Terrorism: More than meets the eye

            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. Read more

Correspondence with a Greek Journalist

Over the last few weeks, I have been corresponding with a Greek journalism student named Eva Manakaidu.  This correspondence has given me great insight into just how differently terrorism is viewed in countries that are not the US.  As I was talking with her about her thoughts on the September 11th attacks, she brought up an interesting point. Read more

Bloody Sunday Reflection

Divided We Fall

There is no question about it, warfare is one of the most tragic experiences for humankind. However, when considering the topic of war, we Americans have a tendency to recall most prominently the foreign conflicts in our history. This is likely due to the fortunate circumstance that the USA has not faced a militaristic domestic issue in nearly a century and a half. However, one need only read a brief history of recent domestic conflicts like those in Rwanda or Darfur to see the horrendous hatred that a person can harbor toward his countryman. Read more

Ilias Kiritsis

An introduction:

Ilias has provided has provided several eye-opening insights in particular about Greece’s views on terrorism and the USA that at times proved rather shocking. So far, he has been very helpful in providing these insights for our class and has been a pleasant correspondent. He has provided his own self-introduction: Read more

Terrorism Definition

Terrorism: A Conundrum

A rudimentary etymological analysis of this troublesome word would indicate that it relates to a methodology or ideology concerning terror. Indeed, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary of Law defines Terrorism as “the unlawful use or threat of violence esp. against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion”1. However, Barnett and Reynolds articulate a poignant difference between two concepts that fall under this definition Read more

My definition of Terrorism

Terrorism is a savage definition in my mind. It has snapping teeth and any cage found for it will eventually be shattered with energetic fury. It seems to be a beast created out of instinct and all methods of rationality cannot temper it. Terrorism brings to my mind scarred buildings, burnt metal, burnt flesh, screaming, despair and above all else, this incredible divine pain, as if Hell had burst through the Earth’s crust and finally tried to show itself physically.

            My definition of terrorism doesn’t hinge on the presence of violence, the classification of the victims, the underlying political objective, or the identification of the perpetrator. Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said, “Terrorists thrive on despair” (Fedi). In Bloody Sunday, the IRA passed out rifles in the thick of despair. Terrorism is about leaving a lasting imprint on the human mind. One that the nerve synapses can connect to the most ancient part of the brain, the instinctual and the emotional. “The psychological impact of a terrorist act is intended to be greater than the damage caused. The goal of terrorism is to send a message, not defeat the enemy (Barnett and Reynolds 18)”.

            Terrorism is “propaganda by deed” (Barnett and Reynolds 29). It can be carried out by a state, as France, Russia, and Germany all showcased, or it can be carried out through the actions of independent civilians of any nationality. Ultimately, it destabilizes and intimidates the foundations of established society. 

Works Cited

Barnett, Brooke, and Reynolds, Amy. Terrorism and the Press: An Uneasy Relationship. New      York City: Peter Lang Publishing, 2009. Print.

Fedi, Namuezi, et al. Terrorism? Department of International Humanitarian Law-Belgian Red       Cross.

Clothing and Commemoration of Bloody Sunday

A Mockumentary, Bloody Sunday

The movie Bloody Sunday was written and produced well after the actual events took place in 2002.  Unlike most films that approach the subject, either dramas or documentaries; Bloody Sunday is a mockumentary.  In a mockumentary parts of the event covered is restructured by the artistic direction of the director and thereby often reveals the biases thereof.  The bias was significant part of the movie, for nearly all the players in the actual event have conflicting stories.  Some reported the truth, some were lies, and others were the result of faulty memory.  Barbara Tversky, Professor of Psychology of Stanford University describes the way fault memories work:

we might hear garbled words like “next,” “transfer,” and “train.” Building on our assumptions    and knowledge, we may put together the actual statement… we may even remember having           heard the full statement.

As a result, the director making a movie of a controversial event has a colossal degree of leeway since no eyewitness account will be perfect.

Read more

My definition of terrorism

My definition of terrorism is based on my own family’s history, my exposure to contemporary terrorism, and the media’s portrayal of terrorism.  Terrorism is the use violence, expression, and intention thereof to sow fear against those mistakenly perceived as enemies and as a brutal form of political expression usually under an organizational affiliation.  Violence as a standard part of terrorism is noticed especially by journalists to extend their political expression.  I include expression as a part of terrorism such as hate speech, religious, and racial slander because of the fear induced in the target populace, incitement to violence, and worst of all, spread the message that hate speech is acceptable.  Read more

Luck of the Irish Republican Army

The Northern Ireland conflict is an extremely complex situation that has blurred the line between political activist and terrorist for decades. During this time, the media has had an important role in shaping the public’s perception of the events and what to make of the many factions in play. Read more

Defining Terrorism

The most boiled down definition of ‘terrorism’ is “the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes” but this definition doesn’t capture all of the aspects or feelings that the word ‘terrorism’ conjures up in our post-9/11 world. In America, we rarely think of terrorism outside the context of Muslim extremists, Al Qaeda and suicide bombers despite the fact that we would only have to look back fifteen years to find an example of a major terrorist attack committed by American Timothy McVeigh. Read more

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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.