Conventional warfare has been portrayed as open and visible. Hoards or armies in identifiable uniforms moving toward an objective or using planes and artillery to ‘soften-up’ targets. But warfare is changing. Cyber warfare, biological and chemical warfare, subversion and terrorism are unseen wars. No uniforms, no clear and present danger, no tangible enemy.
Terrorism is a contested topic. Are terrorists fighting for a new freedom or simply terrorising people because they can, because it’s easy, cheap and can bring instant recognition? Recent events in Munich, Brussels and Nice are testimony to the ease at which terrorists can strike. No warning, no visual evidence of an impending attack, no mercy.
The author of this piece has escaped such acts twice. Once in 1993 in London when a bomb detonated in a place that I had travelled past around 10 minutes before (St. Mary Axe). Again in 2005 when I travelled along a bombed section of the Tube in London just 15 minutes before it was attacked. Whilst I was lucky, I recognise the trauma and awfulness of those who were less lucky and were killed or maimed in those incidents. I worked with a lady who was so shocked by the Tube bombings (having been on one of the bombed trains) that her whole life changed. She could no longer travel on the Tube, no longer work in London, no longer trust people carrying rucksacks.
Whilst study can never completely saturate every topic, it can give insights into terrorism, why it is perpetrated and dealing with the threats. Criminology and Security are two major topics of study available from the University of Leicester by Distance Learning to students all across the globe. I am currently studying one of those Masters’ courses. It might not make me safer – but it might help me to understand and to be more aware.
Take care everyone. Be vigilant!