Taking the course on globalization and terrorism this semester was informative and important for myself as I needed to become more aware of the world around me and the true meanings behind terrorist efforts. The main idea or concept that stuck with me this semester was the term “debunking”. The term debunking is the idea that an individual’s ideas could be changed because they are enlightened. There were many instances in which I had a chance to have my own ideas debunked. It gave me the opportunity to take off the blinders and think more outside the box in regards to terrorism.
Debunking first came into effect at the very beginning of the course for me because I had never thought about the reasoning for violence being justified. We learned throughout the semester that there are many groups that simply do not believe in what their government is doing. They do not know how to protest without getting involved violently. There are many different reasons for people getting involved in violent ways to make a point. Religious terrorists believe in their cause and that they will benefit greatly with eternal life somewhere. State terrorism is in defense of policies and there are many more examples. In each of these cases the groups believe in what they are doing and do not see the wrong that there is in hurting innocent people. The often quoted phrase “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” shows that these groups are not all terrorists in everyone’s point of view. There is often not a problem with people when the protest peacefully such as at the winter Olympics in Vancouver there was opposition but they did not hurt anyone. When countries go to war there seems to be an understanding but when terrorists attack without retaliation there is a problem among the public.
Another example of debunking that is constantly taking place is the realization of the world around you. I, personally, have always wanted to help those in need both near to home and in other countries. However, many people do not realize the magnitude of trouble that many people have around the world trying to make ends meet. Many countries do not have water, Africa has their famine, and there are plenty of other continual problems socially throughout the world. The most meaningful thing I learned in this class that it is our job to make sure people become educated about the situations around the world and that they may become more understanding of the different situations that people are in.
Overall, this class taught me many things but we must come away with an understanding that we are all coming from the same place and trying to do what is best. Many people around us do not have what they need and we need to do what we can to help anyone that we can. The course was informative but most notably it taught the class to remove the blinders and think outside of our own little world.
We had an in class discussion about how Americans security and patriotism has changed since 9/11. There was a girl in the class who said she went to a baseball game and noticed how everyone was on a united front but their security was heightened so much. The travel security has increased substantially, resulting in no complaints from citizens about infringing on individual rights because to them the nation as a whole is much more important than the person. However, what they do not grasp is the fact that the government has a lot to do with the displeasure from other countries and terrorist groups.
The discussion wasn’t long but it got to the crux of the issue and that was that North America thinks that they are a stronger nation because of the terrorist attacks. However, there was an economical impact, global impact and there is still an ongoing factor that there are thousands of groups plotting against the United States, as unfortunate as it sounds.
In each of the last rounds of group presentations in which we discussed terrorist groups we all discussed the topic of recruitment. The overall themes were that they target youth. Due to the fact that youth are young and impressionable terrorist groups feel as though they can lure them in. The Ku Klux Klan even stated that because they are the future of tomorrow, they need to be reached so that they can carry on the groups beliefs and thoughts.
Another group that is targeted in recruitment is religious people. They are promised that they will be first in line to go to some type of promised land if they execute the violent plans successfully. Another example within the KKK is that they give a discounted membership to ministers or pastors of churches. These people are so influential that they a desired by terrorist groups. If a group can believe strongly in a cause it becomes much easier to become involved and make an impact. The recruitment process is vital if a group wants to make any type of impact so the goal is to reach people that are willing to listen to the cause and become a part of the sacrifice that it may take.
In class we had a discussion about what qualifies as terrorism and what does not. In a recent event at Kwantlen, students were gathering to take a vote on whether or not the student council should still be in a place of leadership. This student council group had many negative allegations regarding finances and how the student union was being run. The vote required 350 students to come and vote and two thirds of those were needed to vote against the student association. At the vote there were a large number of people present and there was usage of pepper spray and pulling of alarms. I feel as though this is comparable to state terrorism because the state allows a violent act and assumes to deny the allegations.
The KSA (Kwantlen Student Association) may have been involved in the pepper spray incident or may have been guilty of simply allowing the incident to take place. The KSA wanted a certain outcome and did not allow for full democracy. This can be viewed as state terrorism due to the fact that they are associating with a violent act. Indeed, pepper spray can harm people and is considered violent. The perception is that the KSA’s intentions were to postpone the vote so that there would be a day where less people could actually show up to vote. The vote still took place and the KSA lost.
One of the groups presenting showed a video of a little girl being instructed on how to recite all the things that her father wanted her to say. She had memorized portions of the religious book that they follow, and she knew how she should be behaving, what music she should or should not be listening to. From my perspective it seemed as though she was being brain washed. She knew all the answers all by heart and did not question or even think about any of the questions that her father was asking her. This seemed somewhat scary to me because she seemed like she could be told to go and do anything and she would accept it as the truth. The idea that she could be taught to hate seemed so real in the video and the chances of that little girl becoming involved in terrorist activity goes up because of the relationship she has with her father.
Because the girl was at such a young age she was impressionable and could be used as a vessel to complete tasks on behalf of her family or terrorist group. We do not know if her parents were part of a terrorist group but the perception that she was brainwashed was very real. On the other hand, many kids parrot the things that their parents do anyways, so there should be no judgement. While it may seem scary that she is brainwashed we must keep in mind that “monkey see, monkey do.”
