“Terrorism”. “Terrorists”. “Terrorist organizations”. We hear a lot these terms, not just recently, but in the last years. The people are even talking about an “era of terrorism” in which we live, an era that began in the 20th century and seems to reach its peak today, in the 21st century. A century which we imagined to be a period of high civilization, technology blossom, and worldwide peace.
Things are far from this and there is still a lot of work to be done to have the world we imagine. To better understand what happened and where all began we will present you the history of terrorism and terrorist organizations. From their early existence till nowadays.
How is terrorism defined
Terrorism is an act of war meant to resemble panic among civilians in order to put pressure on the political decision factors. Its purpose is to manipulate the masses and gain different advantages that could not be obtained through conventional methods.
Early ages of terrorism
The first acknowledged terrorist organization in history is the “Assassins”. They were a group of Islamic dissidents, acting in the medieval period, the 12-13 centuries. Their purpose was to spread horror among “unbelievers,” through violence and murder. In the end, the attacks were used to get money from the leaders of the Levant – both Muslims and Christians. The group was made known by its unique mode of operation because its members only killed with a dagger, one specially made for them. Their victims were either noble or political leaders or members of the clergy, being carefully chosen to send a strong message and spread panic among the rest of the population.
Terrorism emergence in Europe
The first time the word “terrorism” was used in Europe was in 1789 during the French revolution. It was the act of using terror and violence to enforce the public order by the government troops. A few years later these methods were adopted by the Russian tsar to eliminate his political opponents. By that time it was a concept used to describe the violent actions of the state.
The modern age and the terrorist organizations
The first act of terrorism in the modern age was committed by Gavrilo Princip, who murdered Franz Ferdinand, the heir prince of the Austrian crown, in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Princip was part of a secret organization that could be considered as a terrorist one, who aimed to liberate Bosnia from the Austro-Hungarian Empire. As a result, this led to the outbreak of World War I, ending with over 20 million deaths.
Terrorism continued to exist during the inter-war period, serving domestic interests, or to send warnings to external enemies. It also existed during the Cold War, even though tactics had changed in the meantime. The two great powers struggled to avoid a nuclear war, but mutually shook each other with minor “incidents”, giving birth to “international terrorism.” In the rest of the world, there have been various movements that have fought for their country’s independence from colonial powers and used terrorist tactics in the process.
According to experts, the era of “modern” terrorism begun with the hijacking of a plane flying from Tel Aviv to Rome in 1968. Terrorists were part of the Popular Front for the Palestine Liberation and took all passengers hostages, asking the release of some of their comrades. Thus, civilians became “exchange currency” in the negotiations between two opposing camps.
The present day
Today the most known terrorist organizations are Al-Qaeda and ISIS. Their target is the western civilization, USA, and West European countries. Their goal is to destroy these cultures who, in their opinion, oppress the Muslim people. This, despite the fact that there are many Muslims leaving peacefully in these countries. The USA managed somehow to limit the terrorist attacks on their territory by eliminating Al-Qaeda’s leader, Osama bin Laden. On the other hand, the European authorities seem to fail in keeping this phenomenon under control.
In conclusion, what are your thoughts on this subject? How do you think we can end terrorism and eliminate terrorist organizations? Is there a peaceful way to do it or not? Let us know in a comment below. Thanks!