The Root of All Evil

Aishwarya pens down an editorial for the UNGA

“Terrorism” today is no unfamiliar word. The world in the last few years has witnessed multiple gruesome attacks in different parts of the globe leading to the loss of several lives. The word “terrorist” automatically generates an image of a crazed looking man holding a rifle, driven by a strong and misinterpreted idea of what his religion wants for him to do to attain salvation; all set to fight what he believes, or has been made to believe is a Holy War against infidels.

One can trace the history of terrorism right back to the 18th Century in the form of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution, right down to the more contemporary terrorist units like the Al-Qaeda and the ISIS. It is extremely interesting to observe the similarities between all these terrorist organizations, despite each one of them being based in different parts of the world in different time periods. Most bodies that wreak terror often hail from poor nations, with a very low standard of living; or are constituted by disadvantaged factions within a nation. These groups genuinely believe that they are the victims of atrocities being meted out to them by their own governments, powerful sections of the society or by other nations. For instance, the French Revolution saw the working class overthrowing the bureaucrats who misused the power vested in them and left the rest of the nation to live in penury. Hundreds of years later, the Taliban wreaked havoc throughout the world to protest Western intervention in their nation, and to establish the fact that they would be extremely intolerant of any group that, in their opinion, was working towards eliminating their religion and faith.

What holds all these terrorist organizations together and drives them to take thousands of innocent lives for no obvious reason is a strong and powerful belief that their way is the only right way, and would show them the Path to Salvation. Their misinterpretation of what their religions define their purpose in life as being, blinds their rational judgment and causes them to take lives, even at the cost of their own.

The Unite States of America launched its War against Terror, swearing to rout out terrorism post the 9/11 attacks, and received the support of multiple nations all over the world, all of whom had faced the wrath of these terrorist wings that led to a loss of their citizens’ lives. But the question that still remains unanswered is, will the destruction of each and every single terrorist in the world today put an end to terrorism for good? Or is terrorism more of an abstract entity fuelled by either discontentment amongst the masses or hatred for other ethnic groups?

The War against Terror is about a lot more than merely launching military attacks to destroy every terrorist. It requires deeper analysis as to what causes people to turn to terrorism and who propagates these ideas and for what benefits. The key to battling terrorism is to battle the mind set in itself; to destroy the strong emotions that drive these radical beliefs. While all this is easier said than done, it remains the only way to put an end to terrorism and to restore peace and security throughout the world.