Terrorism may be easier to pinpoint than it is to explain

European countries consider Hezbollah a political party, says NPR.

Terrorism is a violent and sometimes coercive form of action. However, groups involved in “terrorist” activities, according to some nations, are assigned a legitimate political party status by others, as is the case with the Lebanese Hezbollah.

In order to analyze their political, cultural or religious objective, it is important to understand that terrorist entities tend to use violence to influence the masses. Nonetheless, each terrorist’s exact motive varies.

Perhaps most significantly, these motives are perceived differently based on who is discussing them — that is, “do they promote or undermine our cause?”

As far as news coverage goes, though, it is easier to pinpoint the violence than it is to explore why and how it is used.

According to the Global Terrorism Index, the first ever comprehensive global terrorism report, “the number of fatalities (due to terrorism) has declined by 25 percent since 2007.” With that said, rationales for such violence are much more elusive and therefore less accessible for analysis.

What can instead be found in mainstream media are headlines about individual terrorists and crimes, excluding coverage of deeply rooted conflicts.

A few headlines to look at for example: “3 suspected Islamist terrorists arrested in France” from CNN.com; “4 California Men Accused in Terrorism Plot” from nytimes.com; while there are analyses like “How serious is Sahara terror?” on BBC.com, which serves more to list terrorist groups than to explain why they exist.

It is obvious then that terrorism is not just an abstract ideology, but it is the vehicle by which the military sects of non-governmental parties achieve their goals.

Whether those goals benefit or harm the government in question depends on who is asking.

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