The Effects of Terrorism in the United Kingdom
Terrorism can be described as any act of violence, a threat to cause violence or any kind of a harmful activity that is based on political or ideological grounds. There are many definitions of terrorism but all bear some basic aspects which regard terrorism as any act that is committed on political or ideological bases and targets non-combatant section of the population which is mainly the civilians. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines terrorism as “the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion. This definition makes it clear that a terrorism activity is committed not in an act of war, but towards the people at random which can include government, military and civilian population. It is clear from this definition why the whole world has been against acts of terror that have been recently unleashed in many parts of the world. This is because at the end it the public civilians who are left to suffer. (Terrorism. 2008).
In our life, terrorism has been used by various groups in agitating for their voice to be heard. It has been used by various political groups to make clear and further their political objectives. It has been used by various parties, religious groups, revolutionary movements, and even by some governments in power to deter their opposition or other ruling governments. The United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 makes clear definitions of an act of terror as the actual happening while at the same time it defines terrorism as the act itself, the perpetrators of that act and the motive behind the act. But the question that disturbs most of us is why does anybody who has to express their dissatisfaction target the civilians? (Green 2006).
According to list circulated by the US Department of State in 2001, there are about forty three identifiable terrorist groups operating in different parts of the world, some more active than the others. The list include terrorist groups originating from countries that include Algeria, Columbia, Israel, Greece, Japan, Spain, Philippines, Egypt, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Iran and Iraq. Some of these group’s activities are concerned more with its home country’s policies or governments and are local in nature.
The group called the Japanese Red Army in Japan and the Basque Fatherland and Liberty (ETA) of Spain are examples of such groups. Some of the most known among them include the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) in Sri Lanka, the HAMAS of Palestine, the Harkat-ul-Mujahidin of Pakistan and the Al-Qaeda founded by Osama Bin Laden, the most notorious of them all in Afghanistan. (Appendix B – Background Information on Terrorist Groups. 2001).
This is now the most feared terrorist organization in the world. The word Al Qaeda meaning ‘the base’ was formed by a Saudi millionaire and engineer named Osama Bin Laden to fight the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. He was expelled from his country because of his stance against the Saudi king for allowing American troops on Saudi soil to fight Iraq, which had invaded the country. He fled to Sudan, then Egypt and finally to Afghanistan and stayed there with the support of the Taliban. It was from here that he planned the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Centre. Soon after the US attacked Afghanistan and defeated the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden fled Afghanistan and his present where abuts is not known.
Terrorism activities in the world have increased in the recent past. These heinous activities have led to loss of many lives and destruction of many properties. There have been specific group that have claimed responsibilities for carrying out terrorism activities in the world. Groups like Al-Queda, Mujahdeen, Muslim Brotherhood, and others have carried out terrorism activities in the world. Although the world is not new to terrorism activities, the September 11 attack on World Trade Centre in the United States acted as a wakening call to the world that all was not well. Previously there had been other acts of terrorism which were not taken serious by the whole world.
Terrorism in the world has taken another dimension and it has turned to be religious and ideological conflicts. Most of the terrorism activities that have taken place in the world have been religiously and politically waged. Political conflict in the Middle East and the subsequent intervention of the western countries in the conflict perhaps serves as the leading catalyst of world wide terrorist activities. The political creation of a state for Jews in Israel and the subsequent rebellion by Islamic states in the region especially Palestinian state had been a thorny issue in Middle East conflict. This has also been a source of religion conflict between Muslims, Christians and Jews, since Israel is Jewish states while the states around are Islamic states. It has ended up as a war between the west and the east. (Admani 2004, p. 123).
Terrorist organizations have many ways in which they recruit people for acts of terror. The most important factor is ignorance. Illiterates and people living isolated lives are misled as to different cruelties that other countries inflict on their home country and people. Such people are not in a position to get correct information about actual facts. They are made to believe that since a military attack is not possible against a powerful country, the only way to hit back is through planned or isolated instances of terrorism. In many cases they are made to believe that indulging in such acts have been willed by their religion or god and that dying during such acts will take them to heaven. Another factor they exploit is poverty of the people. Most people find it hard to make a living and usually go and stay in some religious schools.
There are many such schools that groom potential terrorists by brainwashing them. Whether we dwell on arguing if the acts of terrorism are justified or not, the fact remains that terrorism remains a threat to the whole world. There is no one who feels safer with the trend that terrorist continues to target the interests of their enemies. We all feel that our lives are threatened at we are not sure when terrorist can strike.
Our worries are justified by the fact that even countries with such military might like United States and Britain has suffered victims of terrorism activities. Though countries like India, Sri Lanka and Israel have been victims of terror for a long time, the real impact of terrorism as a global threat was realized only after the bombing of the world trade centre in the US. This view was further strengthened after the terrorist attack in the UK. This paper looks in details at the effects of terrorism activities in the United Kingdom. It will begin by looking closely at terrorism activities that have taken place in the United Kingdom. Then it will look closely at the effects these activities has on political, social, and economical life of the people in the United Kingdom.
