To what extent will you go, to prove your point? Would you kill someone for it? Terrorism is defined as an act of violence intended to instill fear in the minds of people and is organized to achieve a political, religious or ideological goal. The number of assassinations and bombings in the recent years has increasingly gone up that even a 4th grader knows what a terrorist attack is. Due to the actions of a few groups of people terrorists have received a stereotype all over the world. Terrorism is often a result of oppression or is a due to views and beliefs of an individual or an entire organization. In some cases, the same group may be described as “freedom fighters” by its supporters and considered to be terrorists by its opponents. Terrorism can actually be seen as a cry for attention, and our media give them just that. The causes and effects of terrorist attacks depend on the motivation of an individual or an entire group.
Nobody in their right senses would resort to terrorism. One of the main reasons for terrorism is social and political injustice. People choose terrorism when they are trying to right what they perceive to be a social or political or historical wrong, when they have been stripped of their land or freedom, or denied their human rights. Everybody believes in something and the men who proclaim war against a small society or the whole nation does so because they believe violence bring about a change. Unlike Mahatma Gandhi who believed in ahimsa (fighting injustice with peace) these men believe that a change cannot be made unless they fight for it with guns and bombs.
Years of oppression and discrimination bring about a change in the beliefs and actions of many individuals, some might choose to follow the paths taken by great men in the past and some tries to make a change by terrorizing and instilling fear in society. The sanction imposed on Iraq, the presence of U.S military in Saudi Arabia and the support of Israel by the U.S caused one of most famous terrorist attack in history, the 9/11 attack on the world trade center. Terrorist attacks are not always for the cause of a society but also due to an individual’s personal belief and sometimes it is in the form of domestic terrorist attack like the Wall Street bombing or the Oklahoma city bombing.
What most people don’t think about is what happens after a terrorist attack. The men who give up their life in order to prove a point or bring about a change do not think what happens to families of the hundreds of people that are victims of a terrorist attack. Terrorist attacks cause instability in the lives of many people. Its effects the community and economy of the nation and also affects the system by which the nation function. The death and destruction caused by an attack leaves the country in ruins for months or even years. Almost every sector of the economy is affected by it. Terrorism imposes a significant economic effect on societies and will not only lead to direct material damage, but also to long term effects on the local economy. Due to a terrorist event, these economic agents suffer from impact through losses in physical and human capital.
Major terrorist attacks not only creates social imbalance but also creates racial stereotypes. Ever since the 9/11 attack the Muslims have been marked as “terrorists” by people around the world, mainly the west. Since when did terrorists get a face? The same typical long bearded Muslim man with a white turban holding a bomb can be seen on every poster related to terrorism. Even after 13 years, the consequences of the 9/11 attacks are still being felt by Muslims all over the world.
It is a facts that most Muslim Americans having to hide their religion, by changing their names or appearance, or by practicing their faith discreetly. A shadow of distrust and suspicion still follows many ordinary Muslims, not only in the United States but around the globe. A religion once known for its peaceful and loving nature is now associated with violence and aggression due to the actions of a group of men. Having a long beard, wearing a hijab or headscarf, or praying in a mosque are now the signs that people look for to accuse someone for terrorism.
Another obvious answer to the question “what are the effects of terrorism?” is WAR. Terrorist attacks on different countries result in distrust and aggression between two countries and this eventually results in long term enmity and in extreme cases lead to war between the nations. Some of the examples for bad relationships between countries are the relationship between America and Iraq or the relationship between India and Pakistan. Although there were no major consequences or effects after the 2008 Mumbai attacks it is not a secret that India and Pakistan are not in best terms with each other.
“We all have to be concerned about terrorism, but you will never end terrorism by terrorizing others” – Martin Luther King. Just like how our body fights viruses we need to fight terrorism by not letting it grow or multiply. The approach that can stop terrorism from multiplying lies in developing a long term plan, supported and financed by all nations of the world. Terrorism does not die along with the death of their leader. We need to find the root of the problem and cure it. An Individual should not be given a chance to consider violence as an option to bring about a change. I believe education and freedom are the two main ingredients to create a world without violence and terrorism.