In this world, we should never expect to find a singular terrorist mentality for many reasons. Although terrorist groups seek to attack civilians with the excuse of “fighting and defending” their ideas, interests, and political goals, the reality is that each terrorist entity has different purposes.
For example, the Irish IRA not only killed Irish and Northern Irish civilians “in defense of Irish unification.” No. The IRA killed civilians and children because they were Protestant Christians and because these victims believed in the current political relationship with the United Kingdom. They killed civilians because they saw them as “foreigners” and “enemies” of Ireland. Above all, they were killed because IRA terrorists are nationalists and defend – and still represent despite the Belfast Agreement – an ideological supremacy armor that they have sadly been fostering through political activism (in this case the Sinn Fein; however, Basque terrorist group ETA used the same strategy with Euskal Herritarrok and now with EH Bildu in Navarra and the Spanish and French Basque Countries).
As aforementioned, like the IRA, ETA has followed the same strategy and today they not only control the capital of Pamplona (what the ETA members call the capital of ‘Euskadi Herria’; the fictitious union of the supposed historical Basque territories such as the French Basque Country, the Spanish Basque Country, and Navarra) but are also key to the governability of Spain.
For its part, jihadist terrorism -such as Hamas’- seeks to do the same as everything previously analyzed here, but at the same time it seeks to control the historical narrative through the stories of Islam’s main protagonist Muhammad (such as when he beheaded 900 Jewish members of the Banu Qurayza tribe since they decided to reject converting to Islam; all this even though the ‘greatest prophet’ of Islam lived with them during his exile in Medina and they gave him protection, shelter and even taught him to practice some Jewish rituals such as circumcision and keeping a pork-free diet), they long to impose sharia, aspire to eradicate existing religious minorities and wish to create a global Shia/Sunni Islamic caliphate.
Given this phenomenon many academic institutions -especially in Australia, France, the United Know, and the United States of America- see it as something “acceptable” since it is a way of fighting against “oppression” and the growing number of followers of Islamist-jihadist terrorism (18% of the Muslim world population; approximately 300 million people) supports it. Nevertheless, it should be noted that unlike the IRA or ETA, the success of the terrorism of Al-Qaeda, Al Shabab, Boko Haram, and ISIS lies in their evil financial market expansion through cryptocurrencies, their terrorist techniques, their continued appeal to young people through misinformation and brainwashing, and the effective social media strategies that these entities have to promote hate and shock the world with their repulsive actions.
Therefore, when Jerrold Post talks about the idea that there are different types of terrorist mindsets, he is doubtlessly right regarding this general issue. However, each mindset, despite using the same technique (which is nothing more than causing fear, chaos, and terror among the civilian population), appeals to different purposes and convictions, and therefore the way of dealing with each one varies. Although these mindsets are different we cannot forget that terrorism always means the same: it pursues the idea of sowing hatred, terror, and pain. That said, in no case, terrorism should be legitimized since its rhetorical arguments stop being legitimate the moment a civilian’s blood spills the pavement because of these criminals who only pursue hatred to impose their ideas.
On the other hand, it should be noted that the justification of terrorism is always disturbing, despite custom, as we have recently seen. With the corpses still warm, the justifiers hold back a little and resort to the adversative: “I condemn this, but I also condemn the other.” The other is usually one of the sides who is automatically placed on the enemy side and who is, therefore, a legitimate deserving of a massacre. With the attack directed against Israeli civilians on October 7th, 2023, for example, the first phase of containment passed quickly. The situation quickly became this: the national and international political parties avoided condemning Hamas’ indiscriminate attacks, while fervently condemning the indiscriminate attack by Israel that had not occurred yet.
Complicity is the next stage and is nothing new either. The understanding ones -let alone the accomplices-make contortions to avoid calling terrorism, but deliberately killing civilians is terrorism no matter what they call it. It is, in any case, deliberately going to kill civilians. Of course, the more brutal the attack, the more the burden of blame must be reversed. The list of justifications that has already been written is then taken out, because it is invariably the same, and the terrorist act is blamed on the person who suffers it. It is the old cliché of causes. It is ruled that the person who has given the causes for the attack of inhuman cruelty is the one attacked. And if it seems that the cycle ends there, no.
When it comes to Israel, there is one more twist, because those who were exterminated by the Nazis must be called Nazis. Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan (father of the “modern” International Muslim Brotherhood) and Gustavo Petro, the terrorist “President of Colombia” (ironically, this individual was a member of the Colombian terrorist group M-19 (known for the burning of the Supreme Court of Justice of Colombia at the request of Pablo Escobar in his fight to avoid being extradited to the United States) and even directly participated in the kidnapping of a person) have mentioned this. But they are not and will not be the only ones arguing this.
This madness is not from a psychiatrist; or yes, but it is political. It is embedded in ideologies, political acts, and years of testing and learning. But, at the same time, it has other more extensive and less obvious roots. One of them, to always explore, is fear. Fear leads us to justify terrorism and to bow down to it. Fear leads to blaming the attack and exonerating the attacker. Fear leads to leaving the terrorist alone and gives it what it wants. But on the opposite side, there are also people. Israel, like the United States, are consolidated democracies willing to fight terrorism and even suffer casualties fighting for it. And for that reason, they are widely hated.
Fighting the monstrous Islamist terrorism has frightened and continues to frighten many people. They naturally believe that fighting it means provoking it, unleashing reprisals, and giving rise to new attacks. And like those villains in the movies, they believe that they will be saved if they give something to the monster. It would certainly not be a problem for them to hand over Israel; only if nothing is left. Thus, beneath the propaganda garbage, what there is, is the unspeakable desire to stop those who want to combat terrorism.