Tourism and Terrorism
Terrorism can have a negative effect on the victimized country in many ways. This paper discusses the aftermath of terrorism in general and tourism industry in the UK in particular. The after affects can be felt in many sector of the industry. The first and most obvious one is the reduction the number of tourist arrivals. This in turn causes a fall in the businesses of tour operators, hotels and other related industries, lower ticket sales in places of tourist interest and a fall the business of the transport industry which include air, water and road. This may also lead to unemployment levels rise in all these sectors, which will further worsen the situation.
There is also a view that even though a terrorist attack is perpetuated against the population in general, some attacks are targeted specifically against tourists. The bombing of the nightclub in Bali, which was filled with international tourists from many countries is an example. This kind of action has two aims, the first of which is to gain international publicity. If the causality list includes people from many countries, the news will create shock in all those counties thereby creating international publicity for the terrorists.
The second is to cripple the nation’s economy by destroying or destabilizing the local tourism industry. Another factor why terrorists target tourists is that there are set timings in the tourism industry with regard to tours and visits to places of tourist interest. This makes it easy to plan an attack, since the activity will follow the same routine every day. “For a terrorist, the tour bus that leaves every hour on the hour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. five days a week is an ideal target because the target can be researched until an ideal plan is reached” (Essner 2003).
A general view of tourism in UK
The UK and London in particular have a lot to offer for both domestic and international tourists. A brief description of the main attractions would be appropriate. The city of London and the UK has many attractions to suit the interest of any traveller. For people interested in history there are places like the Tower of London, museums like the British Museum, National Maritime Museum, the pre historic Stonehenge, and the Science Museum. Literature buffs can visit the birth place of William Shakespeare, trekkers can go to the Lake District and those interested in shopping can visit the many famous places like Camden market and Harrods. There are beaches, amusement parks and night clubs for the younger generation. This list will make it clear that UK and London is an extremely popular tourist destination for people from across all parts of the world.
As discussed earlier, the UK and particularly London has had experience in acts of terrorism right from the days of the IRA in 1864 to the recent Al Qaeda bombings in London. So in a sense the population is quite experienced in these matters. It must be for the first time that an act of terrorism in the USA namely the World Trade Centre attacks had an impact on many parts of the globe, especially on Western Europe.
That act made most of these counties realize that nobody is safe from a determined terrorist action. The London bombings by the Al Qaeda were huge in terms of destruction of property, and it was the first time that an international organization had caused so much destruction in the UK. The UK was also experiencing a period of relative calm after the ceasefire by the IRA. All these factors caused much more panic than the terrorist acts by the IRA. “London is a safe city – in the 4 years preceding the July 7 bombings fewer people were killed by terrorism than by falling elephants (3 people were felled by the beasts in 2 years!).
However no capital city in the developed world is entirely safe” (Terrorism. 2008).
Terrorism in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom has a history terrorism spanning for many years. It has stood time to fight terrorist activities of Irish terrorist but the challenge posed by the present Al Qaeda group is more than it has endured for all those year. The United Kingdom and especially London is not new to terrorism activities. Probable, the first act of terrorism on English soil was with terrorist groups from Ireland dating back to 1867 when the Irish separatist group bombed Clerkenwell Prison and killed 12 people injuring hundreds of others. The history of uneasy relationship with Ireland begins as far back in 1846 when a massive potato famine affected millions of people in Ireland.
The people of Ireland believed that enough help and support was not given to them. As a result of this famine there was large scale immigration of Irish families to the United States and Canada. The terrible after effect of the famine prompted actions from the local people for a political and social reformation. Initially it was mainly through peaceful means with sporadic incidence of valence. It took more than 50 years for the formation of an organized fighting force, the Ulster Volunteer Group and later the Irish Republican Army in 1916 whose original aim was to unite all the counties of Ireland.
The IRA as it was popularly known indulged itself to many serious terrorist activities. Its targets were mainly the police, government buildings and property, the armed forces both in the UK and abroad. “Bombings (particularly car bombs), assassinations, kidnappings, punishment beatings, extortion, smuggling and robberies have been conducted by the organization in Northern Ireland, Ireland, and mainland Great Britain” (Founding Philosophy. 2008).
This series as continued for a long time and in 1939 the same group detonated more that 59 bombs in London which killed hundreds of people and injured others. IRA conducted a series of attacks in London for a long time. Most of these terrorist activities were targeted to public and many people were killed. (Walker 2006, p. 3). One of the group’s most sensational and publicized act was the assassination of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the queen’s cousin and the last Viceroy of British India in 1976, an act which also caused the death of his grandson and a local employee. Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher had a narrow escape on her life when IRA terrorists planted a bomb at the hotel she was straying.
The IRA split into two groups in 1969. One group known as the Official IRA was more moderate in goals and declared a ceasefire in 1972. The other group was called the Provisional IRA and continued its terrorist activities and later, was simply referred to just IRA. From 1990, there was renewed terrorist attack in United Kingdom by the IRA. This time round, these terror acts were targeted to the prior targets like military bases and political persons but they also targeted financial and commercial centers. In 1990 they targeted London Stock Exchange. In 1992, they targeted Baltic Exchange while the 1993 attacks were directed at Bishop Gate. The group also carried other terror activities at Blackpool in 1991, Warrington in 1993 and Manchester in 1996.. There has also been several attacks that were aimed at the transport system in the UK.
