Explain why you have chosen this particular theme and issue
Terrorism have been around for centuries, from the first act carried out by Jewish Sicariis (dagger-killers in plural Latin) using political killings in an attempt to overthrow the Roman empire and cleanse their Holy Land by stabbing important figures in public to the earth-shaking event of 9/11 which took down the World Trade Centre and left a gap in the hearts of many Americans. Most terrorist carry out these horrifying acts in hope that they bring their message across or drive out a certain group of people whom they think have violated their territory.
Since young, terrorism has been an intriguing issue to me, hence the prompt choice of theme for this exploratory paper. It shows the extent a human being would go in order to execute their form of belief or to eliminate an individual or a group of religion whom they think pose a threat to their beliefs. Terrorist would go as far as going against nature by killing a fellow human being or even taking it as far as wiping out the lives of a group of innocent people with a bomb before taking their own life along with them, in the belief that there is a better world for them after they die. Numerous news of car bombings reported all around the world has numb the wakeup shock that its supposed bring to people. It’s no longer a surprising issue for the average person watching the news just as long as the event did not take place in his immediate vicinity. I hope that this essay will give a more in depth explanation to terrorism and also serve as a reminder to the Singaporean readers that terrorism is a force to be reckoned with and everybody should play their part by heeding to precautions provided by the government.
Why is it important for us to explore this issue?
A well placed homemade bomb or an explosion at a chemical plant could easily take the life of many innocent people. And with globalisation and technology increasing on an exponential level, it can be challenging to identify a terrorist among a group of tourist walking through a security gateway of an airport. He can easily manufacture a bomb with commercial materials once he steps into a foreign country. With this guerilla tactic, nobody will know when and where the next bomb will go off. We can lose our loved ones within a blink of an eye.
It is essential that fellow humans take the effort to understand each other’s differences and where terrorism is coming from instead of just focusing on countering it with more advance weaponry and technology. All these are just short term solutions and it is easier for terrorist organisations to keep up with technology than the military or government can create new ones.
If contradictory beliefs coming from different races and religions are not understood and tolerated, it could lead to frustration and further to violence and ultimately, terrorism. A longer term and better solution would be peace talks held among the religious and world leaders to seek a higher understanding of their differences.
How does/can the issue affect us in Singapore?
According to studies done by officials in the US government, terrorist attacks have increased 3 fold in the last 10 years, with the 9/11 incident paving the way for smaller scales attacks all around the world. A security expert at a conference in Abu Dhabi said that terrorist attacks worldwide are expected to increase in the next two decades. With terrorist attacks rising at an exponential rate, we will never know if it will strike Singapore one day. If Singapore were to let her guard down, the consequences could be unbearable.
Singapore is a multiracial country which cannot afford any terrorist attacks to reach our grounds. With our limited space, an exploding car parked beside a MRT could injure and kill a significant number of commuters; a “dirty” bomb could spread a pandemic and heavily cripple our population. Singapore, a country whose only natural resources are its citizens, relies heavily on trade and tourism to fuel its economy. A well timed and placed terrorist attack could send both sectors spiraling down concurrently. Ships will choose a different port and foreigners will strike off Singapore from their holiday list. When that happens, Singapore may find it hard to get back on her feet, or maybe even not at all.
That is why Singapore has adopted a prevention and deterrence strategy for countering terrorism. For example, back in 2001, Jemaah Islamiyah(JI)’s plan to launch an attack on several different embassies, including Yishun MRT station, was thwarted due to our security’s diligence and alertness. It is only through our government’s perseverance and reliable intelligence that Singapore is able to keep her citizens safe.
Terrorism is a disease born centuries ago out of discrimination; religious intolerance and contradictory beliefs. It is a growing disease that cannot be curbed by spending millions on more advanced technology and asking more young men to join the army. What we deem as the best way to counter terrorism could be the very fuel that runs this killing machine. A much better way to put an end to this plague would be to seek a mutual understanding between different religions; races; beliefs; political leaders and fellow human beings. Let this also serve as a reminder to the Singaporean reader that even though terrorism has yet to struck our city, it does not mean that it never will. Citizens should always play their part to maintain this peace that Singapore already has, not just reporting the suspicious bag found in the MRT but also taking the effort to understand other races as well. All in all, terrorism is a sensitive issue that should be handled with the upmost care and consideration if one hopes for anything to be solved at all.
The Antenna Conspiracy, 2005, Retrieved from,
http://www.members.tripod.com/antenna_conspiracy0/terror_attack_history.htm Susan B. Glasser, U.S. Figures Show Sharp Global Rise In Terrorism, 27 April 2005, Retrieved from http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/04/26/AR2005042601623.html World terrorism will rise, expert says, 23 March 2011, Retrieved from http://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2011/03/23/World-terrorism-will-rise-expert-says/UPI-33051300891489/