Terrorism poses as one of the world’s most severe security risk in the 21st century. It is a negative concept with a believe in violence as a means of attracting national and international attention, achieving political, economic and social interest. Terrorism is dated right from the very beginning of human civilization but with increased cases as from the 19th century. For instance, anarchists in some rural parts of Italy and Spain employed terrorist means likewise their counterparts in France. Russian revolutionary movement before World War I had a strong terrorist element etc. In the 20th century, groups as the Irish Republican Army (IRA) carried out their terrorist activities beyond the boundaries of individual countries. They were sometimes supported by established governments, such as those of Bulgaria and Italy under the Fascist leader Benito Mussolini.
Con temporal terrorism is more effective than those of the past due to technological advances, effective communication mediums, extensive worldwide connection and the availability of smaller size weapons.
Most co temporal terrorist activities are carried out by extremists with terrorist bases in countries like Afghanistan, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, etc. Recent terrorist attacks like the plane crash against the World Trade Centre in New York City and Pentagon, the bombing of the London underground railways, etc were carried out by the terrorist organization known as Al-Qaeda net work, as a Jihad against America and her Western allies. There are smaller terrorist organizations in different parts of the world but the vast net work is coordinated by Bin Laden the founder of Al-Qaeda. People live in the United States in relative security until 9/11 when the terrorists stroke and brought down the twin towers of the world trade centre and Pentagon, sending many who came for business to their graves. Thousands used the London underground railway in relative security and safety for several years until July 7 2005 when the terrorist strike killing many and wounding others. Egypt Nile resort was an important spot for tourists until the terrorist’s stroke and killed over 300 persons. India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iraq, Palestine Israel, Kenya in Africa etc have all witness severe insecurity as a result of terrorist assaults. Terrorism has increased insecurity worldwide. People are no more certain with their safety as they travel or work in different places. The security risk posed by terrorism, has changed the course of world affairs. Billions is spent in the fight against terrorism worldwide, yet the threat is still here with us. So much is still needed to curb the plight of terrorism.
There is a solution to every problem, an answer to every question. Terrorism has its solution in both pro-active and reactive measures. Pro-active measures are preventive while reactive measures are restrictive measures. Pro-active measures are less expensive measures, while reactive measures are more expensive. To curb terrorism in the 21st century, humanity must be more pro-active than reactive. (Prevention is better than cure).
i) Enlightenment: One of the most effective pro-active measures in curbing terrorism is investing towards enlightenment. Most at times, humanity ignores the factor of enlightenment as a means to resolving conflicts and resorts to weapons of mass destruction. This is great ignorance. Enlightenment can go a long way in providing solutions to conflicts in which the use of weapons of mass destruction cannot. Every problem has its solution in knowledge. In fact, ignorance is the platform for every form of inhumanity. Ignorance is the greatest instigator of violence and destruction. Societies where terrorism is applied as a means to achieving political, social and economic interests are societies with perverted knowledge and unenlightened nationals. Until humanity realizes the destructive effect of ignorance and the superiority of enlightenment in resolving human conflicts, humanity will continue in unnecessary loss of resources in her search to resolve conflicts.
Enlightenment is the sense of being correctly or rightly informed, instructed, inspired and learned. Enlightenment is the greatest need of every human being with respect to proper moral and ethical behavioural patterns. To order the behaviour of people with respect to right morals and ethics, enlightenment is imperative. One of the weaknesses of the world’s education is its deficiency in knowledge with respect to proper understanding of life and social sciences. This has made the world poor in her morals and social ethics, leaving us in an imbalance with respect to our civilization. The world has improved in her scientific and technological breakthroughs but failed in having humanity to live together, enjoying all we have in love, peace, harmony and brotherliness.
If humanity will balance up her civilization with proper human relation and operation, she must accept an educational revolution characterized by absolute focus on achieving complete quality and positive human development. (Mental, physical, moral and social). Such educational revolution will produce balanced individuals and societies which will express proper understanding, consciousness and awareness in relation to life’s demands.
