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Akhtar, S. (2017). The tripod of terrorism. Int. Forum Psychoanal., 26(3):139-159.

(2017). International Forum of Psychoanalysis, 26(3):139-159

The tripod of terrorism

Salman Akhtar

Violent attacks against innocent civilians occurring on an everyday and global basis have intensified the discourse on terrorism. However, like pornography, terrorism seems readily recognizable but hard to define. The designation is applied to the destructive acts of religious zealots, mentally unstable individuals, terror-inducing despots, separatist militia, and, at times, even legitimate freedom fighters. Ordinary language fails to define terrorism’s nosological circumference and is itself defiled in the process. While acknowledging this denotational conundrum, this paper will propose that the origins of the current mayhem by the radicalized few reside in three geopolitical realms. These include the long shadow of colonialism, the hypocrisy and violence of certain Western foreign policies, and some fundamental problems in the societies that form the crucible of such rage. As a result, ameliorative strategies need to be directed at (and require the collaboration of) all three parties at the root of this tragic and bloody scenario.

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