State Sponsored Terrorismby Rit Nosotro
Change Over Time essay
Compare terrorism as national policy from the time of the Assyrians to present day state sponsored terrorism (e.g., Sudan). What are the common causes and results? Is there a common religious thread that connects these abuses throughout history?
From the time of the Assyrians to the present day, terrorism has played a role in the military warfare of various organizations, countries, and empires throughout the ages and around the world. From the Assyrians to Al Qaeda, the organized targeting of civilians has a long and bloody history. This is radically different than the terror inflicted upon prisoners in islolated instances that are in clear violation of State Department policy. State endorsed terorism has always been promoted by religious based ideology, even in such cases as Hitler and Stalin. The Aztecs terrorized their region in the quest for captives for their sun god. Answering the call of their political leadership (see Arafat), Palestinian mothers send their children out with a suicide belt and the blessing of Allah for a guarentee into paradise. Irrespective of time, empire, and region, religion has motivated terrorism throughout history.
At first glance, the infamous Assyrians appear to be an exception to relgious motivated terrorism. Why did they skin captives alive, entomb civilians into city walls, and impale captives on a spike through the anus into the bowells? Were the implimentation of these excrutiatingly slow deaths due to capriousious saddistic urges or were they religiously motivated?
Shalmaneser I (1263 - 1234) bragged to have blinded 14,400 enemies in one eye. Assyrian wealth was envied and their cruelty was feared as they deported captives to weaken possible rebellions. Reliefs in the British muesum show the ruthless Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, offering sacrifices to his gods. It is common to see exsiting insriptions where the Assyrian rulers praise their gods for the brutal conquests to which they have been divinely commisioned. This polytheism was inhereted from the Babylonians, and the Summerians and Akkadians before them, that allowed rulers to associate themselves as part of a capriciuos pantheon and share in the pseudo-authority of the gods which evoled to suit the political aims of the administration. The king was said to be the earthly embodiment of the god Ashur. It was from out of this early religious environment that Abram answered the call of YAHWEH to separate for the Promised Land.
Assyria rose to its golden age at the end of the sixth century, B.C.. Assyria’s kings kept a professional standing army. This arrangement gave Assyria a remarkable military advantage over all other countries. The Assyrians developed the world's first steel (Jeremiah 15:12), the battering ram, chariots, and a calvary. Assyria’s armies terrorize towns throughout neighboring lands, and even defeated the Egyptians in 670 B.C. Assyria stretched out over the entire Fertile Crescent, forcing tribute payment from Babylon, Israel, Egypt, and Phoenicia.
Building upon the sacrificial rituals of other MesoAmerican tribes, the Aztecs are another "civilization" that was built on state terrorism. According to Carroll Payne, the Aztecs were “militant regimes that based their imperial power on the complete surrender of terrified subjects.” Their religion also “exalted the act of volunteering as a human sacrifice.” The Aztecs were feared because they were known to sacrifice thousands of victims each year in “ritual religious ceremonies that often included cannibalism.” The religion evolved to meet their political ends as priests performed grotesque rituals as an act of service to their many gods, to appease their wrath, in order to allow their empire to prosper. In the end, the Aztecs were conquered and obliterated by Spanish explorer, Cortez.
Possibly, the two most well-known terrorists, Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, were world renown for their cruelty and eccentric ideas. These two went about their task with relgious fervency and ideology. Using the justification of social Dawinism, Hiltler formed the Nazi party and with the 1933 election, Germany gave him power to implement his religious ideas. By adding to Darwinism a gross twisting of the Christian scriptures, Hitler considered the Jews to be an inferior race, and sought to completely obliterate them by horrific means. In the end, Hitler’s ideas, which were mainly based on Nationalist society ideas, cost the world nearly 60 million lives. In the concentrated death camps of the Holocaust, he odered the such despicable experimentation and torture upon humans that it would be unseemly to even speak of such cruelty.
Stalin too wanted to create a new new society with a new human personality. His faith in the ideas of Marx and Darwin brought him to reject his religious upbringing and destroy the traditional religions of Russia. Stalin, caused at least 30 million deaths in the formation of his USSR. He reigned through terrorism upon his own people as his KGB tortured political and religious disidents and sent millions to to die in the icey work camps of the Gulag. Stalin’s second wife, so horrified at the damage her husband had caused in so many people’s lives, killed herself in sorrow.
