The terror of terror

I don’t know if you’ve heard of a film that is out these days, “Munich” by Steven Spielberg. It’s the story of a young Mossad agent (alias “Avner”) who, with another four agents, undertakes a revenge mission to assassinate the terrorists who were behind the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. I haven’t seen the film yet but I’m looking forward to it, and I’ve already started going through the original book by journalist George Jonas.

What fascinates me is not so much the details of intelligence work (of which the book is full) or the personal challenges that young “Avner” encounters. Suffice to say that the people involved in this type of work are very different from the rest of us and their motivation is often a very hard nut to crack. However, what I am interested in are – as the story intends – the strange dynamics of political terror.

There is no doubt that our era will be branded “The Age of Terrorism” by future historians. Is there anyone out there that can keep track of the daily car-bombs going off in Iraq and Palestine? Today alone the UK mourned its 100th dead soldier in Iraq. The recent election of Hamas in Palestine caused ripples of concern in the EU who had to re-think its funding to the country. And in the background, people are being kidnapped, people are blowing up undergrounds, buses, buildings and themselves in the name of whatever ideology/religion they follow.

It’s certainly not new. The idea of using terror to impose and/or propagate ideas is pretty old and becomes ancient if the definition is broad enough. Those familiar with Guy Fawkes and his friends will trace it back to 1605. I personally tend to view the Crusades as a form of organised terrorism myself. And the debatable list goes on and on.

The issue that Avner’s story raises is a little different though. It’s the question of how far can someone go to counter terrorism without resorting to the same tactics terrorists use. And especially to anyone who’s ever had a little combat and tactics training, the question is intensely pertinent, simply because they have a taste of how thin the line between offense and defense is.

(In the end, dead people all look the same).

No, I’m not going to offer solutions to the Middleastern problem – there are far more qualified people out there who are trying to. But it is sad to watch this global perpetuation of unecessary violence, especially when it affects the lives of children, as happened in Beslan in 2004. But I suppose that that is the purpose of terrorism: to instill fear and threaten the innocent in order to affect the higher-ups. And as a former soldier, I can only regard such use of force as cheap, cowardly, incompetent, and contemptible.

2 thoughts on “The terror of terror

  1. hi! how are you and your work? i hope that gels are still that good:) i’m back to poland, with lot of work ahead of me. take care and please say ‘hi!’ for me to everyone in the lab:)


  2. Dear BICs,Thanks for the tea…Smile a while and while you smile others smile and soon there’s miles of smiles and life’s worth while because YOU smile!LoveSIC Caroline and SIC Esther


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