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Project Three Final Draft - Terrorism

Page history last edited by Samey Abdulrub 12 years, 7 months ago

            Terrorism. What does one think once they hear that word? Due to the media and other sources we are lead to believe that it is defined as foreigners, mainly Muslims, that try to terrorize America. This is what many think but if you know the true definition of it then one might reconsider what terrorism really is. A less narrow definition of the word was common around 10 years ago but now it should be expanded and viewed in a different perspective. The wrong perspective of the word can be affecting the society in a negative way. The audience I would like to target this to will mostly be Americans and to those who believe in the narrow definition of terrorism to be just as an act of foreigners trying to terrorize America. The Merriam-Webster dictionary 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." In my opinion this definition is very narrow and is wrong. Terrorism is any deliberate act of creating fear. My purpose in writing this is to present a new perspective on terrorism and to prove one contemporary one is wrong. I will be focusing on fear as a key to terrorism today.


            The definition I believe to be more standard is "the systematic use of terror" from Wikipedia. Many would argue that there are more definitions to terrorism then just the systematic use of terror. Dictionary.com defines terrorism as "the use of violence and threats to intimidate or coerce, especially for political purposes." This definition creates a really bigoted and narrow-minded use of the term. It focuses mainly on the 9/11 attacks that lead people to believe in a wrong perspective of the word. Terrorism is any deliberate act of creating fear. I want to emphasize again that my definition hones in on the deliberate spread of fear. What people, mostly Americans, don’t realize is that terrorism isn’t just foreigners attacking America, but also whenever fear is deliberately created by an act. Americans don’t view other Americans as terrorists even though they too also purposely cause fear. Fear mongering should be viewed as an act of terrorism and it definitely does occur in the United States.


            Wikipedia defines fear mongering as “the use of fear to influence the opinions and actions of others towards some specific end. The feared object or subject is sometimes exaggerated, and the pattern of fear mongering is usually one of repetition, in order to continuously reinforce the intended effects of this tactic, sometimes in the form of a vicious circle.”  Scare tactics is also another word for fear mongering. It is based upon creating fear to influence others towards a specific end so it technically counts as an act of terrorism also. There are many examples of fear mongering that many would overlook or wouldn’t realize them even though it occurs today in everyday sight. The main types of fear mongering out there in America is media and political fear mongering.


          One of the biggest examples of fear mongering is the media. The media spreads fear into everyone watching to be afraid of terrorists and to believe that Muslims are terrorists. All you see in the media these days about terrorism is only when it has to be connected to Al-Qaeda or Muslims. This generates a fear/hate towards Muslims and gives them a bad image in society. The media leads you to believe that only Muslims are terrorists. Also, the media creates fear mongering by influencing people to be scared of those who cover their face or wear the same clothes that the Muslim terrorists portrayed on television. The media influences people to imagine that those people who wear the same clothes might be terrorists. Basically, the media creates fear by giving you an image of what terrorism is and how a terrorist looks like. If the media deliberately creates fear wouldn’t that be considered an act of terrorism? Other entities or groups spreading fear can also more appropriately be called terrorists.


            The group called Anonymous and their actions should be considered as terrorism. They deliberately spread fear through the internet. For those who don't know, Anonymous is a wide network of computer geniuses that hack into the systems of computers and other major networks. They hacked Sony and the PlayStation Network. One of the recent act of creating fear they have created was threatening to hack into the New York Stock Exchange and make it inaccessible. Once again I strongly believe that the definition of terrorism is the deliberate spread of fear. Wouldn't the group Anonymous be qualified as committing acts of terrorism? They threaten all those involved in the Stock Exchange and forms a sense of fear among them.


            Another major category for fear mongering is politics. There has been many campaign ads and commercials over the years that creates a sense of fear to get people to vote for them. One example would be the daisy commercial in 1964 for Lyndon Johnson's campaign. It starts off with a girl picking the petals of a daisy and then a countdown of a missile launch soon follows after. The countdown ends in an explosion and President Johnson says, ""These are the stakes! To make a world in which all of God's children can live, or to go into the dark. We must either love each other, or we must die". Another voice-over then says, "Vote for President Johnson on November 3. The stakes are too high for you to stay home". It creates a fear among the people watching the ad that if you don't vote for Johnson, there is a lot at risk. The act of fear mongering in politics has been used to get more people to vote for the candidates running or to get them to think like they do. Another example would be the Islamic Cultural Center that is in Manhattan. At first no one really cared about much about it, but then the Republican Party use fear mongering to get the people to agree with their ideas and views. They equate the Islamic Cultural Center with one of America's biggest fears; terrorism. With all the talk of Muslims being terrorists in the media, they easily scare people as a way to get what they want.


            What I'm trying to basically get across is that people, mostly Americans, don't see terrorism as deliberate acts of creating fear but rather as foreigners trying to attack America. They don't realize the acts of terrorism that goes on inside of America by other Americans. The media and politics brainwash them to think only these specific types of people are terrorists and anyone like them are terrorists also. The incorrect definition of the word terrorism gives a narrow view of what are acts of terrorism. It creates a wrong perspective of the word and it effects the society in many negative ways.


Works Cited:

Stepper, J. "Political Fear Mongering and Why It Works." Out of Stepper. 22 Oct. 2010. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. <http://www.outofstepper.com/?p=1713>.


"Fear Mongering." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 06 Nov. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_mongering>.


"Terrorism | Define Terrorism at Dictionary.com." Dictionary.com | Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary.com. Web. 10 Nov. 2011


Perry Chiaramonte. "Hacker Group Anonymous Threatens To Attack Stock Exchange | Fox News." Fox News - Breaking News Updates | Latest News Headlines | Photos & News Videos. 04 Oct. 2011. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. <http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2011/10/04/hacker-group-anonymous-threatens-to-attack-stock-exchange/>.


"Anonymous (group)." Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 10 Nov. 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anonymous_(group)>.




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