Acts of Violence
Violent acts have been on the rise across the world. They range from acts of terrorism to government sponsored acts. There are different factors behind these events with some being similar while others vary depending on whether it is an act of terrorism or government sponsored initiative. Variance in the causal factors may also be attributed to situational factors or disposition towards certain forms of violent acts. These factors also revolve around religion and politics. Both forms are common and threaten the peace and stability of nations. To fully understand the nature of these forms of violence, one needs to look at their real causes, their similarities, and factors that promote them.
There are several similarities between terrorist acts and government sponsored violence in terms of the contributing factors. One of these is seeking dominance. A minority group may want to gain power and a have significant say on matters relating to the governance of a country or a religion to be made the state religion (Stout, 304). Such violent acts result from a feeling of marginalization, oppression or discrimination. For instance, some of the terrorist activities conducted by the members of the Islamic faith are usually meant to scare some of the nations that are mainly made up of Christians. An example of this is in the terrorist attacks carried out in Germany against innocent people to demand constitutional recognition of the hijab (a veil wrapped around an Islamic lady’s head to hide their identity) as part of the school uniform for Muslim lady students. On the other hand, the violence propagated against Islamists in Egypt by the secular government was seen as an attempt by the state to suppress the influence of the Islam religion in the country.
There are also differences with regard to the contributing factors when it comes to terrorism and state sponsored violence. Terrorism is mainly a result of a motivation to undermine the control of the state. One can use this motivation to explain the United States’ independence war. Assassination of high profile and symbolic persons is usually intended to incite the state into counter-terrorism to polarize a country’s population. An example of this is the 1963 and 1994 assassination of the American and Rwandan presidents respectively (Ahram, 6-9). They are also meant to attract the attention of the international community to struggles that would otherwise remain unreported. On the other hand, state sponsored violence is mainly caused by fear of losing power. It is usually intended to create fear in a population that in most cases forms the majority of the country’s population. Violence instigated by the Egyptian government against the Islamists also provides an example of violence conducted for of fear of losing power.
Situational factors play a significant role in promoting violent acts. For example, the attack on Iraq by the U.S based on claims that were not validated, which resulted to retaliatory attacks by terrorists on U.S soil. Dispositional factors also play a role in motivating terrorist activities. A good example is the tendency by die hard Jihadists to prioritize violent courses of action in promoting their agenda (Schmid, Alex and Crelinsten 103-117).
It is clear that state sponsored violence and terrorism have both similarities and differences with respect to their contributing factors and that understanding their nature calls for looking at their real causes, their similarities, and factors that promote them. Religion and politics come out as the main roots of most of these forms of violence. However, it is difficult to address this problem. Therefore, there is a need for more research into it if it is to be solved conclusively.
- Ahram, al-Dīn A. J. Terrorism and Political Violence: An Egyptian Perspective. Chicago: Office of International Criminal Justice, the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1987. Print
- Schmid, Alex P, and Ronald D. Crelinsten. Western Responses to Terrorism. London: F. Cass, 1993. Print
- Stout, Chris E. The Psychology of Terrorism. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2002. Print.