Terrorism

The age old adage that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” (Bergesen & Lizardo 39) remains true and the term terrorist has been notoriously difficult to define. Seeking to address the difficult definitional questions surrounding these terms, this essay will compare and contrast the definitions offered by Chailand and Hoffman, scholars at the forefront in the study of the terrorist phenomenon. Taking a comprehensive look at global terrorism, we will define and address state terrorism as well as religious terrorism with an eye to the historical antecedents for the modern terrorist phenomenon. We look at the implosion of empires and state authority and how the end of empire has precipitated the growth of terrorism. Finally, we turn to the internationalization of terrorism and will describe both the causalities and consequences of terrorism in the twenty first century?

Despite the definitional challenges surrounding the terrorist phenomenon, a definition of “terrorism” is integral to this essay and this term must be defined so as to provide our theoretical basis. Bruce Hoffman, world renowned terror scholar and expert of the use of terror as a political tool, understands the slippery nature of defining the term and argues that first and foremost, terrorism is a political concept. Secondly, terror is about power and the use of this power to enact political change (Hoffman 14-15). Another prominent international terror theorist, Gérard Chaliand, terror is a tool which targets the mind. From this perspective, terror is “the most violent form of psychological warfare” (Chaliand et al. viii) and terrorism is a means to power and control through violent means. While both of these definitions shed insight into the terrorist phenomenon, Dr. Mia Bloom, the world’s foremost expert on the suicide terror phenomenon, defines terrorism in a different fashion. According to Bloom, terrorism is “premeditated,

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