In 1973 there were attacks which were aimed at transport system in Euston and Victoria stations which injured more than 21 passengers. Terror attacks on transport system were usually carried out consecutively at various stations within a period of 48 hours. Because these attacks were carried out by republican movements, most of them were not carried out in such a way that they could cause a great harm. They were only meant to cause disruption in normal oppression since loss of life would have a negative image on the republican movement. It was also evident that in most of these attacks, they used to give warnings of an impending attack.
Hence in terms of cost, these attacks did not have a huge impact on the economic or the social life of UK citizens. The Bishop Gate attack was so far considered the most expensive attack that terrorist had ever carried out not only in the United Kingdom but also in the whole world. Bishop gate attack had been insured at a cost of $907 million. Until the September 11 attack at the world trade centre, this has been the most expensive terrorist attacking in the world.
This attack has fatal effects as it also caused damage to the Liverpool Street Station.. IRA attacks ceased with time and in 1996 they detonated a bomb weighing 1500 kg at Manchester. This bombe brought the Andale shopping centre to shambles injuring more than 206 people. This attack has been classified as one of the most lethal attacks which brought a huge economic cost to the country. In the same year 1996, an IRA operative Edward O’Brian is killed while an improvised explosive device he was transporting explode in a bus injuring 8 people on board. The last IRA attack was recorded 2001 when they exploded a bomb in Ealing injuring 7 people.
It is not known whether the group has ceased terrorist attacks but they have not claimed responsibility for any other attack in the recent past. On Good Friday in 1998 an agreement was reached whereby the group agreed to the view that their objectives can only be achieved through peaceful means. But there were many people in the group who did not agree to this view and firmly believed that their aims of a united Ireland could only be achieved through violent means. The IRA split again and offshoots from the group called Real IRA and Continuity IRA continued to indulge in violent and terrorist activities.
Further talks continued and in 2005, the IRA agreed to lay down arms and commit itself fully to achieve their aims through peaceful means. In the year 2002, in a public statement, the group apologized for the loss of innocent civilians during their long campaign of violence.. Even though the IRA is the oldest terrorist group in Western Europe, acts of terrorism by the group is virtually nonexistent now.
Effect of IRA attacks on tourism in the UK
The uneasy relationship with Ireland and the UK is more than two hundred years old. As mentioned earlier there were instances of violence even in the late 1800’s. Tourism was not a factor worth considering during such early days. It was from the early nineteen sixties that tourist acts by the IRA became common in the UK. But the IRA was confined to the UK and was not international in nature, and its activities did not cause too much disruption in the country. Unlike the present day terrorists organizations, the targets of the group did not include civilians. Targeting tourists were not on their agenda.
Their targets were the police, particularly in Ireland called the Irish Constabulary, the military and its installations, government property and personnel and political figures. Moreover, the IRA had the practice of giving general warning about future attacks with a specific purpose of not injuring the civilian population. Even though there were civilian casualties, they were few when compared civilian causalities in the present time. Since activities of the IRA had taken place frequently from 1964 onwards, the civilian population had to a large extent got used to it and went on with their lives without too much disruption. When an activity repeats itself, people learn to take it as a part of their lives. So in the case of IRA we can say that the impact of terrorism on tourism in the UK was negligible.
The World Trade Centre and its effect on Tourism
The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11 is considered to be the most sensational act of terrorism in the world to date. This single act had far reaching consequences throughout the world. The most highly hit industry was the airline industry because of a sharp fall in the number of passengers travelling by air. People were gripped by the fear of the plane being hijacked by suicide bombers and many airline companies went bankrupt as a result. Due to this the hotel industry was also badly hit. The upward trend in world tourism which showed a rising trend form 1982 stopped and a negative growth in international tourist arrivals of 1.3% was recorded in 2002.
This decline though small, is only partly attributed to the events of September 11. The growth of tourism in the previous year in 2000 was above average and the decline is partly attributed to the fact that after an especially good year for tourism in one year, there could be a small decline the next year. The figures were released by the World Tourist Organization, the tourism arm of the United Nations. The decline in Europe and UK in particular was even less. By the second half of 2002 the tourism industry in the UK and the rest of the world was back on its feet. In the UK the foot and mouth epidemic was also one of the reasons of the fall in tourist in 2002. The above figures show that even an act of this magnitude does not have a long term impact on tourism in the UK or anywhere else in the world.
The London bombings of July 2005
However the most expensive and lethal attacks that UK has faced has been most recent one. Perhaps the most lethal attack in the United Kingdom came in 7th July 2005 when four suicide bombers carried out attacks in London killing 56 people and injuring more than 700 others. This bombing came to be known as 7/7 bombings and mainly targeted the public transport system, three of them in the underground trains system. The fourth bomb exploded in a bus. This terrorist attack crippled the public transport system for several days and severely affected the communication system. This was the most bloody terrorist attack in the country since the 1988 attack in Lockerbie which killed 270 people. This was also the first suicide attack on the soils of Western Europe. After grueling investigation on this attack it was linked to Al Qaeda terrorist group.
