"This topic couldn't be well depicted and confined within the range of hundreds of pages. It's really a burning issue of the 21st century and remedies seem to be quite controversial in nature."
It is a widely accepted fact that the history of human civilization is full of violence. Moreover, some scholars attribute first instances of terrorism to Biblical times. Which landmark events in the history of mankind do you associate with terrorism?
It is not appropriate to draw comparison between terrorism from history and the present day. History is filled with brutality, ranging from assassination to massacre. However, from ancient times to present day, the total number of victims of terrorism is overshadowed by the latest events of 11th September - these recent events are more horrifying.
In your opinion, are the roots of terrorism political and religious or is terrorism rooted in human nature?
Terrorism is not rooted in human nature. It is a fact that within the concept of 'survival of the fittest', the' human race must be considered as one of the most ferocious. Sometimes cruelty is too great and whilst this seems to be one of the essential criteria for exhibiting terrorism, cruelty and terrorism are quite different things. The difference manifests itself in the ultimate motives and goals and their justification. Certainly, the roots of terrorism are political and sometimes religious, or a blend of the two. However, it is largely related to the socio-economic, political, and educational conditions.
What is your idea of a typical terrorist?
There is no hard and fast rule for providing a character profile of a terrorist. However, a typical terrorist would probably exhibit some or all of the following characteristics: Fanatism; Mental disorder; Belonging to financially backward society; Predominately Savage behavior with respect to others; Extremist concepts on the subject of Religion; Egoism; Absence of common accepted Ethics and Moral values; Ignorance or illiteracy; Cruelty.
In what ways is the contemporary terrorism different from that of the past?
Although the motives of present-day terrorist groups are similar, they differ from the terrorism of the past in the scope of the disastrous events and the overall loss of the life. In addition, events of terror are, nowadays, international in character and provide an impact on the international arena. Moreover, plans of action prepared for such terrorist acts are also very much organized, supported by huge financing and utilize the modern achievements of science & technology. As a consequence, these plans are so well equipped that terrorist actions can be monitored and executed remotely, with no geographical boundaries.
Could you now dwell upon the motives of terrorist actions?
It is difficult to comment accurately on the motives of terrorists. Firstly, one needs to understand the psychology of terrorists, which may provide clues to their motives. It is equally difficult for ordinary people, with no terrorist objectives, with every-day understanding of human existence to comprehend the motives of terrorist action. Such everyday thoughts cannot comprehend the concept of barbarous killings and destruction.
What are the major events in the history of terrorism in the UK/ the USA?
Unfortunately my lack of historical knowledge precludes an accurate answer. However it is easy to remember terror events in Ireland and mainland United Kingdom, the explosions of residential property in Russia, and bomb explosions in Oklahoma city and certainly the New York WTC.
Why wasn't the USA ready to face these drastic terrorist attacks?
The answer to this question may require a detailed response, so a summary is more appropriate: 1) The fight against terrorism demands some special action from all relevant directions and may depart from traditional methods. It also needs assistance and cooperation from many government departments, responsible for law and order and security of the state. Assistance would also be sought by an international coalition. In other words, it is necessary to glîbalize the problem rather than to remain insular. 2) The lack of readiness was due to over-confidence in so-called high levels of US safety and security services. 3) Finally and most significantly the lack of readiness was due to the inability of the USA to understand the terrorists' psychology, their minds and their spirits and motives.
What measures should have been taken to prevent this horror?
It is not possible to totally prevent terrorist actions, but some measures are obvious. These measures may take the form of increased security, increased vigilance and awareness of International Terrorism networks with improved intelligence. These actions may provide deterrence but do not provide a 100% guarantee. One of the most effective measures for preventing terrorism might be the success in implementing steps and measures for increased social consciousness and values for mankind throughout the world.
What are the top priority measures to combat international terrorism?
Certainly, the collection of intelligence relating to existing international terrorist or radical organizations should be a top priority measure. In addition military and ideological opposition should be a priority. However, it is necessary to consider that the effects or results of such measure should not be temporary in nature.
The reaction to terrorist attacks of September 11th has been extremely diverse. Among other things there have appeared a number of black humour Websites on the subject as well as numerous computer games and "politically incorrect" animations. What do you think about it?
When thousands of people die and many others are suffering it is totally unacceptable to any decent person to invent PC games or produce humour on this issue. There may exist different political inclinations, opinions and grievances relating to victims of the terrorist act. However one must bear in mind the scale of the atrocity and the number of ordinary people affected - many of whom have no particular political lobby at all! Personal tragedy on a massive scale must not be a subject for black humor or video-games in our civilized society!
Legendary director Robert Altman says that "Hollywood action films have served as a source of inspiration to terrorists. The movies set the pattern, and these people have copied the movies". Do you think terrorists are getting inspiration from Hollywood films?
Hollywood movies are not a source of inspiration for terrorists. Any brainwashing of terrorists' minds may have several sources but not Hollywood films. However what can be gained from these sources is assistance in planning as well as knowledge of modern weaponry and IT resources.
Do you think America might lose the media war?
I am not sure. However, if they do lose the media war, does it make any difference to the end result?
Some researchers predict that "America is in danger of losing this war because of political correctness. "If we can't identify who the enemy is - and, in fact, refuse to do so - haven't we lost already?" - could you comment on this statement?
To some extent the researchers' prediction seems to be true, however it is not inevitable. The real reasons are lying in the other corner of the room and unfortunately, neither researchers, nor the media are ready to disclose it for open discussion.
The greatest concern of the world community is finding effective ways of defeating terrorism. In your opinion, can we hope that one day we will win the War on Terror?
It is the objective of all peace-loving peoples to put an end to terrorism - here neither 'defeat' nor 'victory' seems to be the appropriate term. However, it is a complicated task that demands the simultaneous solution of different social and political problems in the international arena. Most people will agree that the events of Sept 11th produced the most horrible 'Breaking News' of the 21st Century. No language contains words to express the brutality of this act of terrorism. There is no wild beast in the animal kingdom that would behave in such a barbarous way. However, international terrorism is developing like a plague, has epidemic proportions and resembles modern-day threats to society such as AIDS. Unfortunately, for terrorism, there is no instant social antidote or political vaccination known to the peace-loving people of the world. Like billions of peaceful people of the world, I was also stunned, and deeply shocked, having watched the TV news reports until midnight of Sept 11th. When will our so-called civilized politics and politicians find the root cause of such violent terrorist activity and put measures and policies in place to eradicate this scourge to mankind? Or are we returning to the savagery of prehistoric times?
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