dangerous. Safety is basically one of the major dimensions of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs theory. The most basic theory of motivation is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The theory consists of five sets of goals, which are physiological, safety, love, esteem and self-actualization ( 1943).[55] Safety in this theory means protection from danger. Basically, if a person feels that there is no security in a particular, that person will not be motivated to go to that place; or in danger erupted in a particular place, definitely tourist will quickly look for the fastest way to get out of the place.

One example of a country that suffers a decapitated tourism industry due to terrorism is Kenya, mainly because of the notorious terrorist attacks that hit the country.[56] Incidents that can be added on the list are the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Nairobi in 1998 and of a beach hotel in Mombasa in 2002, and the unsuccessful missile strike against an airplane chartered by Israeli tourists (2003).[57] Those incidents “forced governments around the world to warn their citizens that Kenya is unsafe for tourist travel, which by some accounts is costing Kenya at least one million dollars per day” (2003).[58] Of course, the same logic can be applied to Iraq, Afghanistan and other terrorism attack hotspots.

The tourism sector also needs effective and efficient implementation of a dependable crisis management plan. Several studies are conducted to illustrate the importance of this. For example, (2004) dealt with crisis management in tourism sector as preliminary considerations in policy development.[59] She provided relevant facts that are useful in problem-solution and decision making and taking cases.

All in all, the vast literatures of terrorism and its effects not only to tourism but to business worldwide are still growing. As more and more researchers are inclined in understanding various occurrences and providing new innovations and ideas to deal with the negative effects of the said act, literature in terrorism and business will continue. Terrorism is a matter that needs worldwide attention. What is perceived to be an “all-out war” against terrorism needs individual responsibility among people and government leaders. Thackrah argues that “terrorism is not a universal phenomenon, but it is a historical one, emerging only at particular times and associated with particular developments in people's consciousness”.[60] He added that definitional professionals may in future express increasing doubts about the judgmental use of the term 'terrorism' and 'terrorists'.[61] Thus, the issue of terrorism is here to stay but what is important is the fact that the international community is aware of its predominance, and at the same time doing their share if not to stop, at least to prevent another terrorism attack similar or worst than the historical 9/11 bombings.

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

January 31, 2011
10:38 am
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To me, terrorism is kinda like art. I can't define it, but I know what it is when I see it. Or, when it comes to terrorism, I know who are the terrorists. Kissenger is a terrorist, Rahm Emanual is the son of a terrorist, Bush Sr. and Jr. are terrorists, Barry/Obummer is a terrorist, Cheney is a terrorist, Chertoff is a terrorist, Napalitano is a terrorist, CIA is a terrorist organization, etc. The school of the Americas trains terrorists. Terrorists used to be called "gorillas".

Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen... - Zbigniew Brezhinsky

January 31, 2011
5:46 pm
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But for most of us living in the USA, the town drunk driving home from the bar, is our biggest threat. More likely to bump us off than any terrorist or politian. That make them the #1 terrorist to me.

February 1, 2011
6:07 pm

@The_Joker: Simplify! Terrorism could best be considered Advanced Bullying. The objective is the same: Force your will upon others. If you do it 'right', you only have to coerce a few, and the rest will follow...for a while.

To put it another way: The only functional difference between a schoolyard bully, and an international terrorist, is the level of extremity. In both cases, the perpetrator seeks fortune & power. Sooner or later, each will meet an equivalent end; they will continue only until enough people decide not to tolerate them.

February 2, 2011
10:02 pm
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How 'bout "BOO!".....when your not lookin".

February 3, 2011
9:48 am
Forum Posts: 709
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July 30, 2010
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"vulcan6gun" wrote: @The_Joker: Simplify! Terrorism could best be considered Advanced Bullying. The objective is the same: Force your will upon others. If you do it 'right', you only have to coerce a few, and the rest will follow...for a while.

To put it another way: The only functional difference between a schoolyard bully, and an international terrorist, is the level of extremity. In both cases, the perpetrator seeks fortune & power. Sooner or later, each will meet an equivalent end; they will continue only until enough people decide not to tolerate them.

Everyone forgets one definition which is; "A Government that creates fear to take away rights of free individuals"

So say hello to the governments of the NWO (Just about Every Western Government including Australia's) 😉

Remember remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot...

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