State supported terrorism with its religious foundation has once again risen from Islamic based regions. From the seventh century when Islamic terror swept out of Mecca, across Northern African and also towards India, Muslims have posed a world wide threat. Millions were killed as Iran evoked Allah's blessing on the youth who attacked Iraq. Saddam Hussien, while to the west put on a secular face, was intensely religious as he justified his genocide against the Kurds.
The state of the Sudan, which is located in Africa is infamously known as an Islamic state which sponsors terrorism. Sudan “continues to be a used as a meeting place; a safe haven and training ground for international terrorists.” The hostile state of the Sudan had long been suspecting of not only supporting various terrorists, but storing their destructive weapons, and providing a place to train for upcoming terrorism attempts. The government allowed Muslims to terrorize Christians despite the outcry from the international community.
The Islamic organization called Al Qaeda, headed up by Osama bin Laden. This radical group of suicidal terrorists, had their beginnings in Saudi Arabian Whahabbism and found refuge under the former Taliban of Afghanistan. They “perceive themselves making the ultimate sacrifice in the end; they believe they will enjoy special rewards in the hereafter, and, because of the architecture all human brains share, they have a sense of fulfillment for their peak experience created will happen at death.” These terrorists, “having a sense of being on a mission from God in dying, they simply cannot imagine that they will not attain a peace which passes all understanding.” Having this religion based mindset, they destroyed the World Trade towers in New York, and partially damaged the Pentagon in Washington D.C. With the delusions that suicidal destruction will lead to happiness, the Taliban have created a very strong and dangerous society. Osama claims that millions of Muslims are ready to volunteer and millions more will lend financial backing.
This essay has pointed out the common religious base of terrorist leaders that has always been present throughout the history of the world. Of conspicuous absense in this essay are mention of the conquest of Canaan by Joshua, which put to the sword all inhabitants of several cities as commanded by God. Also missing is a discussion of the Crusaders attempts to take back Palestine from the Muslims as commanded by the Pope. These topics will be dealt with in another essay which discribes violence within the Judeo-Christian tradition. Suffice it to say, God will bring Peace to the world through Jesus Christ even when it requires the flood of Noah or the conquest of Canaan. There have been perversions of the gospel to serve political ends yet God speaks through Solomon in Proverbs chapter three, "Let not mercy and truth forsake you", flee evil and pursue wisdom, "Do not be afraid of sudden terror, Nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes; For the LORD will be your confidence".
1. What country did Assyria NOT take over?
2. Who was responsible for developing socialist ideas in the former USSR?
a. Adolf Hitler
b. Vladimir Putin
c. Joseph Stalin
d. Al Gore
3. Who is the suicidal terrorism organizations in the Middle East?
a. The United Arab Emirates
b. The Taliban
c. Al Quesada
d. The Sudan
(hint- this is a trick question- there may be MORE THAN ONE correct answer!)
1. Payne, Carroll “Understanding Terrorism: Introduction to Terrorism”, September 2003 www.globalterrorisml101.com
2. Hilyer, V.M. and Huey, E.G. The Ancient World. :(Young People’s Story of Our Heritage)New York: Meredith Press, 1966
3. www.thefreedictionary.com by Farlex , Encyclopedia: Assyrian Empire
4. Paton, Johan (Editor) The Kingfisher Children’s Encyclopedia. New York: Kingfisher Books, 1992
5. From <http://xenohistorian.faithweb.com/worldhis/Hist05.html> An inscription by Ashurnasirpal of Assyria:
"I built a pillar against his city gate and I flayed all the chiefs who had revolted, and I covered the pillar with their skin. Some I walled up within the pillar, some I impaled upon the stakes, and others I bound to stakes round about the pillar . . . And I cut off the limbs of the officers, the royal officers who had rebelled . . . "
"Many captives from among them I burned with fire, and many I took as living captives. From some I cut off their noses, their ears and their fingers, of many I put out their eyes. I made one pillar of the living and another of heads, and I bound their heads to tree trunks round about the city. Their young men and maidens I burned in the fire."
"Twenty men I captured alive and I immured them in the wall of his palace . . . "
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