Nofear has been exaggerated, over reported,misrepresented and exploited as terrorism phobia in the modern worldtoday and in particular thepost American September 2011 attack. The fear has become irredeemably one of the modern day nightmaresanywhere in the world from west to east, large or small, developed orundeveloped and even to the darkest part of the continent. All overthe world the modern societies have been subjected to shudder at themention or sights of violent acts that less or often are associatedwith terrorism. Indeed, it has become a social anxiety in thedevelopment of social, political, economic and foreign policies ofmost states. Relations between governments or individuals perceivedas enemies within and outside the territorial boundaries have beendirectly and indirectly influenced by the unfounded fear of terrorism(Pankaj,2009 p.2).
Greatresources have been deployed for the purpose of intelligence,research in other aspects of terrorism like agroterrorism and secretespionage to avert any possible terrorist threat. The exaggeratedfear of terrorism is so intense such that citizens of most states inthe modern world have lost their civil liberties through secrettaping of information. No State has exhibited this sensitivity andunfounded fear of terrorism than the United States and recentresearch abound that the U.S has incorporated the most sophisticatedpost-modern information technology in its intelligence entity everycall globally is monitored by the national intelligence service.
Theword terrorism has become an over-used and indispensable word in themodern world many have vague connotation, lack precise and concreteexpression and explanation of what true terrorism is. The media hasoverlay given a convoluted and sometimes misrepresentation of theterm terrorism leading to labeling of every violent act as‘terrorism’ when one turn up newspapers and televisions, thesame message is relayed. Disparate acts such as car bombing, foodpoisoning or contamination, assassination of government officials,antigovernment riots and even organized syndicate of criminals havebeen associated with acts of ‘terrorism’ this shows the extentto which the cultural fear of terrorism has negatively influenced thesociety to an exaggerated extent (Pankaj,2009p.3).
Thedefinition of terrorism is in itself unsatisfactorily, whilecommunicating terrorism, many media and government institutionselucidate scares and lacks authentic meaning of terrorism. Accordingto many analysts, the term terrorism is in part a political and apejorative concept used to give a negative reference to statesenemies or opponents. The misrepresentation of the term ‘terrorism’has therefore, led to obfuscation of rationality by intensifying fearemotions in the nation. In particular, this has led many governmentsto reduce its connotation to public safety and to associate‘terrorist’ activities to particular groups. After recentterrorist activities in the West, there has been widespread illusoryculture of fear that has defined the States’ relation with theirperceived ‘web of evil’ a case in example is the overrated fearof youthful Muslim minority in Europe and banning of Punjabamong Muslim women. Ideally, terrorism is associated with pursuit andacquisition of power and achieves political leverage terrorism hashistorically been the use of violence in pursuit of political aims orsocial justice.
However,this connotation of terrorism has defied the straightforwardconnotation in the modern society the meaning has changed over yearsto refer to irrational terror activities by extremist groups fromMuslim countries. While terrorism has been an exaggerated fear in thepostmodern society, assessment of historical facts indicates thatthis culture of fear existed in olden era as espoused in Russianrevolutions, French revolutions and after World War II. Due tounfounded fear of ‘terror’ on government officials throughassassination, most governments’ regimes adopted uncouth ways ofeliminating their perceived political enemies. Throughout history andespecially after World War II and the cold war era, terrorists hasbeen associated with disgruntled elements of former communist statesas a modern way of destabilizing the west without riskingretribution. Evidence collected from terrorist groups indicate thatthey do not refer themselves as terrorist, but rather warriorsfighting Holy war this assertion leads to misunderstanding as towhat terrorisms means.
Inthe modern society, framing and political communication of terrorismhave escalated the cultural fear of terrorism. The media inparticular has elucidated misrepresentation of terrorist acts thathas further embedded culture of fear and reduced the notion ofsecurity in the society. As a result, government communications onterrorism have been patchy, ambiguous and ill conceived. In thisrespect, most governments have individualized risk attacks andattached responsibilities to citizens, a move that has exacerbateduncertainty and social stress. The pervasiveness of terrorism riskshas influenced the shift from acquisition of security to avoidancethis situation has been exacerbated by media intensification of therisk issues by ‘exploding’ information to the public withoutauthentication (Pankaj,2009 p.2).
Asa result of these misrepresentations of terrorism acts andexaggerated fear has seen many governments engage in securitymeasures, enacting anti-terrorist legislation, engaging in heatedpublic debates and campaigns. In the wake of terrorism, mostgovernments have been hesitant in sharing sensitive terroristinformation with the media this has resulted in leakage of unclearand inaccurate information to media provoking governments and mediaconflicts. These incorrect misrepresentations of information by themedia exacerbate public concerns and confusion leading to unnecessaryfear about terrorism. A case in example is the old Trafford perceivedbombing where a rogue police had leaked unverified information aboutOld Trafford bombing this situation led to mediatization of theissue creating irrational fear among the public (Pankaj,2009 p.4).
Terrorismactivities should be curtailed by all measures possible, however, themedia, government and the public must be rational about the subjectof terrorism to reduce bias, misrepresentation and creation ofambiguity which exacerbates cultural anxiety and fear. Evidenceindicates that, in most contemporary societies there has beenescalation of irrational fear about terrorism. While terrorismremains an overt and criminal activity which should be aggressivelycrashed by all means, there is need by the government and otherinstitutions to create and enhance sobriety in informing the publicabout terrorism. In the absence of such measures, a society plaguedby illusionary panic is a vulnerable society.
PankajMishra(August 15, 2009). "Aculture of fear".London: TheGuardian.Retrieved 2014-29-05.Internet Resource