Author Archive

Chinwei’s Reaction to 9/11 from Singapore

Before sharing my 9/11 paper with Chinwei I asked him how the event changed American media and how it changed the media within Singapore. He mentioned that there were very emotional live updates and that it seemed to increase the distrust in the media because it wasn’t being covered thoroughly and in an unbiased fashion. After sharing the paper our conversation turned to a discussion about the psychology of a terrorist and their rationale but this conversation focuses entirely on the media’s coverage of 9/11. Read more

Terrorism and the Media in Singapore

While Chinwei does not feel that Singapore is a terrorist target, he has noticed changes such as more intense airplane screenings and increased surveillance. I find it especially interesting that he noticed (as a italicized below) that the media groups all terrorist groups together without differentiating their goals. I remember this point was covered in Barnett and Reynolds. This makes terrorists appear to be a much larger population than in actuality and because their goals are not covered, it appears to be without any reason. To explain more of the beginning of the entry-I said I was afraid to fly and he said it’s because terrorism is a, “small but very real” part of my life. That’s it. That so many scattered incidents can cause so much fear. Read more

Domestic Terrorism: When Do Americans Become Terrorists?


Anti-Christ groups protecting innocent civilians, minutemen arming themselves against the Mexican invasion, Americans provoking treason to save the country; even though these groups sound like superhero vigilantes working to protect their country and are taking patriotism to a new level the reality is that they are not.  In fact, many are guilty of violating Criminal Syndicalism statue that makes it a crime to “advocate the duty, necessity, or propriety of crime, sabotage, violence, or unlawful methods of terrorism as a means of accomplishing industrial or political reform” and to assemble a group for such purposes.  With this definition adopted then these do good vigilante groups would be classified as domestic terrorist and their actions or intended actions punishable. Read more

Hurt Locker Sheds no Light on Terrorism

 In Hurt Locker, an American bomb disposal team leads the audience into a day in the life of a US military insurgent where roadside bombs are covered with plastic bags and any Iraqi man with a cell phone is a security threat. “Every time we go out its life or death,” one soldier says to another as their Humvee leaves the American base for the center of Iraq (Bigelow, 2009). The film’s controversial subject matter, the Iraq War, inevitably scrutinizes the nature of terrorism; its stakeholders, its definition, and its elusive solution. However, Hurt Locker fails in that it simplifies rather than clarifies the nature of terrorism. Read more

Munich: an Analysis of Israel’s Ethics and Values in Targeted Killing

“Suffering thousands of years of hatred doesn’t make you decent. But we’re supposed tobe righteous. That’s a beautiful thing. That’s Jewish…I lose that and that’s everything. That’s my soul (Spielberg, 2005).” Robert, a toymaker turned bomb-maker, highlights the ethical conundrum of a religious state to direct vengeance. In Munich, the audience follows Israel’s response to the assassination of eleven Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games (Spielberg, 2005). Israel’s controversial policy of targeted killing challenges both national values and international law. In recent news, Israel’s suspected involvement in the Dubai assassination of Hamas leader, Mahmoud al-Mabhouh has once again brought up Israel’s stance on targeted killing and the ethical question it presents to a Jewish state. Israel, along with other nations in the modern globalized political arena, must decide to what extent they are willing to mimic terrorist tactics and neglect the principles their nation was founded upon as well as international law. Most importantly, Israel’s methods to address terrorism submerge the state in a garbled global dialogue between governments, civilians, terrorists and the media. Read more

The Iraq War-A conversation with Chinwei

Chinwei had never seen Hurt Locker but we started discussing our personal opinions of the Iraq War. I was excited to see a perspective from another country and how it would differ from my own. I wonder in part if our different opinions are the result of the different media outlets we follow. Below is our exchange. Read more

Chinwei’s Opinion of the Importance of Civilian Casualties

I asked Chinwei what terrorist groups were predominant in Singapore, and our conversation led to how civilian casualties affect perceptions of terrorism. Below is his very well-stated opinion. I think his idea that “hatred is amplified through ignorance” rings true. And I especially agree with him that terrorists are not just “mere killing machines” and that “it takes a lot for one to kill normal, defenseless people just to evoke terror.” It’s a very thought provoking reflection and I began to think about what in our society is to blame for the creation of this sort of hatred. Read more

My Penpal’s Opinion of ‘Three Cups of Tea’

Is education the ‘solution’ to terrorism? We never reached an agreement but we both agreed that the solution to terrorism lies in influence. Read more

Conversation with Penpal about the Part Religion plays in Terrorism

My penpal, Chinwei Wong, and I talked about the impact religion plays in terrorism especially in the Protestant/Catholic tension in Ireland and the Islam/Judaism tensiont in the Israel/Palestine conflict. Below are excerpts from our conversation about religion which carried on over numerous e-mails. Read more

Greg Mortenson’s story of perseverance in building schools for Pakistani children is admirable but the approach he used was incompete. Read more

Return top

Terrorism and the Press

This blog is an integral part of a special section of Honors 394 Spring 2010, Arizona State University. Rather than a routine history course this dynamic, interactive seminar explores the interplay between terrorism and television, and other media sources on-line and in print. 26 students and their global pen pals comprise the bloggers. We welcome all to share their opinions, pertinent observations, insights, comments, feedback. Please post in a responsible manner.