Fri, 26 Jul 1996

The threat of terrorism

Terrorism is considered a major threat to world order, security and peace. Although terror and terrorism are not new phenomena, their potential threat is felt to be much greater than in the past. Acts of terrorism are usually conducted by frustrated individuals or groups. But the threat of terrorism is more intricate than this because throughout history repressive rulers have made use of terror and intimidation.

It is important to remember that repressive governments and terror are a threat to the future of mankind. The crimes committed by terrorists are generally sporadic, but the terror and intimidation inflicted by repressive governments are usually systematic and conducted within an organized power structure.

Considering the tendency of power to corrupt, the efforts being made to establish democratic life and to protect human rights appear all the more important. Without the guarantee of human rights and a democratic society, power will eventually develop into a repressive force that oppresses the people.

It is an interesting development to see that on the basis of a farsighted vision, many nations and governments are at present striving to the improve the quality of democracy in their countries. Only governments which focus on temporary power interests appear reluctant to introduce change.

Countries which fail to both improve their level of democracy and guarantee an equitable spread of the fruits of development will be disparaged by other countries in the international community.

-- Kompas, Jakarta