This nature of this attack kept the United Kingdom government on high alert. It became evident to the government that it could face the same attack of magnitude similar to that of the September 11 attack in the United Kingdom. They were several evident effects of the attack.
Effects of terrorism in UK and other parts of the world Security alerts
This attack made the government make the most detailed security alerts since they suspected that there would be another attack in other parts. The security agents moved very fast and made destruction of similar explosive packages in other cities including Edinburgh, Brighton, Convenary and other. Security was beefed up in across the United Kingdom. At the same time security was also raised with other countries like Canada, France, Germany, United States, and others which felt threatened by the attack. Police moved up very fast and sniffer dogs were employed following several other suspects while at the same time a shoot to kill order was issued for any suspect who refused to surrender to the police. This was a new call for the police to take seriously terrorist attacks and apprehend anyone suspected to be a terrorist.
Despite all these attacks, the September 11 attack on world trade centre in the United States had also great effects in the UK. It also proved two major points to the UK and the world at large. The first one is that the geographical distance of the US from counties where terrorist groups existed was not a deterrent in carrying out acts of terrorism in the soil of the United States. The second was that even a country as powerful as the US with all its security equipment could not prevent such an attack from taking place. This was considered as a threat to the world not only to the USA. United Kingdom, being a great ally of the United States was also directly or indirectly affected by this act.
Even with what has been seen as fight for the republican movement in the country, the effects of IRA terrorism activities cannot be dismissed. They may not have created great economic effects that were noticeable but they had other effects. First of all the government of the United Kingdom felt that all its interest was threatened. As such it had to move fast in order to make necessary legislations that would safeguard its interest.
The effect of these terrorist activities takes different dimensions in the society and also in the government. But most notable had been economic effects in the United Kingdom and all its allies. Let us look closely at these effects.
Transport and telecommunication effect
On the day of the attack, there was serious disruption of the communication network. Major mobile phone operator Vodafone reported that it had reached operation capacity by morning and had to put in place emergency calls. There was communication failure in the country. It was reported that it became difficult to communicate with other people due to overload of the communication system.
For the better part of the day, public transport was crippled in Central London due to destruction in the underground transport. Zone 1 bus network was closed and the Russels square was as well evacuated. There was short disruption of the train transport system but was reopened shortly. However bus operation resumed in the afternoon. Most commuters did not go about their daily operations as they chose to remain in door for fear of further attacks but also due to the crippled transport system.
However this translated to increased business activity for the private transport sector. Most people preferred to use private transport over public means which was seen as prone to another attack. Most companies also recorded that most of their workers have since then refused travelling in public means and most of them prefer travelling in taxis. This led to change in business operations for most companies as most of them changed from using direct delivery of office services like mail delivery and instead started using courier services.
The September 11 attack has the same effects on the transport sector. Many people cancelled their flights due to fear of other attacks. It was also found out that 39% of all business in central London had been affected by security measures that were put in place. This was directly attributed to security related transport delays. Those business relying on raw materials from outside were also affected, especially those importing horticultural products from other countries. The same effect was also felt at the time of Glasgow terrorist attack as strict measures were put on flights which led to delays.
As was highlighted before in this paper, terrorism attack has had damaging economic effect to the United Kingdom and the whole of Europe. The magnitude that was brought by the September 11 attack far outweighs those of other attacks that have been carried out by the IRA. This was contributed by the market effects that were created by the attack in the whole world.
The July 7 attack had its share of economic effects on the United Kingdom. Although this attack did not post a huge economic impact, there was a notable change in the stock exchange market. After the attack, the pound fell by 0.89 cents as compared to the U. S dollar. The stock exchange shed more than 200 points immediately after the attack. This initiative was undertaken by London Stock Exchange in order to ensure market stability. It took several days for the stock market to recover this loss.
The same impact was also felt in other stock markets in Europe. Stock markets in France, Germany, Netherlands and Spain had 1% under performance each. There was not great damage caused by the attack. This was evidenced the next day as the market recovered on July 8. There were no serious implication of the terrorism act that could have caused disruption in the operations of stock market and other financial sectors in country. (New Economist. 2005).
After the 7th July attack businesses confidence in the country slumped to worrying levels witnessed before during the beginning on the attack on Iraq in 2003. This was echoed by a report released which showed that the level of firms that remained optimistic about good performance of the economy for the third quarter of the year 2005 has dropped from 36% during the beginning of the war on Iraq to 19% at the time of the terrorist attack. These firms predicted that the situation could even take a worse turn than they had predicted if noting was done about the attack. The same effects was reflected on the capital with a balance of +2% showing optimism that the economy would perform well having dropped from a balance of +16% in the first quarter of the year.
Interest rates were reduced to 4.5% by august. The attack came just as the tourist season was setting in and the economy was bound to lose more. With the fear of recurrent attacks, there was reduced flow of tourist in the country and by august, the economy was recorded to have recorded the weakest growth since 1993. At the same time there were reduced number of people who acknowledge that they would visit London for any business activity or for any other reason. The city was avoided by all.
