Modern Violence
Asa Smith
Spring 2012

Violence is a singular word that has a great meaning. In history, Violence plays a part in every aspect of the human race. The magnitude of such a topic can simply not be comprehended in its fullest extent. Violence plays an equal component in social, religious, political and economic trends of the globe in human history. Violence has proven to promote ideas, and spread fear throughout all who are at risk of being targeted. In the past twenty years the main cause of violence has come in the form of small coordinated attacks on places where one would expect it the least. There has been a major shift of forms of violence in this time period. The author of The Earth And Its Peoples, By Richard Bulliet suggests that the real form of this new violence he refers to, as Terrorism is the result of the growth of worldwide mass media that amplifies public fears. On the other hand, the College Board refers to this violence as movements resulting from the previous Cold War and the opposition to the existing economic, political and social orders of the modern world. These two points of views show two prospective thoughts on violence. In the minds of each author, their descriptions can show a possible development of a new form of violence that can describe the near futures violence as a continuation of what has happened in this current world. The problem with researching such a modern idea is the fact that there has not been much time for reflection of the events that have occurred to describe the happenings in the past twenty years. Although Bulliet believes that the constant trends of mass mobilization and the continuing trends of human interactions is the cause and result of violence, the College boards view of violence in this period as the opposition towards political, social and economic factors that have led groups to action using effective tactics is a more accurate explanation.
Lets now take a look at Bulliet's view of violence. Bulliet believes that the world has taken a path that can be described in the formation of Human communities, to interaction, revolution, globalization and the risk of a global world. Within these groupings, violence has seen many changes but the political, economic and social use of violence has continued to be the main use of it. Bulliet pushes forward the idea of the Earth and its relative size to its peoples throughout time. Basically, as time goes on, the increase of technology has broadened the human’s realm of interaction to constantly make the world smaller. This has been a direct cause for revolutions, world wars and even cultural shifts. In terms of violence, this equation also holds true. Bulliet sees the development of mass media, weapons of mass destruction and fear as the next chapter of world history. Since media so easily covers the world, people now have a full view of all happenings at any given moment. This allows for the spread of many ideas and events rapidly. In terms of violence, the world can be looked at through a television and people can have a full view of the terror of war and can look into the face of death. After the events of 9/11 the reality of terrorism struck the modern developed world. The expansion of trade, with global interconnections and privatizations of government that had thrived since the fall of the soviets fell from 13% to 1%.[1] Obviously this caused a great drop in direct relation to such an act of violence. This was a dramatic shift in the worlds contact but the reason for such an event was far beyond the use of the media to instill violence for a cause. Furthermore, the groups of Terrorists who have been prominent over this period have strong backgrounds in the opposition to greater powers who have left them no choice but to fight back. The development of technology and media has only allowed them to broaden their terror farther then before.
The College Board takes a more direct historical position when looking at the presence of violence within these twenty years. To them, the idea of looking at violence can be seen as a direct result of the previous conflicts seen earlier in the twentieth century. As stated in Key Concepts, “Militaries and militarized states often responded to the proliferation of conflicts in ways that further intensified conflict” with “movements that used violence against civilians to achieve political aims (such as the IRA, ETA, and Al-Qaeda)”[2]. Although College Board does not use the term the groups listed can be described as terrorists. The IRA, or the Irish Republic Army fought for the creation of a republic, and the freedom of Northern Ireland from British rule, which has gone on for centuries. They have a tactic of using bombs strategically placed to wreak havoc in populated places to assert their influence and spread fear of those who oppose them.[3] The ETA is a group of Basques who share a goal of gaining independence for the Basque territory in between Spain and France that has been withheld for centuries. They use tactics of bombing, graffiti, and theft to assert their position and gain recognition for their cause.[4] Al Qaeda is a global militant organization that has its origin during the uprising against the soviet occupation of Afghanistan. They have used their Mujahedeen, or warriors to protect their Muslim heritage. These militants have a deep hatred to all American influence and have used their short resources to train and fight in their Jihad to protect the pure Islam. It is this group that has the most recognition to the present day for their role in the 9/11 attacks.[5] What these groups share is their deep background against the greater powers that have challenged their existence. Using modern technology and whatever resources available, these groups are able to strike with improvised bombs and use the media to their advantage to spread their word. The role of technology and mass media is not the cause for, but a great tool used by these movements to spread and make sure that their word is out to all. Many other events of violence have used the same circumstances to achieve success, such as the 2008 bombings of multiple public places Mumbai by the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence who have a similar backing to Al Qaeda, and even the 2012 bombing of Israeli diplomats in India allegedly preformed by the Iranian backed Hezbollah who have a Jihad against the Jews and Crusaders against Islam. The motives for each bombing are the result of many separate ideologies that spreads fear through the unpredictability and danger of such attacks. It cannot be assumed to be of the result of any sort of media’s development from previous centuries to the next.
The opposing ideas coming from the College Board and Bulliet show a difference in approach to seeing a modern movement taking shape. It is not that either side is right or wrong but a question of whether or not the development of these actions can fully be explained through their own definitions. The fact remains that the violence and conflict in the past twenty years has in fact taken a major shift. Gone are the days of total conquer, and enter the days of intimidation and fear of attacks at any moment at any place. The cold war of the mid twentieth century brought about a great fear of the nuclear bomb, where the introduction of the Internet brought about a new revolution of the sharing of ideas. The sense of violence from the past two decades has seen a shift using these ideals. Instead of obtaining a nuclear bomb, a group can instead hijack a plane and create similar destruction, and they can use the Internet and the television to spread their influence and terror. The fact that the College Board does not use the term terrorism to describe such movements is a testament towards their opposition to the Eurocentric and American point of view proves the difference between points of view. Bulliet uses a more known and biased point of view to voice his reason, which for the reader is easier to understand and relate to. The distinction between the two examinations can be just as subtle with the same aim of education. The fact of the matter is that both can present their point of views to an important topic in their own ways.
The violence is something that will always continue to be a prominent belief to gain power in this world. With decade after decade, only time can tell what the future will bring, but as seen time and time again history is a constant story of the human race that is created every day and branches off of what has come before. The attempt to classify it all correctly is simply impossible, but it is in fact left to the reader to decipher what is important to understand and follow what makes sense to them. In the end, history is in fact something that is always up for debate and it is the future that holds the answers.