Ignorance is not the lack of information but the absence of positive and quality knowledge. Terrorist individuals and societies are informed to some extent but their actions reveal their ignorance with respect to positive and quality knowledge.
No properly knowledgeable individual or society can encourage terrorism. Quality and positive knowledge have a way of enlightening individuals and societies with respect to proper behavioural and ethical pattern to human relation and life’s demands. It is knowledge which illuminates, motivates, prepares, activates, challenges and transforms the human life and mind for quality operation and productivity.
The world needs a new educational concept to conquer terrorism. We may not be able to change the mentality of those who are currently intoxicated with the terrorist ideology but through quality education, we can influence and change the younger generation towards quality living in the future of this century and millennium. “Enlighten the youths” is the slogan for a long term solution to terrorism. If all what is invested in the production of weapons of mass destruction and the deployment of soldiers around the world as a means towards the defeat of terrorism can be invested in propagating the concept of quality education. I believe much will be achieved to curb the threat of terrorism.
ii) The rule of law: The rule of law deals with stipulated standards by which a society is governed, right and wrong determined for the purpose of justice. Laws are principles or stipulated standards made by men to order the behaviour of individuals and to determine the operative dynamics of a setup, society, nation or the world. In a setup, laws may take the form of rules and regulations. While in a society or nation, laws may take the form of constitutions of government, legislation or judicial opinions.
One of the pro-active measures in curbing terrorism is for every society to establish legislative laws, adopting constitutions of governments and judicial opinions which abolish every form of terrorist actions and the propagation of terrorist ideology. Every society without laws against terrorism will inevitably become the breeding ground for all forms of terrorist ideology and action. Terrorism thrives in societies which provide safe grounds for their activities. If every nation of the civilized world will enforce laws against terrorism, then terrorism will soon be history.
(iii)Sharing intelligence: Terrorism can be prevented if intelligence sharing between citizens and their governments and between nations of the international community is effective. Intelligence sharing deals with the provision of needed information by concern individuals, intelligence services and concern groups with respect to terrorist plans and activities before they are carried out. To prevent terrorist attacks, intelligence sharing between nations of the international community must be efficient and effective. This is equally a preventive or pro-active approach to terrorism.
These are emergency measures intended to restrict and to curb terrorist actions. These measures involve diplomacy and the use of force.
i) Diplomacy: Diplomacy in restricting and curbing terrorism has to do with dialogue with designated terrorist groups, in search of their grievances and methods of resolving them. In fact, the policy of not negotiating with terrorists is not just working. Governments and the international community should review this policy and go into negotiations and dialogue with terrorist groups in search of their grievances.
Most terrorist groups have grievances which can be resolved through diplomacy. In fact, most terrorist attacks are intended by the terrorists to attract national or international attention to certain plights and grievances. Thus, diplomacy can be applied nationally or internationally as a means to identify and resolve grievances which instigate terrorism. When diplomacy fails?
ii) The use of force: This is a reactive measure intended to apply pressure on terrorist groups so as to restrict their activities. It is worthwhile to note that, force is only necessary when all avenues of diplomacy fail. Force may take the form of sanctions. These sanctions may involve economic and arms embargoes or international isolation against terrorist organizations and societies which sponsor terrorism.
Secondly, force may involve military intervention. The use of force is necessary because certain terrorist groups or societies may never accept diplomacy and may never comply with standards. They may want to achieve their aims no matter what. Such recalcitrant individuals and terrorist groups need to be brought to order through the use of force. It needed force to stop the ambition of Hitler. After world leaders applied diplomacy and failed, force was the only option which arrested Hitler’s ambition to conquer Europe. It was force which brought the end to Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait, etc.
When terrorism resists the above measures, humanity must now depend on Divine intervention as the final solution.
iii)Divine intervention: God works in the affairs of men. I believe it was Divine intervention which shaped history throughout the ages. When human means fail, Divine intervention is imperative. Divine providence can cause the collapse of a negative system. There is nothing impossible with divine intervention. In our quest for solution to terrorism, we should not leave aside Divine intervention.
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Dr Benard Etta