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Editorial

Editorial

J S Yadav

 

PSYCHOSOCIAL PERSPECTIVE OF TERRORISM

Terrorism usually refers to the killing of people by non-government political activists for political reasons but many organizations given definition of terrorism by their own perspectives like UN Security Council Resolution 1566 (2004) gives definition as it is criminal acts, against civilians, committed with the intent to cause death or serious bodily injury with the purpose to provoke a state of terror in the general public or in a group of persons or particular persons, intimidate a population or compel a government or an international organization to do or to abstain from doing any act 1.

The European Union define terrorism for legal purposes, this define that terrorist offences are certain criminal offences committed against persons or their properties, the nature or context of offences , may seriously damage a country or an organization. It seriously intimidating the population or unduly compelling a government or international organization to perform or abstain from performing any act. It may seriously destabilizing or destroying the fundamental political, constitutional, economic or social structures of a country or an international organization 2. The law of United States defines terrorism as activities that involve violence or life-threatening acts that are violation of the criminal laws of any State and appear to be intended (I) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping. The typical terrorist objectives include: 1. Attract public attention to the group’s grievances 2. Encourage empathy for their unfair/unjust situation and sympathy for the cause 3. Demonstrate the inability of the state to provide security 4. Demonstrate the illegitimacy of the state’s institutions 5. Polarize the public to simplify the debates and arguments 6. Coerce the public into pressuring the state into compromise solutions 7. Force the state into repressive reactions that discredit the government 8. Force the state into repressive reactions that serve to recruit new members and supporters 9. Demonstrate the economic consequences of continued violence 10. Highlight the potential political consequences of continued conflict 11. Attract international attention and encourageintervention 12. Provoke widespread civil uprising to change the government, or form a separate stat 3.

Thus there are frequent questions arises to mental health professionals that (1). What make people become terrorist (2). What going on in terrorist mind (3). How you diagnose the terrorist, but answer is not so easy, because there are different kinds of terrorism and terror violence, each terrorist has his own personality, terrorist have particular types of psychological characteristics, mental health professional are not aware of internal politics of different countries 4. According some controversy it is revolutionary acts organised against military and “One man’s terrorism is another man’s freedom fighter”. But this term is highly avoidable because no any movement allow to torture of his prisoners and cruel against own citizens. Though predictive factors of developing terrorism is very difficult, but sometimes few factors gives important diagnostic supports , these factors are (1). Preparatory and personality type taking about leaders and followers (2) psychological, financial dependence (3). Absence of guardian/parents etc. 5. However in case of Suicidal terrorism, person psychologically prepared that if they die in service of terrorist organization or political gain, their family will receive incentives or other reasons of including religious promise ,culture expectation, intoxication, psychological preparation such as hypnosis, brain washing or operant conditioning 6,7. In many condition they have in a position that if they will not take part in suicidal mission their family will suffer with serious consequences. Bandura 1996 explain that terrorist behaviour not as a consequences of innate but of cognitive reconstruction of moral imperative, as teenagers living in hotbeds of political strife that may directly witnessed behaviour and to imitate them learn from their culture 8.

