Terrorism as the world’s greatest ethical challenge

Name: Ekaterina Polynina

School: State Institute of Economics, Finance, Law and Technology, Gatchina, Russia

Status: Student

Level: Undergraduate


Terrorism as the world’s greatest ethical challenge

Nowadays there are many different ethical challenges facing the world. I believe that terrorism is the world’s greatest challenge.
Today we hear a lot about multiple terrorist organisations. The most popular is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Over the past year there hasn't been even one month without news about terrorist attacks committed by this group.
I am from Russia. Unfortunately, our country also suffered from actions of ISIL especially this year. On the 3rd of April, a terrorist attack using an explosive device took place on the Saint Petersburg Metro between Sennaya Ploshchad and Tekhnologichesky Institut stations. Seven people, including the perpetrator, were initially reported to have died, and eight more died later from their injuries, bringing the total to fifteen. At least forty-five others were injured in the incident. The explosive device was contained in a briefcase. The second explosive device was found and defused at Ploshchad Vosstaniya metro station.
On the 19th of August a man wielding a knife started stabbing passers-by in the center of Surgut - a city in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. He injured seven people, two of them seriously. Then, in the Dagestan city of Kaspiysk in the early morning of 28 August, the militants suddenly attacked the police patrol. An attack of terrorists occurred at the local gas station, when the law enforcers were filling their car with gasoline. One policeman in the attack was killed, another was wounded and taken to hospital. On the 27th of December an explosive triggered in a supermarket, the capacity of which was 200 grams of TNT. According to updated information, eighteen people were injured in the incident, half of these people are in hospitals. Responsibility for all these acts of terrorism claimed Islamic State.
Also, our country took part in Military intervention against ISIL in Syria. Shortly after the operation began, Russian officials were cited as saying that, apart from fighting terrorist organisations such as ISIL, Russia’s goals included helping the Syrian government retake territory from various anti-government groups that are labelled by the U.S. and its coalition as «moderate opposition», a broader geopolitical objective being to roll back U.S. influence. In his televised interview broadcast on the 11th of October 2015, Russian president Vladimir Putin said the military operation had been thoroughly prepared in advance. He defined Russia’s goal in Syria as «stabilising the legitimate power in Syria and creating the conditions for political compromise».
When it comes to terrorist attacks in the world this year, there were some of the most famous attacks in the United Kingdom, Egypt and Spain. On the 22nd of May a shrapnel-laden homemade bomb was detonated as people were leaving Manchester Arena in Manchester following a concert by the American singer Ariana Grande. Twenty-three people were killed, including the attacker, and over 500 were injured. Earlier, on the 22nd of March a terrorist attack took place in the vicinity of the Palace of Westminster in London, seat of the British Parliament. The attacker drove a car into pedestrians on the pavement along the south side of Westminster Bridge and Bridge Street, injuring more than 50 people, four of them fatally. After the car was crashed into the perimeter fence of the Palace grounds, the driver abandoned it and ran into New Palace Yard where he fatally stabbed an unarmed police officer. On the 3rd of June there was a similar case. A van left the road and struck a number of pedestrians on London Bridge. After the van crashed, its three occupants ran to the nearby Borough Market area and began stabbing people in and around restaurants and pubs. Eight people were killed and forty-eight were injured, including four unarmed police officers who attempted to stop the assailants. On Palm Sunday, 9 April 2017, twin suicide bombings took place at St. George’s Church in the northern Egyptian city of Tanta on the Nile delta, and Saint Mark's Coptic Orthodox Cathedral, the principal church in Alexandria, seat of the Coptic papacy. At least forty-five people were reported killed and 126 injured. On the 17th of August, 22-year-old Younes Abouyaaqoub drove a van into pedestrians on La Rambla in Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring at least 130 others, one of whom died 10 days later on the 27th of August. Abouyaaqoub fled the attack on foot, then killed another person in order to steal the victim's car to make his escape. Nine hours after the Barcelona attack, five men thought to be members of the same terrorist cell drove into pedestrians in nearby Cambrils, killing one woman and injuring six others.
It goes without saying, there are various ethical issues involved in all these cases. Among the main problems of ethics of terrorism – the problem of justification of terrorism and the problem of criteria of permissibility of acts of terrorism, as a means of political struggle. One more important problem is problem of the random victims of terrorist attacks. Terrorism began with the desire to avoid and minimize accidental casualties. However, the logic of a terrorist struggle has moved fighters to heavy casualties. Thus, the ideologues of terrorism began to develop the thesis about the admissibility and justification of any, including random victims. The last are declared «bourgeois» («infidels», «foreigners») or «servants». The prevailing idea is that everyone who suffers, this government is responsible for it. They are serviceable taxpayers, with their consent and their money there is this power, they are her servants, etc. In addition, there are other factors that lead to terrorist activities. Including problems in the moral sphere, entailing the degradation of spiritual life of society, the destruction of historical, cultural, moral traditions, humanistic values, adoption of the cult of individualism, selfishness, rigidity and violence, disbelief in the ability of the state to protect its citizens, the formation of a sentiment of national humiliation and the devaluation of such notions as duty, dignity, conscience, honor, devotion to the Fatherland. In these conditions, as practice shows, there is a «glorification» of criminal authorities, bandits and terrorists. Presumably, this contributes to active, nobody controlled the work of the media that are cultivated violence and cruelty in the minds of all strata of people.
In my opinion, it is necessary to increase the responsibility of all government agencies as the government ensures the safety of every citizen. Of course, the most important is responsibility of law enforcement agencies. In general, the fight against terrorism requires a comprehensive approach that should include measures of economic, political, social and legal nature. Decisive and effective measures to combat terrorism must be systematic, and not from case to case, until the next terrorist attack.

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