As highlighted earlier, the September 11 attack had serious economic effects to the UK and other countries in Europe. This was evidenced by the performance of stock markets in all major countries that had direct link with United States. The IMF predicated a fall in the growth for UK economy from earlier prediction of 2.4% to 1.8% for the year 2002. This was evidenced by the performance in the economy for that year as it grew by just 1.6%. Hence it did not even meet the predicted target by the IMF. These figures were released by the Office of National Statistics which recorded that this was the weakest economic growth for more than a decade in the UK. This slow growth was further attributed to the hotel and restaurant sector which is a great contributor to the growth of the UK economy. This led to prediction of a poorer economic performance for the year 2005 and 2006.
These effects can actually be segmented to individual business performance in the country. There was general low performance of business especially those which targeted outsiders like tourists since there were fears of flying. The flow of tourist to the country was slowed. This effect was also felt in the business cycle since most of those carrying out international business had to take a halt to see how the situation turned out. It was also reported that there was increased installation of business security. This translated to extra costs for the businesses. There was a recorded 20% increase in the installation of business measures in the USA and other parts of the world. However this did not change the view in the UK which stressed those general crimes against business is more harmful to the business economy than terrorism. However, in the United Kingdom only 15% of those in the business world moved fast to install security measure to the business.
The effect on the business did not only take security dimension. In the United Kingdom 33% of the business especially those with branches outside the UK changed the way they conducted their businesses meetings and travels. Many of the firms changed to using e-mail and conferring support facilities like video, web and telephone over the usually face-to-face meeting that was favored by many people in the business cycle. This was seen as a move to reduce traveling cost for many businesses but it can also be directly attributed to the need to install security measures for their personnel. There was an increased fear of traveling to many countries especially those who were considered as allies of the untied states and which could be possible targets of terrorists.
However all the terrorist attacks cannot be attributed to negative growth of businesses. There were some positive effects to most businesses in the United Kingdom. Take an example of the July 7th attack. It crippled the transport system but at the same time created business for other businesses as well. Taxi services in central London recorded increased business activity during this period of transport disruption as many people avoided public transport which could be seen as possible target for another attack.
The level of confidence in conducting business in London has been eroded as well. Since the September 11 attack, many investors has viewed the UK as an ally of USA and a possible target for other attack. This was confirmed by the London railway bombing on July 7th. But even before this attack there were low level of confidence in conducting business in the UK. The July attack was a big blow to important sectors like tourism and retail which are the driving force of the UK economy.
It was estimate that the effects on tourist sector would cost the UK more than £300 million to restore the industry back. Key tourist sites started recording declining number of visitors as fear for another attack raged on. The tower of London which is a major tourist attraction site recorded a drop of 15% in visits since up to the last year. However there has been rise in visitor going to other sites outside London. Sites like Kew Garden and RAF Hendon which is located outside London has seen a rise of 10% and 14 % respectively. Several tour travelling operators reported that their operations were severely affected by the attack.
This was due to the reason that these two sectors are more dependants on the political stability and are supported by the transport system in a big way. The London bombing created a certain level of uncertainty cause the change in perception of the business macro-economic picture. With the current trends which there are more threats couple with ever rising oil prices due to the conflict in the Middle East and down turn in consumer spending, the economy is expected to continue with a more downward growth trend and erosion of investor confidence will continue.
There was also a change in the business cycle in which they started seeing the pubic as an important player in ensuring security of the nation. The London Chamber of Commerce has advocated for increased collaboration between the public and the security agents in order to help avail more information about possible attacks. This was after investigation reveal that those who were convicted of the attack were living within the UK.
But generally the economic effects of the attack are felt in three aspects. It is claimed to have effects on slowing economic spending, the business confidence, investors confidence, and in terms of security cost. This paper has given a deep insight of factors that could lead to all the above mentioned effects. The UK economy has been threatened by slow growth in consumer spending. This has been since the September 11 attack. But it worsened with the London bombing. This was mainly because London is the financial centre of UK and most of the spending takes place there or it is indirectly linked to the environment in the city. With slow movement of people in and out of the city, there was a generalized slowed consumer spending. This was contributed by lowered consumer confidence in the country.
This paper has also explore the security situation after the attacks. There is recorded increase in security cost for most businesses as they struggled to improve the security situation of their business. This cost was later translated to consumers. This was a cost in the economy that was not suppose to be incurred.
In terms of international investment, UK was not that much damaged since investors had learned from earlier experiences that terrorist attack is not directly linked to a permanent security attack in the business. Although the economy has not performed so well after all the London attack, international investors confidence is still coming back and more and more people are investing in the county once again.
As discussed earlier, the country has performed relatively well in terms of business restoring business confidence. More and more people are seeking loans to expand their business since they feel that the situation will improve. The foiling of another airline attack by UK and USA security agencies in 2006 created more confidence in the security situation which translated to increased business confidence in the country. (Rogers 2007, p. 98)
But analyst suggests that terrorist attack will not have a lasting effect on the economic situation of the UK. Going by the trend, most cities which have suffered bombing have risen up again in an unprecedented growth. All major cities including New York, Tokyo, Mumbai and others which have suffered terrorist attack bounce back within a short period of time. Hence the question goes back to creating confidence in the business cycle. If investors’ confidence is quickly restored UK can make a quick turn round in economic gains. All these terrorism activities have not directly targeted important sectors of the economy as hence they have created shocks that the economy has been able to absorb. Creating investors confidence is very important if any country have to wake up from economic effects of any terrorist attack.