Karl von Clausewitz described “war as politics are two types of terrorism: rational and irrational. Rational terrorism has a political goal and a purpose. Irrational terror might be described as mindless violence that serves some dark psychological imbalance and is as difficult to understand as the motives of serial killers. The conventional wisdom is highly politicized and may be better characterized as propaganda, myth and misperception. One current theme is that terrorism is not the result of poverty and economic deprivation. "Research shows that terrorists are never poor and uneducated. “While some on the left urge policymakers to address the root causes of terrorism 9. Kelly and Rieber1999 explain the social theory of “acceptability of terrorist” that may take in forms of didactic teaching by extremist in from of jihad in many religious schools however this theory also fail to explain that why only a small minority of among the hundreds of thousand educated students becomes actual terrorist. It has been seen that faces of terrorism changed time to time as if we see in past 2000, we will found that focus of terrorist organisations was nationalist separation such as the Chechen rebels who were behind the most attacks. The number of incidents from nationalist separatist groups has remained relatively stable in the years since while religious extremism has grown10. In recent years according to 20013 year’s Global Terrorism Index, Religious extremism has become the main driver of terrorism, for example recorded 18,000 deaths in 2013, a rise of 60% on the previous year. The majority (66%) of these were attributable to just four groups: Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq and Syria, Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Taliban in Afghanistan and al-Qaida11. The Psychological theory in causes of terrorism leads multiple factors those even affects to each other and have complex interaction of biological, social, cognitive and emotional factors. The effects of terrorism are different kinds it can affect directly or indirectly to the country, psychosocial environment and humanities. The short term consequences causes potentially affect economic growth in the run through a number of channels. Such attacks can increase uncertainty which limits investments and diverts foreign direct investment (FDI). In men and women ASD and PTSD are more likely to develop in those who exposed to violence or personal threat to life, and in those experiencing overwhelming fear. Symptoms of ASD are common following exposure to traumatic experiences. By definition, ASD is a time-limited disorder, and the degree of impairment or distress is highly variable. It is likely that many persons who meet symptom criteria for the disorder will not experience prolonged functional impairment and will not seek medical attention. However, high levels of dissociation during and after a traumatic event have been associated with the future development of PTSD and depression. It may be difficult to assess rates of PTSD following acts of terrorism. Many individuals experience symptoms of intrusion, avoidance, and arousal without meeting the event exposure criteria of intense fear, helplessness or horror.  The effects of terrorism is short-lived but there is a minority of individuals those not directly involved in the incidents they can also continue to experience clinical or subclinical levels of symptoms, often informs of functional impairment. The data of exposure and risk shows that 30–40% of people directly affected by terrorist action are likely to develop PTSD, and 20% are likely still to be experiencing symptoms two years later. Finally terrorism left behind consequence of negative or positive behaviour of survivors, the positive behaviour are helping to other sufferers, bring them for counselling etc. and negative are development of PTSD, anxiety, depression, psychoactive substance abuse and may pose public health and mental health burdens that exceed those of diagnosable psychiatric disorders commonly associated with trauma. Millar L, Advocated that nature of terrorism should be delineated and the various psychological effects should be described, these include diagnostic clinical syndromes, as well as individual reactions. The Interventions in the immediate aftermath of a terrorist attack include on-scene crisis intervention, short-term psychological stabilization, and longer-term psychotherapeutic approaches are effective method for interventions of survivors. However, there were significant gaps in our knowledge about how to prepare populations and individuals for the possibility of a terrorist attack and what interventions to apply in the immediate aftermath of such an attack 13.Therefore in conclusion till date there is insufficient knowledge is available to fight with terrorism, predictions and consequences.

 

 

References

1.      Resolution 1566 (2004) Adopted by the Security Council at its 5053rd meeting, on 8 October 2004.

2.      Report from the Commission of 6 November 2007 on combating terrorism COM(2007) 681 final – Official Journal C 9 of 15.1.2008

3.      Terrorism and lists the crimes associated with terrorism. In Section 2331 of Chapter 113(B) United Kingdom’s Terrorism Act 2000.

4.      Beck, A. T. Prisoners of Hate. Behavior Research and Therapy 2002; 40(3): 209-216.

5.      Farrington, D.P Early prediction of violent and non-violent youthful offending. European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research1997; 5:51–66.

6.      Amy Waldman, “Masters of Suicide Bombing: Tamil Guerrillas of Sri Lanka,” The New York Times, 14 January 2003.

7.      Bruce Hoffman, “The Logic of Suicide Terrorism”. The Atlantic Monthly, June 2003. 47Ibid. 48Laqueur, p. 80. 49“Palestinians get Saddam funds,” BBC News, 13 March 2003, accessed at http://news.bbc.co.uk on 21 August 2003.

8.      A Bandura. Mechanisms of Moral Disengagement in the Exercise of Moral Agency. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1996, Vol. 71, No. 2, 364-374.

9.      Clausewitz, Von, (1908) ‘On War’ (translated by Graham, J.J.) reprinted London: Routledge, 1966.

10.  Kelly, R. J., and R. W. Rieber. Psychosocial impacts of terrorism and organized crime: The counter finality of the practico-inert. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless 1995; 4:265-86.

11.  Global Terrorism Database, ‘Codebook: Inclusion Criteria and Variables’, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), http://www.start.umd.edu/gtd/downloads/Codebook.pdf, 2012, (accessed 3 October 2014).

12.  Walter Enders and Todd Sandler. Terrorism and Foreign Direct Investment in Spain and Greece. International review for social sciences.1996; 49(3):331-352.

13.  Millar, M. G. & Tesser, A. The effects of affective-cognitive consistency and thought on the attitude-behaviour relation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 1989;25(2):189– 202.