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In this day and age, although there is still unrest between nations, it has been scaled back into “simple” conflicts and diplomatic rows, instead of full-scale war. However, there is a persistent problem that nations struggle with day-to-day, as it continues to grow – the shadowy world of the international terrorist.
How communities became international
While terrorism has been has been persisting for at least as long as society has been established, the international scope of this problem is deeply rooted with how communities evolved, with boundaries drawn between nations. Going back for about 400 years, international borders began with the conclusion of the Thirty Years’ War in Europe, in 1648. The peace settlement that resulted from the termination of the war gave way to communities staking their claims to their own territories.
One disadvantage of having nation-states is the escalation of conflicts. What were simple grudge matches and disagreements between communities back then became full-scale wars.
The international terrorist
With at least two world wars, diplomatic rows, modern-day regional conflicts, coupled with clashes in ideas, individuals who rage against the established order continue to emerge. These individuals resort to different tactics to prove their point. However, as nation-states establish their authority into their territories, these individuals find it hard to sway people into their causes, and commonly resort to violence to send their message across channels, across boundaries. The international terrorist is born.
A global problem
Terrorists try to persuade people to their cause all around the world, and nations do everything they can to mitigate the problem. However, with the disadvantage of most nation-states having different ideologies, and the clashes that result from it, terrorism still continues all around the world today. For instance, the end of the First World War had fleshed out fascism and communism and pitted them against democracy, and their events resulted into World War II. In a modern setting, the continued belief of the Jews to establish their own state, with Israel being recognized as a sovereign state in 1948, added another layer in the rift between Arabs and Jews, creating the tensed atmosphere in the Middle East. All these events, and their results, have impacted all.
Be it individuals spouting their causes or nation-states establishing their authority, terrorism should still be viewed as a problem for all. International relations aside, a diplomatic row, or clash in foreign policies, while it can be viewed as regional, still have lasting effects that is felt all around the world.
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Countering Terrorism and Surviving a Terrorist Attack
Counterterrorism is defined as the military tactics, techniques, and strategies that government, military, law enforcement, business, and intelligence agencies use to combat or prevent terrorism and the financing of terrorist attacks. Because terrorism is one of the most significant threats to world peace, security, and stability, as well as the enjoyment of human rights and social and economic development, it is critical that people implement effective measures to prevent and fight terrorism.
Education is the first step in fighting terrorism and suppressing the financing of terrorism. While terrorist crimes are still rare compared to other crimes, globalization has widened our risk and exposure to attacks. Our borders are now more open, travel and leisure activities are easily accessible, and more diverse technology, political beliefs, and religious ideologies are becoming more widespread. We are now more exposed. Therefore we should not be complacent, and we must take sensible precautions in the wake of frequent terrorist attacks.
The National Counter Terrorism Security Office (Nactso) in the UK shared advice on what to do should there be a terrorist gun or bomb attack:
- Run: Run and go somewhere safe. This is a far better option than surrendering or negotiating with terrorists.
- Hide: In case you are trapped somewhere and are unable to run to safety, find a safe space to hide. It’s better to hide from terrorists than to confront them. Make sure to be quiet, switch your phone to silent mode, and turn off vibrate to conserve your phone’s battery. Cover from view does not mean you’re safe, as bullets and shrapnel can penetrate brick, wood, and metal. So, find cover from gunfire by hiding somewhere with walls with substantial brickwork or heavy, reinforced walls and lock or barricade yourself in.
- Tell: Call the police or emergency services. Provide your location and where you last saw the suspect/s. Describe the attacker/s, their facial features, clothing, and weapons. Provide further information such as the casualties, the injuries you sustained if any, building entrances or exits, and the number of hostages. If you are hiding from your attacker/s and are unable to speak or make a noise, listen to the notes given to you on the phone.
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