The estimated reading time for this post is 9 Minutes

Introduction:

Whilst modern terrorism is assumed to be the ideology of states like IS, it expands further than that. Modern terrorism is sometimes expressed by those who feel cast away by society and act out of vengeance and hatred. An example of this is the Toronto Van Attack (John Paul Tasker, CBC 2018), which was a major tragedy last year and could be displayed as a direct attack on Canada’s civilization and a threat to civilization as a whole. The Toronto Van Attack (CBC 2018) caused extreme damage to the people of Canada, harming them emotionally and physically, whilst also heavily disrupting the business districts and the transport systems of Toronto. (Rozina Sabur, Telegraph 2018). Civilization is considered to be the stage in which society reaches an advanced level of social, science, industry, government development, and organization (Dictionary.com). The responses from political leaders at this time, especially Justin Trudeau, left a hallmark on how terrorism was regarded in the Western World. Terrorism is a current ongoing issue, and it will continue to occur due to it being an ideology that affects how people address each day and live out their lives, terrorism strikes fear into some people’s minds and it affects both young and old. Political responses and approaches will be analyzed. Firstly, how terrorism poses a constant threat to the modern world, especially the major countries and their systems, e.g. France. Secondly, the effects of radicalism on certain civilizations and how radicalism is one of the biggest contributions to modern terrorism. Thirdly, recent terror attacks will be analysed to view the reasons behind them, and also how the political governments prepared for the next attack or how they reduced the chance of another terrorist attack occurring.

Body:

Threat Levels

The threat that terrorism poses’ has constantly fluctuated, mainly due to the Syrian civil war and Iraq protests of their government (Ambassador Chas W. Freeman Jr, MEPC 2012). The Syrian civil war has contributed a large amount of the threat to the modern world since it began in 2011. It has caused around 470,000 deaths and still growing (Megan Specia, New York Times, 2018). There have been many different sides involved in the civil war that have risen and fallen, the Syrian Arab Republic government and the anti-Syrian Republic government. The largest threat that this civil war has created is the creation and birth of ISIS, Islamic State

In the UK threat levels posed by terrorism are measured in five different stages, all with different severity levels. Low – an attack is unlikely, Moderate – an attack is possible, but not likely, Substantial – an attack is a strong possibility, Severe – an attack is highly likely and Critical – an attack is expected imminently (Wikipedia). These are set by the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre and the Security Service MI5 (GOV.UK). These threat levels are key in keeping the population of the UK safe, allowing them to be more cautious in times of Critical, Severe, and Moderate. The threat levels are also key to the government, it enables them to be able to expect a terrorist attack and increase security measures within the UK to prevent attacks. ‘Vigilance is vital regardless of the current national threat level…sharing national threat levels with the general public keeps everyone informed’ (M15, BBC, 2017). The problem with how the threat levels are measured is that they are not always accurate and sometimes can lead to a false prognosis. The current threat level in the UK, for international threats is sitting at severe, whilst threats from Northern Ireland are ranked at moderate (GOV.UK). These identifications could lead to mass destruction of industry, transport, and culture within the UK, an example would be the Manchester Arena attack (BBC, 2017).

Radicalization:

In 2018, a study was conducted to identify the demographic of people who use the Internet; 4.021 billion was the recorded demographic, which is a large portion of the world’s population (WeAreSocial, 2018). Arguably, the most easily manipulated audience within online communities is 6-18-year-olds. This is because of young people, especially teens, are susceptible to experiencing sensitivity. Within this bracket of sensitivity includes social acceptance, rejection and not belonging (PHYS.ORG, 2018). Teens are one of the largest audiences on the internet, especially on social media, spending mass amounts of periods browsing through posts and advertisements. This leads to extreme exposure to the potential threat of modern terrorism and its radicalization attempts. The use of propaganda on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, has constantly been a problem for governments around the world to counter. In the UK since February 2010 a total of 95,000 propaganda posts have been removed from the internet, with new ones constantly popping up (GOV.UK, 2015). In 2013, a study was set out to find how radicalism/extremism uses the internet to radicalize people. They discovered that the internet creates more opportunities for people to be radicalized, and the internet creates an acceleration in the process of radicalism (Luke Gibbon, RAND, 2013).