Bibliography:
[1]Bulliet, Richard. The Earth And Its Peoples. Boston, Ma: Wadsworth, 2011.
2Caperton, Gaston. College Board, "AP World History Key Concepts." Last modified November 2, 2009. Accessed May 3, 2012. https://www.taboracademy.org/ftpimages/445/download/Key_Concepts.pdf.
3Pike, John. Intelligence Resource Program, "Irish Republican Army (IRA)." Last modified July 21, 2005. Accessed May 4, 2012. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ira.htm.
4Bhattacharji, Preeti. Council on Foreign Relations, "Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) (Spain, separatists, Euskadi ta Askatasuna)." Last modified March 11, 2011. Accessed May 4, 2012. http://www.cfr.org/france/basque-fatherland-liberty-eta-spain-separatists-euskadi-ta-askatasuna/p9271.
5Hayes, Laura. InfoPlease, "Al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden's Network of Terror." Last modified January 18, 2007. Accessed May 4, 2012. http://www.infoplease.com/spot.


[1]Bulliet, Richard. The Earth And Its Peoples. Boston, Ma: Wadsworth, 2011.
[2]Caperton, Gaston. College Board, "AP World History Key Concepts." Last modified November 2, 2009. Accessed May 3, 2012. https://www.taboracademy.org/ftpimages/445/download/Key_Concepts.pdf.
[3]Pike, John. Intelligence Resource Program, "Irish Republican Army (IRA)." Last modified July 21, 2005. Accessed May 4, 2012. http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/ira.htm.
[4]Bhattacharji, Preeti. Council on Foreign Relations, "Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) (Spain, separatists, Euskadi ta Askatasuna)." Last modified March 11, 2011. Accessed May 4, 2012. http://www.cfr.org/france/basque-fatherland-liberty-eta-spain-separatists-euskadi-ta-askatasuna/p9271.
[5]Hayes, Laura. InfoPlease, "Al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden's Network of Terror." Last modified January 18, 2007. Accessed May 4, 2012. http://www.infoplease.com/spot/al-qaeda-terrorism.html.