Terror attacks are now so rife worldwide, it should be on the breakfast menu. Terrorism has in the last two decades or so, assumed an identity – it is now synonymous with Islam, Muslims, Al-Qaeda, Alshabab, The Taliban and the so-called Islamic State or ISIS. If you tell me none of the above words came to mind at the sight of the word ‘Terrorism’, you are as hypocritical as they come.
Acts of terrorism are perceptively delimited by threats of violence like bombings, beheadings, abduction, arson or the actual carrying out of these acts.
But what really is Terrorism? I took the time to look up the word from various lexicons including Oxford, Cambridge, Merriam-Webster and below are the findings;
All the above lexicons ascribe intimidation, threats of violent acts and the use of violence against people to attain political goals to Terrorism. No doubt, this is exactly the choreography Al-Qaeda, so-called Islamic State and the likes. The end result of which often include mass killings and mass destruction. These groups certainly satisfy the tenets of terrorism. Their actions are widely publicized and the world has unconsciously or rather consciously, accepted the given identity of Terrorism – Islam, Muslims.
Whether by ignorance or deliberate condition, we fail to acknowledge or recognize the many non-Islamic terrorists among us. For whom we work and with whom we work and live.
Before elaborating on the above statement, let’s make a quick detour to when the great sage Aristotle said that ‘Man is by nature a political animal.’ A statement I consider factual to the core, regardless of some critics maintaining that not all men are interested in politics and therefore do not partake in it. Now let’s assume these critics are right.
Removing politics out of public affairs and relocating it into all aspects of human interaction as scholars like Leftwich posit, “Politics comprises of all activities of cooperation, negotiation and conflict, within and between societies, whereby people go about organizing the use, production and distribution of human, natural and other resources in the course of production and reproduction of their biological and social life.” (Leftwich, 2004).
In lieu of this, politics is not only a state affair, but is present at home, in the church, in schools, in the workplace and in any setting that involves human interaction.
It is also common knowledge that human beings are selfish interest maximizers; putting their interests first, and will do whatever it takes including employing intimidation, threats of violent acts and the use of violence against people to attain political goals [keep in mind the ‘Political’ refers to human interactions at all levels.]
So the politician, employer, lecturer, religious leader, traditional leader, law enforcement agents, parent or any other person in a position of power over others strives to primarily achieve his or her whims and caprices before considering the interest of the next person. These persons may not resort to bombings, beheadings are nuclear attacks, rather the use of intimidation, threats of violent acts and even the use of other forms of violence. These tactics are however aimed at compelling the target to conduct themselves in a displeasing manner in order for the perpetrator to achieve his goals. Such actions and their accompanied outcomes are terrorizing to whoever is on the receiving end.
In light of this, next time you hear the words ‘Terrorism’ or ‘Terrorist’, before you point at the bearded man in a turban, the pretty lady in a head scarf or any seemingly-Muslim person, look to the politician, employer or the leader close by who is subjecting you to all manner of despicable things just so they can satisfy their personal interests.
And someday when you find yourself at the helm of affairs and decide to take revenge or subject another to the same ill treatment, even worse, know that you are no better than those who terrorized you.
Terrorism exceeds explosives; beyond religion and race. Our very humanity with its accompanied desires and aspirations have the latent, if not obvious potential to cause us to subscribe to Terrorism.
We could all be Terrorists.
By: Marie Franz-Fordjoe/citifmonline.com/Ghana