Thursday, August 13, 2009

Define "Terrorism"

For many years, the definition of terrorism has become a debate. An act cannot be considered as terrorism without any clear understanding of what is terrorism.

In general, terrorism is defined as an act that create terror or violent to other people and cause death or bodily injury.

But sometimes, one is doing a violence to defend himself or to others good. And since any violence is an counter-terrorism, then he would become a terrorist. If we accept that kind of understanding, then people who has given a lot of contribution to our world would become terrorist too.

That's why, an international definition of terrorism has been proposed. The first noticeable attempt to define terrorism arose from The League of Nations. Terrorism was defined "all criminal acts directed against a State and intended or calculated to create a state of terror in the
minds of particular persons or a group of persons or the general public".

And then, in scholarly community, many proposals have been made. One of them that was noteworthy was made by Alex P. Schmid and A. J. Jongman in 1988. They defined terrorism as,
“Terrorism is an anxiety-inspiring method of repeated violent action, employed by (semi-) clandestine individual, group or state actors, for idiosyncratic, criminal or political reasons, whereby—in contrast to assassination—the direct targets of violence are not the main targets. The immediate human victims of violence are generally chosen randomly (targets of opportunity) or selectively (representative or symbolic targets) from a target population, and serve as message generators. Threat- and violence-based communication processes between terrorist (organization), (imperiled) victims, and main targets are used to manipulate the main target (audience(s)), turning it into a target of terror, a target of demands, or a target of attention, depending on whether intimidation, coercion, or propaganda is primarily sought.”
The last definition has been used internationally.

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