Martin Gus’s Chapter 1, ‘Defining Terrorism,’ examined issues with terrorism, which includes New Terrorism, Extremists, and Guerrilla Fighters. Overall, I was pleased with the amount of definitions, and explanations Martin included, such as definitions of what terrorism exactly is, how media portrays terrorism, as well as public reactions to terrorism. I found Martin’s idea that while citizens of the United States reacted with horror to the 9/11 bombings of the World Trade Center, other citizens of different countries acted with rejoice quite interesting. I had never thought of this before. I had assumed, from North America’s responses, that the bombings are absolutely devastating, but Martin points out the idea that other countries think differently. I also like Martin’s idea that people in their own countries, such as Britain, as the textbook describes, do not regard the organizations as freedom fighters, but as terrorists. This differentiation in perception interests me and I think Martin raised excellent awareness through this Chapter.
I much enjoyed Martin’s explanation and dedication to the Chapter terms, such as extremists. For extremists, Martin explains that extremists have a system that is made up by intolerance; by this, Martin also adds that extremists always justify their violence and notes that only people who act indifferently to extremist ideas are terrorists. I also liked how Martin did not only focus on the World Trade Center bombing, but brought in explosions in other countries, such as Columbia. Martin explains the concept of terrorism with great depth and detail, and includes the four divisions of terrorism, which are state, dissident, religious as well as international terrorism. I appreciate Martin’s explanatory definitions of all of his terms, as trying to read a Chapter or the rest of the book without the premises of the main ideas is extremely difficult.
While Guerrilla fighters (people in the military who take control of various parts of territory) are mentioned, Martin’s main focus seemed to be on extremists. Martin explained extremists in a great detail, with the ideas that extremists have intolerance, moral beliefs, overall assumptions to their ideas as well as joined beliefs. While Martin provided an excellent basis for these concepts, I felt that Martin could have improved this Chapter by adding more examples to his text that are Historically relevant. While the Cold War between the US and the Soviet Union is obviously important, I feel that more recent wars, such as the one in Iraq, should be mentioned and discussed, as they are still in occurrence. Also, another example that makes me question relevance is the war against the Spanish that Martin mentions, which ended in 1898. Is this really relevant and comparable to our society now? I understand the importance of it, but I wish there were more modern examples.
I liked Martin’s use of imagery. The explosion at the Twin Towers really made an impact on myself and reminded myself of why people like George Bush said ‘if you’re not with us, you’re with the terrorists.’ As Charles noted in class, this statement put a lot of fear in international organizations. I also liked the picture of the Colombian military officer taking a break at an explosion site in Columbia. This reminds me that there is still some order in society, even in the most chaotic times. Along with this pictures, I like Martin’s idea of New Terrorism, whereby New Terrorism is developed by weapons which cause numerous fatalities. I also like Martin’s use of division and connection in society, with his definitions of combatant and noncombatant people. These definitions raise important points to the abuse of power, past and current authority figures, as well as either the failure or dedication of individuals’ needs.
I also liked Martin’s idea of how media portrays events, such as bombings. Countries perceive the events differently, and as Martin notes, some people react with either joy or devastation. Films without sound, an explanation or background information are incredibly hard to understand or decipher. An example of this would be in my Visual Anthropology class. My Professor showed a film of something being destroyed. People’s reactions of the class were a game, desecration of a religious icon, a planned event, or a political rally. This is relevant to Martin’s idea of perception through the media because if members of one society see the film in different meanings, then others do as well.