Terrorism is a syndrome. By its very existence it implicates the society. And terrorism is nothing new. It has been strategically used since centuries to intimidate, rebel, bring to notice an issue or a cause, strike against an enemy etc. Poverty, oppression, etc. is not THE root cause of terrorism. Apparently “terrorism is never simply the response to socio-economic conditions of marginality. It is always the product of a political project.”
It has been strategically used in almost every part of the world by a variety of groups – in Western Europe the historic separatisms of Irish republicanism in Northern Ireland and Basque nationalism in Spain, in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe Bosnia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Georgia, Chechen separatism, in African Rwanda it has been seen on a genocidal scale, the Middle Eastern conflicts of Israel, Palestine, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan and Libya, in Latin-America Peru, Venezuela, the Jihadis and Tamils in South Asia, …. the list seems endless. Terrorism has been on a variety of topics ranging from the extreme Left to extreme Right, has been political, economical, issue-based, sponsored by state, and corporations, …. the list is endless.
How does one deal with terrorism and the terrorist? It might be too simplistic to just punish the perpetrator with death. Whose “side” would we take? In Rwanda? In Bosnia? In Peru? In Cambodia? In Spain? In Ireland? In Iran? In Palestine? In Afghanistan? Whose cause would I support? Anti-abortion? Anti-Gay? Green terrorists? Environmental activists? Women’s liberation? If terrorism is a crime as it causes death and destruction and thus needs to be “crushed”, how we deal with other crimes of similar magnitude but not so dramatic or visible?
Terrorism is here to stay. The faster we accept that, the better we may be able to deal with it. Because it is not a disease it cannot be “eradicated”. It is syndrome, a pattern of symptoms that characterize or indicate a particular socio-political condition. It is society’s face in the mirror. And the only way the reflection can be changed is to change the face.