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September 11
The Roots of Terrorism



The Roots of Terrorism
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   8.87

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    butchery, mindset, quasi-military, anti-government, regimes, Murrah, anarchy, arson, disruption, trend, oppressive, sinister, terrorism, daycare, victimize, submit
     content words:    Middle East, French Revolution, Early Greek, Spanish Inquisition, Queen Isabella, Spanish Jews, Nazi Germany, Iraqi Kurds, American Civil War, Ku Klux Klan


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The Roots of Terrorism
By Toni Lee Robinson
  

1     The events of 9/11 and daily news from the Middle East might make terrorism seem like a modern problem. Unfortunately, it has a long and bloody history. Terror as a weapon began almost with the history of man. The word terrorism was first used in France in the late eighteenth century.
 
2     Leaders of the French Revolution used terror to force people to submit to their authority. In what was called the "Reign of Terror," citizens were locked up, tortured, and guillotined. French scholars of the time defined terrorism as "the system or rule of terror."
 
3     The old French definition may seem simple and obvious. But what exactly is terrorism? Its basic element, of course, is terror, or extreme fear. Violence is its primary tool. Perhaps the most scary, baffling thing about terrorism is its lawlessness. Terrorists simply ignore the accepted rules against murder, injury, and destruction. Our systems of law and order strive to protect us from terrible things. Terrorists deliberately inflict them.
 
4     Terrorism began as a weapon of war. Early Greek writings tell of the use of fear to defeat an enemy. Rulers also used terrorism as a way of controlling or "cleansing" their populations. The Spanish Inquisition was a so-called religious cleansing, directed by Spain's Queen Isabella. Spanish Jews were the main victims of this 300-year stretch of torture and butchery.
 
5     The Inquisition was only one of the many examples of the use of terror by a nation against its own people. Two others were the mass killings of Jews by Nazi Germany and Saddam Hussein's chemical weapons attacks on Iraqi Kurds.

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