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Political speeches:

Theresa May, Prime Minister of the U.K., gave a speech on the London Bridge Terror attack of 2017 (Joshua Posaner, Politico, 2017). “An attack on the free world”. The London Bridge attack claimed 8 deaths and 48 injuries (BBC News, 30th May 2018). The Politico article only highlights a portion of Theresa May’s speech and is very brief in highlighting the details of the attack, compared to GOV.UK, which regurgitates the whole speech. GOV.UK is quite a reliable source due to it being the government’s website, and because it is recapturing the full detail of the speech on the London Bridge attack. The long-term plan in her speech is identifiable. “It will only be defeated when we turn people’s minds away from this violence – and make them understand that our values – pluralistic, British values – are superior to anything offered by the preachers and supporters of hate.” (GOV.UK). However, the short-term plan on how to deal with modern terrorism is unclear within the speech. From this part of the speech, we can identify that modern terrorism is of a high threat level and will be difficult to limit the threat. Another instance of where Theresa May has given a speech on the idea of modern terrorism is present in an online news article, (Robin Wright, New Yorker). In comparison, to the (Joshua Posaner, Politico, 2017) article, it goes into some depth and is explored and explained by a professional who gives their opinion on the matter of modern terrorism. Bruce Hoffman (Inside Terrorism), comments on how Theresa May was correct in deeming modern terrorism to be experiencing a new trend, “We believe we are experiencing a new trend in the threat we face”. The (New Yorker, 2017) can be viewed as a good source, due to it highlighting how Theresa May is aware of the dangers that modern terrorism may pose and how modern terrorism could be a huge threat to society’s functions.

Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, gave a speech after the terrorist attack that took place in Toronto occurred. (John Paul Tasker, CBC, 2018), the attack resulted in 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 attempted murders. “We need to continue to reflect on the changing situations in which we’re in and do everything we can to keep Canadians safe. But we cannot, as Canadians, choose to live in fear every single day as we go about our daily business”. (John Paul Tasker, CBC, 2018). The select part from Justin Trudeau’s speech acknowledges the urgency of the matter and how quickly modern terrorism is changing. It is also addressing the people on how they should lead their lives in the face of terrorism. The source is quite good because it explores how the PM of Canada is aiming to keep his people calm and strong. The van attack that occurred in Toronto caused problems within the city, which affected the civilization. One was that the bus and Toronto subway service were closed in that area and rerouted, which would have reduced the efficiency of transportation. The other problem was some of the business sectors that were nearby were shut down for the day. Both problems only fully resumed on the 25th of April 2018 (Toronto Van Attack, Wikipedia).

The attack that took place in Oslo and Utøya, Norway on 22 July 2011 is regarded as one of the worst cases of modern terrorism recorded (Peter Beaumont, The Guardian, 2011). In Oslo, a total of 8 people died in a bombing, and in Utøya 69 people (67 being shot). Most people who died in the Utøya attacks were 14-20 years of age. (Wikipedia/CNN, 2018). Jens Stoltenberg, the prime minister at the time of the attacks gave a speech, in which he stated “We are still shocked by what has happened, but we will never give up our value…Our response is more democracy, more openness, and more humanity…We will answer hatred with love”, (Richard Orange, The Guardian, 2012). This source presents a different approach towards modern terrorism compared to the CBC, Politico, and New Yorker articles. This article highlights the culture of Norway and the way they respond to impacting and damaging events.

In conclusion, I believe that modern terrorism is a high threat to civilization. I believe it is a high threat to civilization because it causes dismay amongst politicians and the amount of precautions they take to ensure that it has a lower chance to occur, yet it still occurs. Another reason I believe that it is of high threat is that the influence of radicalization on the youth is an ever-growing presence due to the increase in demand and use of online technology. It is easily accessible to modern terrorists who can influence young people to commit atrocities.

References:

    1. John Paul Tasker, CBC (Toronto Van attack, 2018) 
    2. Rozina Sabur, Telegraph (Toronto Van attack, 2018) 

 

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