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The word terrorist means a person who advocates terrorism. The person can be a member of a group that advocates terrorism. A terrorist instills fear to people. This can be the use of either crude or sophisticated weapons. These weapons can be guns, bombs, axes and machetes. The use of the word terrorist can be in different forms. Some consider referring it to people who resist. The media and politicians have been using the word terrorist for a long time.
In Heryanto definition of the word terrorist, the word never existed; it was created by politicians to induce fear to the general public (161). When people hear the word terrorist they tend to freak out. They get scared and look around in case there is one of them nearby (Heryanto 161). People assume that terrorists are associated weapons of mass destruction. Terrorists commit suicide in the intention of killing as many people as possible. These people don not have to be their enemies; a terrorist is perceived by the public to participate in terrorism. The words terrorist and terrorism are not new. Terrorists have been in existence since the beginning of the recorded world (Heryanto 162). Their emergence cannot be traced. Terrorists assume they are performing a holy task. Terrorists use terrorism because they are preferred as the weaker side. They use it to cripple their enemies; because they do not have the courage or power to face their enemies (Heryanto 163).
Smith evaluated the nature of terrorists by stating that, terrorist are secretive in nature and they do not give their enemies time to organize themselves in order to deter them (15). The word terrorist is defined in different ways by different people. Sometimes criminal activities are confused with terrorism. The United States government defines a terrorist as a person who uses calculated moves of unlawful violence to induce fear. Terrorist do this in order to pursue goals that are generally political or religious (Smith 28).
According to Smith, terrorists perform criminal acts that influence an audience outside immediate victim (54). The plan of a terrorist is to commit violence that attracts the attention of the local people, the government, and the rest of the world (Smith 56). Terrorists can be closely related to a bunch of selfish individuals who want nothing else, but attention from the rest of the world. A terrorist can be closely related to a person who wants fame, but uses violence to gains it. People like Osama bin Laden are considered as terrorist because of their actions. Terrorists do not see themselves as evil (Smith 89). They consider their actions as holy. The populace that is affected is the one that considers the person as a terrorist; thus, the use of the word terrorist.
Horgan reported that, politicians use the word terrorist to instill fear to people (2). They use such words in order to manipulate people, and make them follow the message they are trying to pass across (Horgan 2). If a person goes against the politicians, the person is considered as un-American. Politicians tend to use this word frequently to isolate the person from others. After the September 11, 2001, most politicians came out, and started mentioning the word terrorist and terrorism (Horgan 4). This added fear to the general public. The politicians use these tactics to gain favor form the public. Scientific studies prove that there is no better time to convince the public when they are in great fear after something dangerous has unfolded (Horgan 8).
Herynato evaluated the American political language of a person who was a yesterday’s terrorist as the leader of today, and the one who is in opposition of today’s leadership is considered a terrorist(26). Thus, in the United States of America the word Terrorist is usually used to refer to people who are freedom fighters. Therefore, in America’s political language a terrorist is a person who uses violence that is not supported by the government (Heryanto 35). This means that violence which is supported by the government is not terrorism, and the people performing it are not terrorists.
Taking a look at world war two, those who resisted were not considered terrorists, although many civilians were killed and property destroyed (Smith 17). Today those who fight against what they feel is not right are considered terrorists. Most politicians in today’s world are heard using the word terrorist against freedom fighters. They tend to forget that they too once fought for freedom and the rights of humans. Therefore, it is inappropriate for them to use the word terrorist to refer to their opponents (Smith 27).
According to Nathanson politicians know that when they use the word terrorist; they instill fear to their audience (26). Therefore, they will not have anyone standing up against them because the opponents will be afraid of being called terrorists (Nathanson 28).There are some activities which take place in the government, and they can also be considered as terrorism.
The government of the United States for example, considers anyone who puts resistance against them as a terrorist. Some groups may have used terrorist tactics to get attention, but in their group they are not considered to as terrorists (Nathanson 29). This does not mean that people should kill others in the name of fighting for freedom. The point being driven home is that politicians should stop using the word terrorist to refer to those who are not even close to terrorism (Nathanson 30). Politicians should be able to differentiate between the word terrorist and resistance. Those who oppose, and tend to resist against a certain regime should be considered as resistors. Terrorists are those who use violence, and kill people intentionally to get national and worldwide attention.
Nathan reported that, the media especially the American media has found itself frequently using the word terrorist (9). This is due to the influence from politicians. The media have to broadcast what the politicians say, and each word is aired nationwide. The media tries very hard to avoid the use the word terrorist. This is because it stirs the general audience. The media first leaves the police to carry out proper investigations. After the investigations that is when a suspect can he aired in the news as a terrorist. The person will be considered a terrorist when everything is clear, and that he or she is performing terror activities (Nathanson 40).
The word terrorist is used inappropriately by politicians, and something must be done about it. The word stirs controversy among the audience. Some years ago politicians referred to any Muslim who is suspected of terror activities as a terrorist. Some of the Muslim suspects are not all terrorists. The media has come in reality to the use of the word; and has seen the effects of using the word terrorist in the general public. The media are trying hard to phase out the word terrorist in their headlines. It is also noted that some politicians are trying hard to avoid the use of the word terrorist; some organizations have emerged, and are trying hard to protest against the use of the word terrorist.