Terrorism and Modern Drama

Terrorism and Modern Drama

Terrorism and Modern Drama

Terrorism and Modern Drama

Excerpt

Terrorism is almost impossible to define. In general terms, it is violent action intended for public effect which is usually directed against members or institutions of the state. But it may also be directed against random sections of the population. Often, its intention is to hurt not only its key victims but also those who support them. When its targets are those in power, the intention is to threaten the whole power structure. When the targets are the followers of the powerful, often the attempt is to threaten other like-minded followers. In whatever guise, terrorism exists to encourage assumed sympathisers and discourage the enemy. It is used to create a climate of fear in which people are powerless to act, and to give the terrorist a covert power. But often it works only in the short run. Terrorists can be isolated or betrayed or they can be ignored by those whose support they wish to gain. They can fall victim in turn to state terror which summons up much more in the way of resources, and develops its own methods of surveillance, punishment and reprisal. Terrorist outrages may be directed against selected enemies within the state apparatus, or against those who are only 'guilty by association', who have cooperated with those the terrorists define as their enemies. For most terrorists, all innocence is relative, and the definition of 'collaboration' is elastic. For those passers-by killed or maimed in terrorist bombings, for example, the ultimate rationalisation is reserved: they failed to take the necessary precautions. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Definition is difficult and there can be no value-free discussion of terrorism. One country's freedom-fighter can be . . .

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