Paraphrast Style: Class discussion regarding misunderstanding terrorists:
In our class we had a constructive discussion throughout the semester about terrorist representing something for a group of people. Charles often used the quote “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter”. The synopsis of this discussion is that the reasoning for terrorist attacks are often valid. The terrorist may be fighting for valiant cause that many people may support, but the support stops at the beliefs system. Inflicting violence is an unnecessary and confrontational way of protesting. There are constantly non violent protests or rallies that take place in which people can voice their displeasure about the system. The terrorists believe that their point does not come across unless they take extreme action in the form of violence.
As the semester went on it became more and more evident that many terrorist groups have a good cause but do not know how to conduct it properly. However, there are also groups that do not have a valid cause but they have a whole hearted belief that what they believe is true, such as the Ku Klux Klan. These groups are rare but they are prevalent.
What questions does the text ask? What is International Terrorism? How and why do terrorist complete international terrorism and what is the purpose for them? There is a benefit for terrorists to make an effect internationally.
How does the text answer those questions? By uprising and starting revolutions the terrorists can be seen from around the world. Their thoughts and ideas may be valid but the way they go about it seems too extreme for the common person to stop and listen to their point of view. The goal of international terrorism is to reach a broad and large audience to see the power that the terror can have. In 9/11 the whole world saw the United States crumble for a day and saw the strength of Al Qaeda compared to the weakness of the United States. The terrorists that see these large events taking place are inspired and may be more willing to take action in their homes countries and circumstances.
How do the answers that the text give relate to my own thoughts? I think that international terrorism is a catalyst for those looking for hope. Just like many of us look up to people as models (athletes, political leaders, musicians) the terrorists look up to each other as well. When Osama Bin Laden was captured and killed there was a large outcry and a plea for vengeance on behalf of him. The large spectacles lead to interest from followers and willingness to act violently. I find that this is quite similar to the example of religious terrorism.
What question did the text raise? Why has religious terrorism become so prevalent as an ideology in the terrorist world? The increase in the popularity of religious terrorism is staggering. What is religious terrorism?
How does the text answer those questions? Religious terrorism has become so prevalent because of the significance that it represents. Terrorist leaders are able to use religion as a means of motivating their followers into performing acts of violence against their targets. They are promised that they will go to an eternal place that is higher and a better place than earth if they execute the violence well. The Muslims for example use the term “holy war” to inspire followers.
How does the answers the text provide connect to my own thoughts? Being a person of religion I had not previously thought of this type of terrorism before. Even now I find that it gives a bad namesake for those who are religious. There are certain groups that misinterpret the religion’s beliefs and turn extreme towards following guidelines. The instructions of each religion are twisted into ways that leaders can use the power they have against their followers.
Essentials of Terrorism- Martin Gus, Chapter 4
What Question did the text raise?
The text raised the question about how much influence the state powers have on the terrorism that takes place. The question is what is the motivation for the state to become involved in the terrorist plans? The focus of the chapter is on whether or not the state wants to be covert or overt regarding their involvement in the violence taking place in their respective states.
How did the the text answer the question?
Overall each state has their own interests at stake when they are aiding a terrorist organization. Mostly, political reasons are the main motivating factors that contribute to the states involvement. If the state can get assistance from the terrorist group they may be able to advance politically and the terrorist group can advance in their plans thanks to state involvement. Some states chose to be overt but most states are afraid to be associated in the public eye with terrorist groups due to the negative connotations.
How does the answer compare to my own previous thoughts?
Before this class I had no grasp on the concept of the state assisting terrorists at all. However, I had some thoughts that governments will do whatever it takes to benefit themselves. I had not heard about the United States involvement in training the very same terrorists that attacked New York on 9/11. This chapter brought to light many of the covered up ideas that the government wants to keep quiet.
Another video shown in class was called “Nickel and Dimed”. This video portrayed the fact that there are many people in North America that struggle to make ends meet while trying their best. This was portrayed through a journalist going undercover at minimum wage jobs to see if she can make it with such a low salary. They are able to find jobs but these jobs are not enough of an income for people wanting to make ends meet. It was also revealed that there is no such thing as a non skilled job. The surprise on the young business man’s face was shocking because he had no idea that there were people out there giving so much effort and receiving such little in return.
The main idea at hand here is that there is a large amount of injustice occurring even in our own backyards that we are totally unaware of. I find this frustrating and a continuous battle with society to convey how many people are actually struggling to make ends meet. As a person that is working in the restaurant business I can relate to the difficulties that the job can present. If it is not busy, the restaurant needs to send people home; thus making it difficult to accumulate a good amount of hours. Some days can be better than others as far as how much I walk away with due to tips. The work is hard on your body as you are continuously on your feet and literally serving people. There are many difficult people to deal with and the job is a lot to handle. I also work with many mother’s who are trying to do their best for their families. There are also many other jobs that are minimum wage in which there are no additional tips. These jobs are simply not enough to raise a family with. It is upsetting that these people are not able to hold their lives together financially when giving so much effort.