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The language of terror

June 4, 2017

The events in London were of course terrible, horrific and tragic. However, they must be put in context. Due to various variables, the attackers were not able to kill a high number of people. They were not armed with explosive devices, and only had blades and a vehicle. I am not for a moment wishing to diminish their actions, but it could have been far worse. Only recently a car bomb killed over 50 people in Afghanistan, acts of terror are perpatrated on an almost weekly basis throughout the world. Thankfuly, due to the swift deployment of emergency services, the threat was nullified. However, because of the cylinder-type objects that were on the attackers person, the armed police had little choice but to fatally shoot them. This tactic, causing the police to perceive a explosive threat, meant that the attackers would ensure maximum fear and their own demise, resulting in any intelligence or infomation to die with them. I think that we need to look at the language we use when describing acts of terror. Terrorist attacks occur for all kinds of idiological, social, cultural and religious reasons. I don’t think it is very helpful for politicians and police to use words such as “hidious” and “evil.” such low vibrational words serve only to sew more division and hatred. The language we use, informs our emotional reactions, and those of others. I think it necessary to be as level-headed and calm as possible, using language that cultivates knowledge, fortidude, clear and plain policy making and logic. I also think that constantly saying that British values, that our democracy is the best model of society, breeds greater contempt. Whilst we may believe this is the case, there seems little gain in constantly asserting it. All we are doing is putting more fire in the belly. This said, I am with May when she talks of cross-border collaboration in the pursuit of pressuring internet companies to monitor the levels of freedom people enjoy. The internet is a safe harbour, a place for rhetoric to breathe and breed. It allows swift and secure communication, and makes co-ordination easier. However, it does allow facilities such as GCHQ to gain intelligence, and thus quell some potential threats. 


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