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Classical Studies
CLST 201

Final Exam Paper – RELS 331 Frankie Tarascio, 06212494 Due: Friday December 13, 2013 Question 1: As the leader of the Elbonian Liberation Movement, it would be my obligation to my supporters and my ethnic group to ensure that the Elbonian government accept terms of political independence no matter the consequences or moral ambiguity. Despite the fact that the government is currently in armed conflicts with two other liberation groups, the MLE and LME, its resources still far exceed those of the ELM. The Elbonian government agreeing to political independence and surrendering its power over my ethnic group would require it to be seriously threatened by my organization. The government, being better armed and resourced, means that outright war would not be wise and therefore more extreme methods of drawing attention and fear may need to be employed to achieve the desired result. In such a case as this, suicide terror might be the most effective option. The purpose of a suicide attack would be to create a psychological disruption in the general public (Bloom 2007). The real victims of the attack would be those who were made to witness it, rather than those physically effected (Bloom 2007). In general, it is the goal of suicide attacks to shock the State with an attack which is so horrendous that it would be impossible not to draw attention to the issues at hand and shift influence and public opinion into the perpetrators hands. The government, under such attack of its innocent civilians, would be provoked into taking action, while at the same time, the responsible group gains credibility and hopefully supporters. It would not be the goal of the attacks to harm innocent people; rather, it would be the hope that there is an air of fear and panic created which sparks negotiations from the government (Bloom 2007). In Elbonia, it would make the most sense to utilize attacks such as these at a point when my group is completely out of options (Bloom 2007). This is when we have been defeated militarily and stand no chance of overpowering our opposition. Another timing consideration that may be brought forth is to engage in suicide attacks when support for our cause seems to be dwindling and the movement is in need of rejuvenation. If the attacks are timed appropriately, they will potentially create a sense of hopelessness amongst the government leaders as they begin to believe that my group is irrational and will stop at nothing to get what we want. The other two liberation groups must also be taken into account. A suicide attack could have one of two positive effects on our campaign with relation to the other groups. If we are in competition with the other movements, an attack could steal support away from their causes to ours by harming their credibility for not taking such an extreme approach (Bloom 2007). It would appear as if the three, like-named groups have a similar motivation for fighting the government, and therefore the concept of othering could be utilized to add strength to the ELM. By creating an “us versus them” mentality between the liberation fronts and the government, the groups may join together in support against a common enemy. This can be done by exaggerating the similarities between the three groups and at a point where social support for the ELM is at its highest, a suicide attack would be ordered to break society (Waller 2002). The target of the attacks could in this case be completely innocent civilians or defenceless supporters of the government. This would both at once: draw support from the other liberation groups by attacking a common enemy, and have an intense psychological effect on the government and media by harming those who cannot protect themselves. A psychologically defeated government may be more inclined to bargain with our group or surrender on certain issues since they have a moral obligation to protect their people. The greater the threat to innocent Elbonians in the form of suicide terror, the more likely the government is to back down. Suicide terror may be the most effective tactic available to my failing organization in order to achieve success and political independence for my people. Word Count: 676 Question 2: In cultures all over the world and throughout history, it is nearly impossible to analyze politics without referring to religion in some manner. The two concepts have been so intertwined that religions themselves can be thought of as forms of distinct political organizations. The influence that these religious factions have on politics and, in turn, on society as a whole is truly remarkable. This tie to politics in modern society is largely a result of a lack of a clear definition of what qualifies as an aspect of religion and what does not (Cavanaugh 2011). The effect of the missing definition, as related to politics, is that religious beliefs and their impact on political affairs are open to interpretation. Violence, for example, could be perceived by one to be immoral according to religious scripture, whereas it could be seen as a necessity for a justifiable cause to another. In this way, it was largely the influence of Christianity in the US Government, as opposed to the influence of Islam in the Middle East, which led to violence between the two sides in the past years. Religion, when connected in this way to politics, can have negative ramifications. There were those, such as Martin Luther King Jr. however, who taught that religious influence could be utilized as an important positive political force to create peace and inspire the protection of human rights. Martin Luther King Jr.’s movement for equality took a high ground against its oppressors by countering threats with love and violence with peace. It was not the goal of his movement to defeat or to humiliate the opponent, but rather to win them over with understanding through the use of non-violent civil disobedience (two topics that King studied in India in 1959) (TAH 2006). King, as a minister for the black Christian Church, used religion as a medium through which to share his dreams of a peaceful future. King took the time to speak with people of all faiths, not just Christians, and rallied supporters of all kinds behind him. The SCLC (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) was founded on the principle of Agape love. The Greek word, Agape, could be defined as an understanding, creative, and redemptive good will for all men, an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return, and a love of all things that God loves (TAH 2006). Although clearly formed on a religious basis, this concept demonstrated King’s understanding of how religion should be used to bring people together. He also acknowledged that those who did not necessarily have a belief in God, could support the same principles and demonstrate non-violence from a belief in justice. King’s movement was as much religious as it was political. The SCLC had to stand up to an onslaught of evil in the forms of bombings, beatings, unwarranted jailing, and attempted assassinations, while only expressing understanding and taking part in peaceful protest in response (Jezer 2003). Every major social movement requires a leader. Martin Luther King Jr. took it upon himself to take on this role as the one to look up to, or the hero for the oppressed. Unlike in hero ideology studied in this course,
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