Tolerating Terrorism in the West: An International Survey

By Noemi Gal-Or | Go to book overview

Chapter 5

Terrorism supporters in the west: the Italian case
Francesco Sidoti
PECULIARITIES OF ITALIAN TERRORISM
In Italy the word ‘terrorism’ has been used with reference to actions characterized by:
1 use of illegal violence for political purposes
2 creation of intimidation, fear, apprehension
3 random murder of innocent people
4 targets chosen for symbolic reasons.

All of these characteristics are not found in every terrorist operation. For instance, not every act of Italian terrorism was perpetrated against random people; often the targets were cautiously selected, and sometimes the act created no special fear in the population. Moreover, there have been many kinds of terrorism: some linked to historical ethnic contrasts like those existing in the South Tyrol border area, others connected with conflicts in the Middle East, and many originated from specific Italian cleavages like the opposition between right- and left-wing groups. The Italian terroristic events are confused with the darkest events of recent Italian political life, from mafia crimes to covert operations ruled by local and foreign secret services. The exceptional intensity of the terrorist struggle, the great number of victims, the innuendoes about a low-level warfare ruled by secret services are the most important peculiarities of Italian terrorism compared with those of other industrial democracies.

A leading American scholar of Italian politics has written in a book much appreciated by many researchers: ‘Even today, many intellectuals will insist that much of the terrorism in the country is an emanation of the multinationals, often aided by intelligence

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