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2020 | 12(1) | 151-165

Article title

The Essence of Terrorism


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The area of content to which the term “terrorism” refers is very broad and is also the subject of numerous studies. However, the results indicate significant discrepancies in the understanding of the term, resulting not only in an ambiguous perception, but above all in the lack of a generally accepted definition of the phenomenon. Researchers see it as an ideology, as well as a strategy, tactics or method of fighting, and finally as a tool for achieving the goals set. The validity of the meaning assigned to them has been verified by analysing the definitions of individual concepts, and in the search for the scope of meaning of the word terrorism, the terms that are indicated as its synonyms have also been used. The research conducted indicated political motivation as a feature distinguishing a terrorist from an ordinary criminal. Terrorists try to influence the power of a given country, also aiming at causing disturbances in its decision-making processes and, as a result, paralysing the state apparatus. The main characteristic of terrorism is the use of violence, which can take the form of any behaviour that results in the creation of a state of fear and danger in the human psyche. The purpose of terrorism is, therefore, to deliberately arouse and exploit fear, and its far-reaching psychological consequences go well beyond the immediate victims. Arousing fear in a society of the likelihood of a terrorist attack aims to force a government, organisation or social group to take or abandon certain actions. The adoption of such a tactic of action is an effect of disproportions, concerning both quantitative parameters of military potentials and factors determining the level of civilisation, and the differences lie in both the way of thinking and views, as well as the method of conducting a fight. In such a context, the power of terrorism comes from surprise, brutality and a task of the greatest possible loss in the shortest possible time, using unconventional methods. Unfortunately, the use of terrorist methods has become widespread and the threat of terrorism has become global.





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