The news article that I have chosen is called “Suicide bombing Kills 2 Civilians, Injures 5 in Afghan Capital” dated March 28, 2007, and available online at: http://english.eastday.com/eastday/englishedition/world/userobject1ai2718111.html. I have chosen this article because suicide bombing and similar acts of terrorism are very common these days and it is important to realize why such incidents are taking place in Asian and Middle Eastern countries. Many people tend to think that terrorism and terrorist acts are caused by certain organizations and because of their destructive agenda. It is, however, important to realize that a lot of ideas concerning social construction of deviances go behind why a person becomes a terrorist.
So why do people resort to terrorism? Jonathon R. White in his book Religion and Terror raises the question of why religious people commit violent acts in the name of their god, taking the lives of innocent victims and terrorizing entire populations? Many different kinds of events are labeled acts of terrorism instigating from religious differences and frustrations. These kinds of attacks are an international and worldwide phenomenon, and we find that places like Afghanistan, Iraq, and Israel falls victim to such attacks all the time. The views upon terrorism and religious terrorism are viewed as victories and exultation in the eyes of the people who are supportive of the religions and who advocates such acts. The act of the 'Holy War' is something that occurs after much oppression or is caused by some elemental hatred that stems from something far more disastrous. There are various terrorist groups operating in Israel and they have been targeting the Jews as their primary victims, and this is why many tend to consider the Muslims to be nothing but terrorists.
Our history has provided us with many examples of great acts of violence that have been conducted in the name of religion, or for other religious purposes. There have been great acts of martyrdom, which are reflected in the psyche of the suicide bomber of today. One of the biggest problems when dealing with terrorism is that many people seem to side with the terrorists as they think that they are freedom fighters, fighting for their right. Acts of terrorism are a never-ending phenomenon in the Middle East, especially in Israel. One would have to delve deeper in order to understand why so many men, women, and even children are driven into such acts of blatant violence and that there must be some reason why they would resort to such extremities of violence. Has it become a norm for these people? Is the war that they wage against the Jews just? Perhaps no one can ever answer these questions. A person would have to be hurt a lot, his/her family taken away, and be really desperate before he/she will attempt a suicide bombing.
Bruce Hoffman (1999), the Director of the RAND Center for Terrorism Risk Management Policy,says: “Terrorists are interested in publicity, not killing.” The most widely used definitions in criminal justice are simple ones created by Bruce Hoffman all resting upon the idea of illegitimate force to achieve political ends by targeting innocent people. Legal definitions are fine for law enforcement and prosecution purposes, but beyond that, simple definitions suffice for understanding complex social factors. It may be important to note that the means used by terrorists are illegitimate, not always their ends, which may be legitimate ends. However, the term freedom fighting is often reserved to describe nonmilitary (illegitimate) means to achieve legitimate ends. The main objective of terrorism is usually to gain publicity for some cause, although there can be other motives, too, such as the desire to obtain concessions or bring about social change. There is no universally accepted definition of terrorism. In fact, the nature of terrorism is always changing. What is called terrorism one year may be called war, liberation, freedom fighting, or revolutionary action another year. Terrorism is an emotionally charged word that is frequently used to politically and socially denigrate somebody or some group. As previously mentioned, freedom fighters and revolutionaries should not be labeled terrorists. Public fear, however, may be the key to understanding the psychology of terrorism. At least the word terror implies fear, although it would be a mistake to define terrorism as anything that creates terror. The threat of harm to innocent bystanders is what makes terrorism powerful. In this sense, it is the same as what makes military operations powerful - striking terror in the hearts of the enemy. Terrorists, however, are less concerned with inflicting harm on the victims themselves than in invoking fear in those who identify with the victims.