|Terrorism in the 21st Century
Perspectives from Bangladesh
edited by Imtiaz Ahmed
ISBN 984 70220 0020 2 2009 216pp 215x136mm HB Tk.500.00 US$27.00
At the dawn of the 21st century the specter of terror has come to haunt the minds of the citizenary and policymakers alike. Three reasons seem to be responsible for this. Firstly, the empowering status of non-state entities. Secondly, the easy availability of deadly, weaponry, including the knowledge of turning grocery items into improvised explosive devices. And thirdly, the arrival of suicide bombers priding on civilian targets, and that again, with an aggressiveness primarily grounded in faith rather than on reason. Elements of this have infected almost all the major religious domains, although it must be readily admitted that the Muslims are being targeted the most in almost all the continents of the world.
People across the globe prefer to talk of all this in terms of 9/11 and there are good reasons for this. A trillion-dollar defence budget, incidentally, of a self-assured superpower could not stop a dozen or more non-state elements to carry out a demonic feat, killing in the process 3000 of its residents and causing an instant financial loss of US$ 60 billion! The power of the state never suffered such a shock at the hands of the non-state in the entire history of its being. But then, 9/11, spectacular as it may have been, was hardly an exception. A less dramatic version of it, indeed, with non-state entities challenging the power of the state, could be found throughout the world.
Bangladesh too had its share: the bomb attack on a pro-left cultural rally in March 1999; the bomb explosion at Ramna on the Bengali New Year day in April 2001; the grenade attack on Sheikh Hasina in August 2004; country-wide explosions in 63 districts in August 2005; and suicide bombers targeting courtrooms and court premises in three districts in October 2005. This is however a selective list from numerous incidents. But then the question that merits attention, is there something quintessentially Bangladeshi when it comes to terrorism? The authors of this volume provide answers to this query.
Imtiaz Ahmed is Professor of International Relations at the University of Dhaka. He is the author/ co-author of several books and monographs. More than eighty scholarly articles have been published in various books and journals. His earlier publications on the subject of terrorism include numerous articles and an edited volume titled Understanding Terrorism in South Asia: Beyond Statist Discourses (New Delhi: Manohar Publishers & Colombo: Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, 2006). Currently he is working on a volume titled Post-national Dictionary of Languages: Bangla, Chakma, English, Marma and Tripura. Website: www.imtiazalter.netfirms.com.