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Thanks to the rapid development of the media, and especially of television, the more recent forms of terrorism are aimed not at specific and limited enemy objectives but at world opinion. Their primarypurpose is not to defeat or even to weaken the enemy militarily but not to gain publicity and to inspirefear – a psychological victory. The same kind of terrorism was practiced by a number of Europeangroups, notably in Germany, Italy, Spain, and Ireland. Among the most successful and most enduring inthis exercise has been the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).The PLO was founded in 1964 but became important in the 1967, after the defeat of the combined Arabarmies in the Six-Day War. Regular warfare had failed; it was time to try other methods. The targets inthis form of armed struggle were not military or other government establishments, which are usually toowell guarded, but public places and gatherings of any kind, which are overwhelmingly civilian and inwhich the victims do not necessarily have a connection to the declared enemy. Examples of this tacticinclude, in 1970, the hijacking of three aircrafts – one Swiss, one British, and one American – whichwere all taken to Amman. These and other operations by the PLO were remarkably successful inattaining their immediate objectives – the capture of the newspaper headlines and television screens.They also drew a great deal of support in sometimes-unexpected places, and raised their perpetrators tostaring roles in the drama of international relations. Small wonder that others were encouraged to followtheir example.For a while freedom and independence were used as synonymous and interchangeable terms. The earlyexperience of independence, however, revealed that this was a sad error. Independence and freedom arevery different, and all too often the attainment of one meant the and of the other, and the replacementof foreign overlords by domestic tyrants, more adept, more intimate, and less constrained in theirtyranny.A new phase in religious mobilization began with the movement known in western languages as pan-Islamism. Launched in the 1860s and 1870s, it probably owed something to the examples of theGermans and the Italians in their successful struggles for national unification in those years. TheirMuslim contemporaries and imitators inevitably identified their objectives in religious and communalrather than nationalist or patriotic terms, which at that time were still alien and unfamiliar. But with thespread of European influence and education, these ideas took root and for a while dominated bothdiscourse and struggle in the Muslim lands. Yet the religious identity and loyalty were still deeply felt,and they found expression in several religious movements, notably the Muslim Brothers. With theresounding failure of secular ideologies, they acquired a new importance, and these movements tookover the fight – and many of the fighters – from the failed nationalists.A letter to America published in November 2002, and attributed to Usama Bin Ladin, enumerates insome detail various offences committed not just by the government but also by the people of the US andset forth, under seven headings, “what we are calling you to do, and what we want from you.” The firstis to embrace Islam; the second is to stop your oppressions, lies, immorality, and debauchery; the third,to discover and admit that America is a nation without principles or manners; the fourth, to stopsupporting Israel in Palestine, the Indians in Kashmir, the Russians against the Chechens, and the Manila
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War Against Terrorism
When we think about the war on terrorism, we often think of other countries being at war with America and entire groups of people hating this country. Things are never so simple though. As usual it is a small thing that snowballed into something huge that has now taken on a life of its own. It all started with a man writing a book, a religious text, which made up lies about an entire religion. These people have been lied to and taught to hate everyone who does not feel the same way do. This is not entire countries or a whole religion. It is a small group of people who believed a lie.
The war on terrorism goes on every single day because a small portion of some Muslim extremists want to create chaos and terror in this country because they believe that we are what is wrong with the world. They think this because we go to war to help countries they don’t believe we should and because we pray differently than they do. When you put it that way, it seems like an exaggeration on some very small issues. And that is what it is.
These people are often conditioned from a young age to hate this country for any reason they are given. Some don’t even know why they are willing to destroy us. They just believe what they are told by others who think we are the enemy. This tragic war continues to go on because of a fraction of people who choose chaos instead of peace and violence rather than harmony. So many people still believe that whole countries or religions are corrupt or evil because of this misunderstanding in what they stand for.
Hopefully, these people will educate themselves, realize that they are corrupting their own religion and doing things not sanctioned by their actual holy book and stop the fight. Until then we have to have task forces and agencies just to watch out for the next attack. We don’t hear about most of them because they are stopped, but there have been many more attempts since 9/11. We just have to hope that everyone comes to the truth in their own time.
Until that day comes though, we are at war. But please don’t get it wrong, we are not fighting an entire people, just the few who wish us harm. So don’t single out anyone who “looks like a terrorist” because of their skin color or religion. Take the road to peace and let peace come of it.