South Africa’s violent history of colonization and apartheid rule is well known, but relatively little analysis of the significant role that terrorism has played in that history has been published in mainstream literature. (A great deal of material about terrorism in South Africa was generated under the apartheid government, but with a strong political bias.) The fact that little scholarly work exists is both puzzling and unfortunate. It is puzzling because terrorism has been widely used as a political weapon in South Africa, and unfortunate because the history of South Africa challenges many common assumptions about both terrorism and terrorists. It also provides interesting insight into how societies and governments might most effectively respond to acts of politically motivated violence. Of course, South Africa’s history of terrorism is not the only one that is largely ignored in the mainstream literature. Many countries in South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia with a history of colonial rule have much to teach us about terrorism. The aim of this chapter is to look critically at some of the assumptions made about terrorism by some writers on the subject, and to explore briefly several social factors that might protect society from this form of violence.
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Publication information: Book title: The Psychology of Terrorism:Programs and Practices in Response and Prevention. Volume: 4. Contributors: Chris E. Stout - Editor. Publisher: Praeger. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 2002. Page number: 3.
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