Prevention and perspective are two keys to dealing with terrorism, including political kidnapping.A substantial degree of physical security ought to be provided for those who are at particular risk. Western nations have to build up security for their government officials overseas.
Meeting the legitimate aspirations of the world's downtrodden is an important means of long-range prevention, so that small groups do not become sufficiently frustrated to seek satisfaction through unacceptable levels of violence. Nations should also decide on broad guidelines within which media and government should respond to terrorist acts.
When incidents arise, media, government, victims, and their relatives become unwitting participants in the drama. Restraint is required of all parties. The media have to cover news developments, but without excesses. For terrorists, media exposure constitutes leverage. Terrorists seek to increase their importance to pressure governments to meet their demands.
Government officials should also show restraint, refraining from a public refusal to negotiate, which puts the government in a diplomatic corner. Negotiations generally occur, regardless; they ought to be conducted out of the public view and at a lower level than by senior government members. It is generally counter-productive for any democratic country to confer status and importance on kidnappers. The correct approach in kidnap situations is patient, behind-the-scenes negotiations.
See also: Counter/Anti-Terrorism; Media; Propaganda.
Revolution is a relatively sudden violent and illegal attempt to change the regime of a state or other political organisation, in which large sections of the population are involved as participants. During the French Revolution of 1789, the word revolution became identified with the seizure of key political decision-making positions by some coercive force and the introduction of structural changes in society. These can include changes in the political and social system (the French and Russian Revolutions); changes in the mode of production (the Industrial Revolution, and technological revolution), or in some aspect of social, intellectual or cultural life (scientific and cultural revolutions).
Theories of revolution are concerned not with mere changes of rulers (as in palace revolutions), but with changes of ruling classes, of the methods of rule, and of social institutions, and with the revolutionary passions and actions which lead to these changes and with their consequences. Revolutionary theories like Marxism or Leninism not only advocate revolution, but also try to explain how it comes about. Marx concentrated on the relationship between revolution and economic development and Lenin on the relationship between revolution and under-development. The New Left emphasised the links between revolution and over-development.
Modern theorists recognise that the important modern events called revolutions have involved the seizure of political power, usually by soldiers or intellectuals. The most successful revolutions have been those which have achieved their ends while avoiding the violence and social upheaval of later revolutions, and which have concentrated on transformation at the political level, while retaining sufficient social continuity to guarantee stability.
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Publication information: Book title: Dictionary of Terrorism. Edition: 2nd. Contributors: John Richard Thackrah - Author. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 2004. Page number: 223.
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