This activity can be used with any of the FRONTLINE programs related to terrorism.
This activity will provide students with an opportunity to:
In his Sept. 20, 2001, speech to America, President George W. Bush used the words "terror," "terrorist," or "terrorism," but he never defined the term. To help students clarify their ideas about what people mean when they use the word "terrorist," present them with the following scenario:
"The government of Country A is very unhappy with the government of Country B, whose leaders came to power in a revolution that threw out the former Country B dictator. Country A decides to do everything in its power to overthrow the new leaders of Country B. It begins funding a guerrilla army that attacks Country B from another country next door. Country A also builds army bases in the next door country and allows the guerrilla army to use its bases. Country A supplies almost all of the weapons and supplies of the guerrilla army fighting Country B. The guerrillas generally try to avoid fighting Country B's army. Instead, they attack clinics, schools, and cooperative farms. Sometimes they mine the roads. Many, many civilians are killed and maimed by the Country A-supported guerrillas. Consistently, the guerrillas raid Country B and then retreat into the country next door where Country A has military bases."
Then pose these follow-up questions:
Continue the discussion by revealing that the scenario is a real example from the 1980s in which Country A is the United States, Country B is Nicaragua, and the country next door is Honduras. Ask students if this additional information challenges any of their ideas.
Close the discussion by asking, "What difference do you think it would make if students all over the country were having the discussion that we're having today?"
FRONTLINE: The Roots of Terrorism
Rethinking Schools: "War, Terrorism, and America's Classrooms"
14. Understands issues concerning the disparities between ideals and reality in American political and social life
21. Understands the formation and implementation of public policy
22. Understands how the world is organized politically into nation-states, how nation-states interact with one another, and issues surrounding U.S. foreign policy
23. Understands the impact of significant political and nonpolitical developments on the United States and other nations
United States history
31. Understands economic, social, and cultural developments in the contemporary United States
Thinking and reasoning
2. Understands and applies basic principles of logic and reasoning
3. Effectively uses mental processes that are based on identifying similarities and differences