Throughout history, there has always been the question of how to some, a person can be a terrorist, while to others he or she is a freedom fighter.  In the end, both are true.  While terrorism has gained a connotation of being negative as time has progressed, in truth, the concept of a terrorist doesn’t have to be morally evil.  Rather, the freedom fighter may well use terrorism to further his or her own ends.

            The concept of a terrorist lies in the use of fear-mongering.  Thus, the success of a terrorist attack lies in its ability to inspire fear in those who see or hear about it.  The acts committed by terrorists need to be almost theatrical (Barnett & Reynolds, 2009).  Terrorism focuses on images.  An iconic building is often a good way to keep the fear of the terrorist’s attack in the back of a person’s mind.  Thus, the terrorist is able to pervade people’s mind and force them to confront what it is they are fighting for. 

            Terrorism is pervasive.  While the negative association of terrorism has forced some to limit or even altogether refuse to use the word (Barnett & Reynolds, 2009), it still is apt to be applied.  If a person commits an act of violence with the sole purpose of inspiring fear, they are a terrorist.  However, that doesn’t mean their cause isn’t worth fighting for.  It simply means that the way they choose to further their cause is through a pervasive presence in people’s mind that is built upon fear.    


Barnett, B., & Reynolds, A. (2009). Terrorism and the press: an uneasy relationship. New York: Peter Lang.

Moeller, S.D. (2009).  Packaging terrorism: Co-opting the news for politics and profit.  West         Sussex, United Kingdom: Wiley-Blackwell.