Social and Religious effects
Apart from economic effects, terrorism has had various social effects it has led to various changes in some aspects of social interaction of people in the UK. Social and economic changes take the same direction most of the times. They are two inseparable determinant of life. Change in economic situation will lead to change in social situation and vice versa. A terrorist attack on a place can have far reaching psychological effects on the population. Those who are directly affected will be more affected than those who have only heard about the same through the media and other first had reports. The most affected are usually children and young people.
When the children see or hear about violence that is deliberate and calculating, resulting in loss of lives and property to innocent people, problems that may take a long time to heal can occur. It may also happen that the child belongs to the same community, religion of the people who committed the terrorist attack. In such instances there might be hostility towards them from the local people who have been directly or indirectly affected by such terrorist acts.
One of the greatest social effects that terrorism in UK is cooping with the aftermath of the attacks. Like in other places of the world, it has become difficult for people to cope with the loss of their loved ones. Loss of life is the single most effect that terrorism had on the life of them people in the whole world. Not only has it reduced the value of human life, but it has also led to a lot of pain to most people who loss those they depend on. How manly family has been disruption by all these terror acts? From all these attacks more than 1000 people have lost their lives in the deadly attacks and thousands of other injured. Treatment of those who were injured translates to foregoing attendance to other important health issues in the country. (Awan 2005, p. 87)
Loss of loved ones has led to disruption of families. Many children have been left orphaned while many more families have broken down. Although we can give economic support to these broken families, certainly we cannot heal their heart. We cannot replace their lost loves no mater what we do in their lives. But the question still remains as whether the loss of this life was justified. Many families keep on visiting the terrorist act sites to lay flower in order to remember their loved ones.
This clearly indicates the agony that these families goes through when they remember that they lost their loved ones through terrorism which is seen as s cruel act no matter what justification that we try to put through. Studies have revealed different coping mechanism used by different people which were directly or indirectly affected by the attack. Most of them have shown that they have already accepted that the attack happened and they have decided to live with it.
They have already decided to let it go and accept even the loss of the loved ones. But this has been a consorted effort by psychologist who has helped these people accept what happened. However a small segment of the population who were directly affected by the attack has revealed that they have resulted to self blame or turned to alcohol and drugs in order to cope with the outcome of the attack. This has been recorded on those who lost their loved ones and had little access to counselling services.
The normal social life in the UK has been disrupted by the fact that people have started avoiding some places which are prone to terrorist attack. Avoiding important places like London goes within social cost associated with it. Many of those receiving social services from London could not access those services especially because they feel that their life is threatened by visiting these places. It takes time to take fear out of these people. Studies that have been carried out reveal that the senile members of the community feel more fearful to be in crowded places since they consider more exposed to attacks. Students also revealed that this segment of the society interrupts most of their routine or planned travels to place that is suspected being prone to attacks.
Interruption in daily routine of activities for most of the population definitely comes with both social and economic costs. However it is only a very small segment of the population, about 5% in all studies which has actually changed their daily routines due to terrorism threats. But a 5% segment of population can actually translate to a large portion given the social aspect of influence this segment may have on the population. Most of the population has since then agreed that they have stopped avoiding certain areas although they still have fear of those areas which they feel that there is an impending threat of attack. (Hancock 2008).
Most people have also changed their patterns of interaction. The research revealed that most people avoided getting in relationship with people who were likely to suspects of terrorism. Most people who were in love with people from Middle East are recorded to have broken those relationships on fear of being termed as allies of terrorism. This in deed was a great social effect on relationships. It is also recorded that family links with people from Middle East were affected as many people feared associating with them. This was especially after investigation into the July bombing revealed that most of the suspect had lived and worked among the UK citizens for along time. (Rusi 2007, p. 67)
There has been much effect on religion and their practices. In general it has led to the perception of Islamic religion as a violent religion which advocates for killing of innocent civilians with. However leaders of Islam in the UK have moved very fast and condemned terrorism as an act not accomplished with as a religious strategy but as used by some people who put a religious aspect in the whole issue. They have proclaimed it as a misuse of religious ideologies to pursue their hatred to other people. But generally the perception of Islam as a righteous religious group has been greeted tainted by terrorist who presumably carry out these acts in the name of their religion.
Although the practice of the Islam as a religion has not changed; there has been along battle between the government and the religion on the issue of “jilbab’ covering that are used by Muslim women. Some learning institution have made well their threat and banned the use of these head covering in schools in many parts of the world. This has met resistance from Muslims but the proponents of the ban insists that these coverings are used by terrorist to cover their physical identity especially when they know that they are be pursued by the authority. There had been ensuing legal battle between student and their schools over this. Terrorism has slowly revolutionized from a geopolitical issue to social religious issue. (U.S Department of State. 2007).
The effects of the war on terrorism are also felt by UK citizens in other parts of the world. These problems have also caused considerable social effects to those in the UK. After Britain joined war on terror, there was a lot of resistance from the citizens but grappling with the effects of the bombings, the government had to take all the measures to make sure that it made the country safe. The decision by Britain to join the war on terror in Iraq led to increased hatred of the country by opponents of the war.
