Terrorism: Where its True Power Lies


BY:James McLellan, Interfaith Engagement Intern

Chaos in the world has yet again produced another tragedy: this time in Germany. In the past two weeks, the southern state of Bavaria has encountered two major incidents “of terror” – one of which happened in a Munich shopping center. The shooting occurred just days after a teenager on board a regional Bavarian train near the town of Würzburg attacked passengers with a knife and an axe – leaving seven injured, two of which are in critical condition. Because of subsequent investigation on the perpetrator – who wound up being killed in a confrontation with the local police – possible links to ISIS were found. Though several ISIS twitter accounts proudly shared the incident, it is still not entirely clear if the young refugee was an actual ground soldier of the terrorist organization.

Similar to the mass shooting in Orlando and the truck attack in Nice, investigations into this Bavarian tragedy seem to indicate that this brutally violent act may not have just been grounded in politics. As far as the shooting in the shopping center is concerned, so few details about the shooter have been confirmed that I won’t even dare speculate who the shooter was or why this(ese) person(s) committed this act. ISIS has already jumped on the incident in their social media accounts. The four above mentioned events carried out by different instruments of death (the Orlando / Munich guns, the Nice Truck, and the Würzburger Axe) all incited the same knee-jerk reaction from ISIS: we did it. Terrorism functions quite simply: through terror – wherever it may arise, regardless of legitimacy. It is so easy to think that dangerous groups labeled terrorist organizations attain their power from these complex, global, secret networks of coordinated agents who are tasked with carrying out specific acts of violence. While that may be true to some extent, the real power that terrorism wields comes from fear itself.

Regardless of the true intentions or identities of these attackers, ISIS’ staunch determination to take responsibility for these events is where their true power lies. As long as there are attacks that may have remote relations to their political project, it heavily is in ISIS’ interest to take responsibility for these acts, even when it’s not really appropriate to blame them. I only hope that this very recent attack in Munich does not further the growing prejudice that this corporation of evil appears so eager to promote in the great nation of Germany and which local conservative politicians will probably use with eagerness as a way of manufacturing more divisiveness in a time where there is a great need for empathy; you’ve been duped by evil political organizations before, don’t fall for it again.


http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2015/03/what-isis-really-wants/384980/ (What ISIS really wants)

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/02/what-isis-really-wants-reader-response-atlantic/385710/#about-the-authors (RE: What ISIS really wants)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2016/jul/22/munich-shooting-police-evacuate-shopping-centre-live?page=with:block-57924e6ae4b0d75e7e5f2ae2#block-57924e6ae4b0d75e7e5f2ae2 (German Shooting)

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/06/assault-rifle-used-by-orlando-mass-shooter (Orlando Shooter)

http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/21/europe/nice-france-attacker-plot-accomplices/ (Nice France)

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