P. Edronkin

Terrorism, Travel, Safety and the Fear Factor

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After the attacks of September 11, 2001 that took place in the United States, a culture of fear has been installed, but while terrorism is of course a problem, it is nowhere as significant as some media, politicians and government officials want people to believe it is in order to increase their grip over the public: a fearful public is more docile if you promise people to protect them and give the impression that you are doing so by imposing cumbersome restrictions to travel.

The real question is whether those controls do their work or the don't, and the answer seems to be leaning more on the second choice. Terrorism seeks to change the lifestyle of people at large: so far, in the case at least of the United States and some of its allies, it did. Thus, we can say that up to this point, the so-called war on terror is being won by terrorists who just needed nineteen mentally sick guys and four aircraft to make the most powerful nation in the world fearful in its own turf.

It also induced the superpower into kicking any one around, invading non-related countries and quarrel with about everyone else. In other words, a handful of people changed everything in favour of terrorists' agendas.

But terrorism is not new and for years other countries have suffered it; many fought them and finally won without the need for travel restrictions, human rights violations and so on. All those things have little to do with the real fight against terror, and more with taking advantage of the situation in order to gain control over the population. Granted, Al-Qaida is an enemy of values such as freedom, liberty and so on, but setting up secret prisons, keeping people arrested without charges for years, invading countries and practically insulting every single country that places an objection to a very violent policy is as enemy of freedom and democracy as it is to blow up innocent passengers.

It is indeed necessary to destroy terrorist groups, fighting them as best as it is possible, but always keeping in mind what the fight is about and what consequences will the methods used have in the future. Believing that one may enjoy immunity from prosecution just because some people think in that way is plainly stupid: Milosevic's guys, Der Führer and lads like those also thought that they would enjoy immunity until the end of time. No one could, so far.

And we have to be careful regarding travel restrictions in the sense that seeing other people and learning about their differences is the best way to give and hear constructive criticism; so, no wonder that some people who never liked to be criticised in their lives are trying now to block travelling as much as they can, because they are running from blunder to blunder and don't want their constituents to think.

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