That hatred eventually lead to the 7/7 attack. This attack was seen as revenge by terror groups to Britain for joining United States in the war. But it did not end here. UK citizens in other parts of the world were also targeted by terror group. This brought a social and emotional insecurity to most people in the United Kingdom because they felt that they could guarantee the security of their loved ones in other countries. Some people especially those who were working in the Middle East had to resign from their jobs and go back to the United Kingdom. This has effects on social and economical life of those people. (Treanor 2004, p. 3)
The effect of the bombings on tourism in the UK
When compared to the World Trade Centre attack, the aftermath of the London bombings was much more. London and Paris are two of the most popular destinations in the whole of Europe. The biggest money spinning industry in London is tourism; it provides nearly 200,000 jobs and generates nearly thirteen billion pounds in revenue every year. It is also home to a multi culture, multi racial society and its inhabitants come from all parts of the world. There is also a large population from Asia including the Middle East and south Asia. The effects of the bombings were much more severe than that caused by the World Trade Centre bombings, at least in the short run.
All forms of entertainment including theatres reported lower earning even one month after the bombings. Shops reported lower sales and hotels had cancellations and low bookings. But eventually things returned to normal in a short time. One factor that did not affect tourism in the case of the London bombings was that it was targeted at the local population and not on the tourists as in the case of the Bali bombings. One of the other fallouts of this particular attack was the hostility shown towards people from Asia in general. People from these regions were singled out right from the moment they stepped on to the UK soil.
When compared to arrivals from other countries, a more thorough verification by the customs authorities were done on such persons. There were no differentiation in the treatment meted out to tourists also. This was mainly due to the fact that people were unable to identify from which Asian country the passengers were coming. The seriousness of the attacks resulted in the local population being suspicious of people form Asian countries. This was truer if the traveller was form the Middle East. Many genuine tourists from such regions felt harassed by this treatment.
The whole world felt threatened by the September 11 attack and most countries move to make the necessary legislations to counter terrorism. The United Kingdom government moved fast and made laws, policies and practices to counter terrorism activities. At the end of the year 2001, the UK government enacted the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act (ATCSA) which had provision for indefinite detention without charges or trial for those who are not UK citizens suspected of terrorism activities and who cannot be repatriated to their home country or any other country for trials. Anyone detained on those ground has not right to legal counsel but can access an advocate.
However, the advocate cannot reveal to the detainees the evidence gathered against them. The detainees are however given the permission to lodge an appeal with Special Immigration Commission. The fact that the detainee’s does not have right to legal counsel puts them in a situation where they are unable to put in place an effective defence. In 2002, the court of appeal ruled out that the right to indefinite detention is a power reserved for the state and can be exercised during the time of emergency or in time of war. The UK government was accused of practicing internment as was used in Ireland.
To avoid this criticism the government mover fast and derogated from article 5 for the European human rights commission charter. This provision provides that the government must provide a fair trial to all suspects. But the anti-terrorism law read otherwise. (Anti terrorism. 2001).
This legislation had a number of effects in the UK legal system. The UK government actually derogated from European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. This role had been previously preserved to the Council of Europe which could implement it on grounds of taking counter-terrorism measures. This trend made the UK government move further and further from the provision of the Human Rights Charter in trying to ensure national security. The government was torn between its earlier pledge to uphold human rights and the current security threats that the country was already facing. However under normal circumstance, the government could not continue risking the life of its citizens in circumstances of respecting the rights of a few suspects. (BBC, 2008)
The European Human Right Committees visited the country’s detention camp and raised concern with the way the detainees were handled. The commissions raised issue with the Detainees were staying in the cells as they lacked out of cell time or any other exercise. They were also denied immediate access to primary health care, more so in areas of psychological support and psychiatric treatment for those who were traumatized. The suspects were also denied contacts with the outside world and hence they did not get recent development in maters concerning terrorism.
In there arrest, it has been argued that police are targeting particular ethnic, racial and religious groups. Police has so far arrested more that 300 suspects on ground of terrorist and a number of them have been charged. Those who have been released from these cells have cited case of inhuman treatments. They have claimed to have been tortured and isolated from the rest of the world. They have acknowledged to have suffered various forms of physical, emotional and psychological suffering in the hand of UK soldiers in order to get the necessary information from them. (UN. 2003).
The government also moved to enact the Immigration, Nationality and Asylum Act of 2002 which has provisions reducing the probability of right to seek asylum but in line with the interest of the nation.
This clearly indicates the effects that terrorism had on the legislation of the United Kingdom. The government has had to review its position as a major player of human rights activism in order to protect the life of its citizens. Although this may have portrayed a negative image of the country, it has been made to ensure that the country reduces the risk of attack as much as possible and also in order to restore domestic confidence. The government has bleached some provision in the judicial process like the access to counsel and the right to know the nature and evidence of the charges brought against somebody but this has been put in place in the interest of the nation.
