What is ‘terrorism’? Know your enemy before fighting it [Archives:2002/45/Focus]

November 4 2002

The world has suddenly been struck by a wind called terrorism fighting, but up to now there is no international agreement over the definition of ‘terrorism.’ Just what is it?
Consequently, the terrorism fighters have not started by trying to look at the reasons behind terrorism. Terrorists are criminals and condemned by all the religious and moral values. But fighting terrorism without knowing its reasons are leading the whole world around a circle of violence and counter-violence.
This is one of the reasons terrorism is incurable, and why violence will continue and thousands of innocent people will be victims.
In my opinion, terrorism has two main causes: a lack of social justice and lack of international justice.
As for the despair due to the lack of social justice, no one can deny that high unemployment increases poverty and illness and widens the gap between social classes. Thus, there will be no middle class and with corruption spreading, rich classes which feed on poor people will be hated by the society.
As a result, they transfer their money outside the country, away from the public eyes. Then the national economy declines and there are no more chances for employment. Further, unemployment rates will rise more, and poverty and despair will follow.
Attempts to stop social suffering will lead to violence and people will join violence movements as a type of profession.
There is no doubt that the some of these people may work for their own interest, like spying for other countries. So, people who suffer from the social aggression have no stability and they don’t want to do. They are already their own victims.
Unemployment, poverty, hunger, refusal and so on are the main causes for despair which leads some people to kill, kidnap, set blasts, and seek revenge in any way possible.
The treatment of this phenomenon cannot be obtained through counter violence under the name of terrorism fighting, because it appears due to the bad economic system which lead to a rejected social system.
The logical cure is to eradicate its causes and have a political will for economic development designed by qualified experts, not by agreeable employees.
Economic prosperity is subject to a government’s willingness, as shown by the international economist Arthur Lewis, who notes in his book Economic Greatness that:
“The behavior of the governments plays an important role in stimulating or discouraging economic activities. No country has made economic progress without positive stimulus from intelligent governments, least of all England, the foundation of whose greatness as an industrial power were laid by a series of intelligent rulers from Edward III onwards.”
So when a country suffers from terrorism, it should reshape the political wills to start reforming its economic conditions, reject corruption and accept the right view and adapt it.
Therefore, to conduct such reform, the government of that country should adopt a series of political, administrative, educational, informative and judicial reforms to achieve the economic prosperity needed to increase low incomes which will result in narrowing the gap between classes.
This government may ask for economists and experts in all the above-mentioned fields to reform the conditions of its country.
Assistance for the less-developed countries should not be limited to weapons and training for fighting terrorism. It is an assistance to increase more the reasons of terrorism, like economic depression and financial administrative corruption.
In addition, there is a lack of proper investment of loans in specific fields, so coming generations will be charged debts and get inherited benefits from it.
These are the duties of a country which looks for stability, and fights terrorism.
In brief, Yemen’s local terrorism is a result of economic problems and social aggression. To fight it, we need to know the reasons behind it, and to have the will to cure these reasons.
The next part of the solution will be discussed in later articles.