The world is facing an increase in terrorism. More cases are being reported of attempted attacks or attacks. Some of the major impacts include loss of lives and destruction of the economy. Some factors are causing an increase in terrorism. These include the use of social media, deprivation, and inequality, and the availability of finances among others. Better measures are required to prevent terrorism and save society from its impact.
Why is terrorism increasing?
- Use of social media
Social media is easy to use and affordable. It is easy to spread messages through social media. Again, it is also easy to reach more people through social media. It is possible to reach a message to billions of people across the world. This is considering that 75% of the world population uses social media. This makes it easy for terrorists to spread their propaganda. Terrorist groups such as Jihadists are known to use Facebook and Twitter to communicate to the world. For example, they release videos through these platforms.
To attract more people, terrorists have established a permanent presence in social media. They create groups affiliated with their websites. This means that the gap between sympathizers and terrorism leaders is reduced. They start by befriending their sympathizers. Then, they start with their anti-government sentiments. The information starts flowing from leaders’ websites to sympathizers. As the flow of information continues, the sympathizers are radicalized. Eventually, one is vetted and accepted into the terrorist group.
By using social media platforms, terrorist groups have continued to grow. This is enabled by the free flow of information allowed by social media platforms. Social media networks and states must counter this strategy to reduce the increase in terrorism.
Experiences of deprivation and inequality
People compare their economic status with those of other groups in society. For example, the minority may evaluate their economic status by looking at the economic status of the majority. When their economic status is very low, they start developing frustrations. The frustrations can lead to collective actions. For example, deprived people can engage in peaceful protests. But they can also engage in violent protests. Terrorists take advantage of the frustration to radicalize people. They influence them to use violence to counter inequality. Alternatively, the frustrated group evolves into a group of terrorists.
Inequality also has an indirect link to terrorism. Inequality may worsen some social conditions that can increase terrorism. For example, inequality may lead to poor socio-economic decisions. This means poor investment in health and education. As a result, the poor may not afford these services. With the poor socio-economic status, people may result in extreme violence. Some people have joined terrorist groups because of poor socio-economic conditions.
- Availability of tools and finances
Another thing increasing terrorism is the availability of tools and finances. Terrorist groups cannot survive without resources. They need skilled people to develop effective strategies. Either, they need huge finances to execute their plans. They need access to certain materials that are difficult to get. For example, they need materials to make explosives. In short, they need a lot of resources to survive. Such resources have become increasingly available within wealthy economies.
- White supremacy and rightwing extremism
In the US, white supremacists and right-wing extremists have caused an increase in terrorism. Reports show that more than half of the attacks in 2020 were by these two groups. Most of the attacks targeted protesters. This poses a greater threat to US citizens and the world in general.
How does terrorism impact the world?
- Loss of lives
One key impact of terrorism is the loss of lives. In 2020 alone, hundreds of people have died from terrorist attacks worldwide. For example, people have lost their lives in Niger, Yemen, Nigeria, Chad, Germany, the US, and Austria among other states.
- Destruction of the economy
Most terrorism attacks destroy properties worth millions of dollars. For example, they destroy machines, factories, and business centers. These resources generate a lot of income. When they are destroyed, the economy is negatively impacted. This includes the death of productive workers. Terrorism also affects the economy by creating uncertainty in markets. The economy is also affected because f the effects on tourism. The tourism industry is one of the most vulnerable industries. This is because many people will not visit places after terrorist attacks. The problem is that tourism plays a key role in boosting economies.
Strategies to counter-terrorism
- Stop radicalization
The first step to prevent terrorism is by stopping radicalization. Tools such as social media should control the flow of information. For example, the platforms should be obliged to delete terrorism content immediately after receiving an order. This would reduce contact between terrorists and their sympathizers. Governments should also promote equality to reduce frustrations. If people are frustrated, they may engage in extreme violence. Radicalized individuals should be segregated from the community. Governments should educate people about the effects of radicalization. Also, states should put measures to fight extremism and radicalization.
- Reducing the availability of resources for terrorist groups
Terrorist groups depend on resources such as finances to operate. States should put measures to stop the funding of terrorism. This may include freezing and confiscating criminal assets.
- Working with other nations to fight terrorism
Sharing information on terrorists’ activities can help in countering it. This may require working with other states. The partnership can also help identify better strategies.