International organizations like Amnesty International have shown it very clear that the UK government need to reveal its anti-terrorism act. This act has clearly tainted the image of the UK government and the constitution as far as human rights and the right to a fair trial is concerned. But the government has defended itself arguing that this kind of legislation is necessary in order to makes sure that the government gains enough evidence to prosecute suspects. (UK: Human Rights – a broken promise. 2006).
This one legislation demonstrates the effects terrorism has had on UK legislation. It shows how the government has gone a step ahead in breaking its earlier ratification of human right conventions in order to ensure that its citizens are safe. This has had an effect of creating a bad reputation on the side of the government as violator of human rights. But as was stressed by the then Prime Minister Tony Blair, the government was aware of what it was doing but had not option except to introduce stringent laws in order to be able to prosecute terrorism suspects. This was a risk the government was taking.
It is with the consideration that the government could not continue being members of human right conventions and at the same time continue risking the security of the country due to terrorism threats that it was receiving. This was a negative effect on the image of UK in face of human rights and at the same time a negative effects in the side of its legislation and judicial procedures.
To give the government more powers and effectiveness in combating terrorism, a bill called the Counter Terrorism Bill 2007 – 08 has been put before the parliament for approval in 2008, though some of the provisions like the move to extend the time a suspect can be held in custody is controversial. The government has also plans to give full support to the bill by increasing the funding available to different security agonies.
Other Steps taken by Government with regard to combating and dealing with terrorism
The Government has taken various steps in coma batting terrorism after the UK bomb blasts. The Home Office of the government has initiated the ‘Counter Terrorism Strategy’ to lessen chances of being victim to terrorist attacks. It involves the active participation of different government departments, emergency services, like fire department etc, the private sector, service and other voluntary organizations and other governments from around the world. “The key aim of the counter-terrorism strategy is to reduce the risk we face from international terrorism so that people can go about their business freely and safely” (Counter Terrorism Strategy. 2008).
The MI5, The governments’ security serviced has published a booklet titled ‘Protecting Against Terrorism’. It contains comprehensive guidelines about security, dealing with threats and getting help from Counter Terrorism Security Advisors (CTSA). CTSA are trained with the sole intention of protecting valuable assets and in fighting terrorism. The booklet is aimed at all sectors and can be obtained from the following web address. http://www.ukresilience.info/upload/assets/www.ukresilience.info/protecting.pdf Conclusion
Terrorism has faced threat of human life not only in the UK but also in the whole world. Since the September 11 attack, the whole world was no longer secure and stiff measures had to be taken in order to restore security again in the world. The UK in particular has faced a lot of terrorism activities such that the September 11 attack acted as a wakening call for it to flex it security muscle in order to protect its citizen.
Faced with the dilemma of providing security for its citizens, UK had no option but join the USA in the fight against terror in Iraq. This was seen as a war of cutting throats of thriving terror groups in the world. This was a justified reason why the UK had to join USA in the war. This was one of the options it had to take in order to protect the lives of its citizens. Although was used as a reason for London bombing; it can be argued that as a western country with a lot of influence, UK was already under threat of terrorists.
Although terrorism activities have had effects in the UK, there is not doubt that if order is restored in the Middle East, the world can enjoy relatively calm conditions. The country should focus on finding a lasting solution rather than focusing on short term effects like the above economic, religious and social effects. The legislation measures that UK has undertaken can go along way in helping the country improve the security of the country.
Like has happened in other countries that have been under terrorist attack, we are hopeful that at end all the above effects will come an end. The country needs to have more points on confidence and less threats of attack to be back on the right track. If one looks back at history, the people of the UK have proved their mettle in facing hardship and death during the famous battle of Britain during the Second World War. There have bee hundreds of instances when the country has come out victorious where defeat was imminent. The UK and its people will challenge and withstand the threat of terrorism the same way as it has done in the past.
Throughout the world the tourism industry is one of the biggest money spinners in the world. It is also one of the most resilient. On countless occasions the industry has come back strongly after a fall in revenues. Whatever is the reason, whether it is terrorism, natural disasters or the foot and mouth disease in the UK the recession in the industry has been temporary and has always regained momentum soon afterwards. International tourism continues to grow at a robust rate.
The events of the Middle East, the coalition war with Iraq, natural disasters like the tsunami etc has not slowed this growth. The figures released by the World Tourism Organization for 2007 shows an all time record in international tourism. The World Tourism Organization says that there was a six percent growth when compared to the previous year and the total number of international travellers numbered 900 million for the year. “ … 207 results confirm tourism’s resilience regarding external factors, such as turbulence in financial markers, increasing interest rates, tighter credit conditions, rising fuel prices and security and health issues” (World Short Term Tourism Data 2007. 2008).
It is not clearly understood why the tourism industry in general is not affected by threat of terrorism. It is true that for a short term like any other industry, tourism too is impacted negatively. But invariably this trend is reversed and tourism industry recovers. One reason is that tourists travel to enjoy themselves and memories of events like these are soon forgotten. They are far removed from the pressures of daily life back home and would behave in a more relaxed manner in a tourist spot. Another reason is that they feel that such things happen to other people and not to themselves or their friends or relatives. Whatever be the reason this industry will continue to grow and hold its place among the top money spinners in the business world.
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