!! The location of this lecture is not the Blauwe Zaal as announced previously and in our program folder, but COLLEGEZAAL 7 AUDITORIUM !!
The 9/11 attacks were a defining moment of the early 21st century. In response to the attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. in 2001, the United States launched a ‘global war on terror’ in which, as former president George W. Bush declared: “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” The ensuing invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) proved military quagmires that tarnished America’s international reputation, especially in the Muslim world. Meanwhile, terrorist attacks in Madrid (2004) and London (2005) drew attention to the threat of ‘homegrown’ terrorism. This phenomenon also manifested itself in the Netherlands with the murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by a young Muslim extremist in November 2004.
Although the recent attacks on the Boston Marathon (2013) show that Islamist terrorism is still very much a threat, terrorism is by no means exclusive to religious extremists. In 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Breivik killed 77 people in Norway, prompting worries that a new form of ‘lone wolf’ terrorism may be on the rise. Others have looked at the vulnerabilities posed by the world’s increasing reliance on networked computer systems and predicted a future shift to ‘cyber terrorism’.
This presentation captures the constantly evolving nature of terrorism. Bart Schuurman, researcher and PhD student at Leiden University’s Centre for Terrorism and Counterterrorism (CTC) in The Hague, places the events of 9/11 in context by discussing the four ‘waves’ of modern terrorism and glimpsing ahead at possible future developments. This discussion is preceded by a critical evaluation of the definition of terrorism, a highly politicized term that still does not have a generally accepted definition despite decades of research. All in all, the presentation aims to provide a basic understanding of what terrorism is and its major developments in our time.
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