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We hear the word “terrorism” a lot despite that fact that it is a term that is
notoriously hard to
explain. There is no international consensus on the definition, legally or academically
for the
term “terrorist”. In fact, the U.S. government has more than 20 definitions for it. And in
1996, the
UN formed its own Ad Hoc Committee to draft an official explanation of the term, and that
took
10 years. So, what exactly constitutes terrorism?
A mix of those definitions results in something like this: terrorism is violence, or the threat
of violence, against non-combatants or civilians, usually motivated by political, religious
or
ideological beliefs.
Outside of that broad definition, it might be better to explain terrorism by talking
about what it
is not.
Terrorism is not organized crime. There are a few key differences. One is motivation.
Terrorism is usually politically or socially motivated. Organized crime is profit motivated.
Secondly, people in organized crime do not usually seek media attention, something terrorists
do. Third, organized crime doesn’t usually desire government recognition, unlike most
Terrorist
groups.
Terrorism is not violence carried out by one mentally ill person. This can be confusing,
because when it comes to violent acts, it’s not immediately apparent who is sane and who
is
insane. For example, Man Haron Monis took hostages in an
Australian cafe in December 2014. He claimed that it was an official attack on Australia
by the
Islamic State. However, after the siege ended, many people, like Australia’s Prime Minister,
agreed that he was mentally ill at the time and thus should not be considered a terrorist.
Monis
was killed in the siege and his true intentions and affiliations remain unknown. Research
shows
that 40% of “lone wolf” attacks are perpetrated by mentally ill individuals.
Terrorism is not violence perpetrated by a government against another nation. If a nation
commits an act of violence, it’s usually referred to as an “act of war” or, under
certain
circumstances, an act of “self-defense”. There are some exceptions to this rule. If
a nation
indirectly commits an act of terrorism by funding a terrorist organization or covertly
organizing
the terrorist act, that is still considered by some, like the United States, to be a terrorist
action.
Terrorism is also not an act of violence by a government against it’s own people. Nations
like
Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia had a history of terrorizing their own civilians, but those
were
generally considered to be acts of oppression or repression and not terrorism.
These definitions are based on how the UN, the U.S., and many international Scholars
interpret these terms. If you disagree or have a dissenting opinion, you are not alone.
As we
said at the top this, “terrorism” is notoriously hard to define and often used to mean many
different things by pundits, politicians, and the media.
If you want to know more, watch this video on “Why Terrorist Groups Can’t Last Forever”.
Thanks for watching, and subscribe! We put out new videos 6 days a week.
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恐怖主義的定義是什麼? (What Is The Definition Of Terrorism?)

1138 分類 收藏
羅紹桀 發佈於 2015 年 8 月 18 日    Grace Chen 翻譯    Mandy Lin 審核
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