Courseworks

The London Bombings: One Person’s Experience

This research report looks at “The London Bombings; one person’s perspective. In this study I have analysed a victim’s experience of the bombings and asked him various questions about his reactions of why he thinks this event took place.My research problem was raised from the broader topic of terrorism. I decided to narrow it down to a specific area that I could concentrate on and this area was in fact the London Bombings.I thought to carry out this study because it would be interesting and different to the research already done on terrorism. My report also includes other key realities that have been approached for example September 11th attacks and the Iraq war.A LITERATURE REVIEW:Terrorism may be well considered one of the most controversial topics today. One can ask twenty different people their feelings on terrorism and what they believed it to be; a person may get twenty different answers. The nature and history of terrorism as we know it today is that terrorist’s like to provoke the public who has the authorities that gives them the upper hand scenario.The war on terror began as soon as the U.S Government declared that the planes which crashed into the Twin Towers were an act of terrorism. There was much panic and vivid theories that aroused the public’s attention directly to Terrorism, Al-Qaeda and Muslims’. Ever since 911 a lot of work was published on Al-Qaeda and what they want. In contrast to the 9/11 literature that was vastly spread across the world, insufficient or very little literature was available on what the public thinks of the atrocities.Then in July 2005 a series of attacks were carried out by terrorists across the London Underground Network. Again, insufficient research was done on what the public thought of the attacks.My research is completely different to that already done. There have been many case studies written on terrorism and nearly all of them are politically critical and do not reflect reality. There was a point when people were scared to come out of their shells, but nowadays the freedom of speech have given them the right to express their feelings, and people find that advantageous.METHODOLOGY:I have conducted an intense face-to-face ethnographic interview with a Muslim victim of the 7/7 bombings. The detailed interview was used to elicit the individual’s personal meanings. Kelly devised this as “every person is his or her scientist, seeking to predict and control his own world”1I have used the ethnographic life-history interview, a typical mean which is very detailed and collects insightful data from one individual.2I have used social history that can challenge contemporary theories about present day crime. What is more, it establishes pictures from the past to shed a light on social structure, the functioning of social institutions within that structure, and relationships between them. This facilitates some historical dimension to the study of crime and criminal justice.The interview schedule which was fairly loosely structured, sought details of the interviewee’s own decisions about the war and how he distinguishes who is responsible for it.The interview included the war on terror, who is responsible, how it is making the situation worse and what the government is really actually up to. It gets to a point where other realities are included like Al-Qaeda, Bin Laden, 9/11, WMD and the fight for oil.The whole interview lasted forty-five minutes, was tape recorded and then subsequently transcribed. The respondent was told to tell his views in response to what he thought of the terrorist attacks of 7/7. He played a passive role though it was necessary to probe for clarification on some points. Most of the information was elicited by means of the simple questions.”What do you think about the attacks of 7th July 2005? Why do you think they take religion as a hostage? What do think they want to achieve in this way?”While the majority of the questions asked where simple a few were probed for clarification “You said earlier that ‘they’ are trying to get public attention, have they succeeded?” “You have included 9/11 in this talk. How can you say that the war on Iraq has anything to do with 9/11?” “Can you substantiate these facts?”These questions gave an insight to the broader aspect of his reaction to the war and what he interprets it as.The report is a single case study only and my sample is Theory-Based or Operational Construct – which means “Finding manifestations of a theoretical construct of interest so as to elaborate and examine the construct.”3There are several considerations when deciding to adopt a qualitative research methodology. Strauss and Corbin (1990) claim that qualitative methods can be used to better understand any phenomenon about which little is yet known. They can also be used to gain new perspectives on things about which much is already known, or to gain more in-depth information that may be difficult to convey quantitatively. Thus, qualitative methods are appropriate in situations where one needs to first identify the variables that might later be tested quantitatively, or where the researcher has determined that quantitative measures cannot adequately describe or interpret a situation. Research problems tend to be framed as open-ended questions that will support discovery of new information.ANALYSING DATA: The findingsReligion as a hostage:The interview gave me a lot of interesting findings. One of the finding that I realised was the fact that terrorists take religion as a hostage to ‘achieve’ something in their lives Here he is discussing the why he thinks they [suicide bombers] take religion as a hostage: “These people seem to need something to show as an ‘achievement’ in their lives; I don’t see any religion truly justifying what actions they took but they take the name of Islam’ for that justification. I am not into religion, but I get the feeling that these people won’t accept to fit in with the cultures of this country. They want to live by their means but in a country in which they are a minority because of this, they become excluded, then feel like they are being isolated and then that gives them more justification for what they did.”He makes it crystal clear that it is the fact that they want to achieve something in their lives that they carry these deeds! He also says that ‘they want to live by their means’ which illustrates that they are rejecting the values that this country provides and ‘won’t accept to fit in with the cultures of this country’.What do the terrorists want to achieve by bombing?This led me to ask the respondent “What do you think they want to achieve in this way?” He replied with a detailed answer and gave on hand information. “Well, Osama bin Laden said in one of his video tapes ‘If you bomb our cities we will bomb yours.’ It was crystal clear Britain would be a target ever since Tony Blair decided to join George Bush’s “war on terror” and his invasion of Iraq. We had, as they say, been warned.” It is from this point that we include George Bush, his war on terror and the invasion of Iraq. From this point onward we discover the past has everything to do with why the attacks took place. He goes on to explain: “They [terrorists] are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, from his alliance with the United States, and from his adherence to Bush’s policies in the Middle East.”Who is responsible for the attacks?Another fact that I discovered was that the attacks may have been planned by the government itself. This was a real shock to me and I was speechless just to hear him talk about it. “It is almost fact that the twin towers were brought down by a government conspiracy, so who is to say that the same is not going on with the British government.””He implied that the war on Iran was getting ridiculous, the American government is planning on nuking Iran for a very ironic purpose. They say Iran is a threat to world peace through developing nuclear weapons. “The only threat to world peace at the moment is the USA and their ‘whole in the head’ ideology. Who cares if Iran develops nukes, it will just bring them up to power with the hypocritical western countries.” He went on to explain how ID cards were introduced after the bombings and assumed that it created fear mongering to the extent of brainwashing the public into believing we need some sort of control on freedom of speech and a system in place that will eventually control all of our lives.Invasion of Iraq and the fight for oil:In this discussion he talked about how 911 gave George Walker Bush a very good reason to attack the country he felt threatened by, because of oil. He says “Bush thinks he knows what is right, and wrong for us, just like Bin Laden reckoned, he was doing Muslim’s a favour through his action of 9/11, but why do people think 9/11 happened in the first place?” ‘Bush got rid of Saddam so he could invade Iraq and tell the world false tales of WMD and that they existed. Later the UN made it clear that there was no such thing. So why did Bush not withdraw from Iraq right there and then? That is a question clarifying that Bush wanted to invade Iraq and help himself to Iraq’s oil.’ He says: “fact – Bush has huge personal investments in the oil industry, fact- Bush decided to invade Iraq in April 2001, six months before September 11th, and the official reason was to improve Western access to Iraqi oil, fact- More than half of U.S foreign aid, goes to Israelis. Who hate the Palestinians, who Saddam stuck up for?”His argument was: “I believe Bush is a threat to the West, and East, and this need to be realised, before, he goes to war on Iran, and claims more lives.”We started off with discussing why the perpetrators took religion as a hostage and involved a lot of things along the way. For example, the suicide bombers wanted to achieve something in their lives to get public opinion to be hero’s and used religion as a hostage for their deeds. This plan of theirs did not work although it did create a phenomenon. It gave them attention but of the wrong kind. They are seen as uneducated and brainwashed beings that kill innocent lives for the name of god.Another point is that the respondent blamed the Western Government to be the ultimate responsibility of the atrocities. We also find out that he said the ID cards were made after the bombings and this created the fear mongering and made the nation as though insecure so that whatever the government is doing is for our own good.We saw that Bush had gone to war only for Oil and got Saddam ripped off his dictatorship so he could invade Iraq. Iraq was invaded because the intelligence information available at the time from both US and UK agencies indicated that WMD existed. The intelligence information however turned out to be incorrect, and as a result of this the US-UK-other forces invaded Iraq under false pretence, but by that time it was too late. The US and UK have already acknowledged that the intelligence they got on WMD’s was wrong. He makes a very good point here.CONCLUSIONThis report has concentrated on one person’s reaction to the London bombings. This conclusion is based on the findings of the study. My interviewee discussed his experience of why the London Blasts took place. My key findings were [as discussed in the analysis] that it was all a governmental plan. That government was really responsible for it all. He also said that suicide bombers took religion as a hostage and because the bombers were Muslim’s the Muslim nation is getting the blame for it all.The blasts were the main cause for the fight for oil because Iraq had oil and Bush wants it for himself!While I was interviewing, other aspects like WMD, Iraq, 9/11, Saddam and Bin Laden came up. Obviously they are all linked up with terrorism because all these situations happened after September eleventh.Now that I have gathered my report to an end, by using one man’ view I can say that why the terrorist attacks of 7/7 took place in the first place. Even though it is a one man view it is still biased because it does not represent the whole nation. He was a victim of the bombings and could be expressing himself in some sort if way falsely? But because this report had me pressurised for word limit I could not interview a large sample of population.APPENNDIX 1Qualitative analysis: Richness and Precision.Advantages of qualitative document analysis� It allows the greater awareness of the perspectives of participants (or all involved in the research)� It also gives the capability for understanding dynamic developments in a program (process) as it evolves� Awareness of time and history� It is also sensitive to the influence of context� The researcher is alerted of unanticipated and unplanned eventsThe disadvantages of qualitative document analysis� Sources or subjects may not all be equally credible.� Some subjects may be previously influenced and affect the outcome of the study.� Background information may be missing.� Study group may not be representative of the larger population.� Analysis of observations can be biased.� Any group/sample that is studied is altered to some degree by the very presence of the researcher. Therefore, any data collected is somewhat skewed. (Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle)Quantitative analysis: Statistically reliable and generalisable results.Advantages to using quantitative document analysis� The results are statistically reliable. That is, quantitative research can reliably determine if one idea, concept, product, package, etc., is better than the alternatives.� The results are able to be projected to the population. That is, the proportion of respondents answering a certain way is similar to the proportion of the total population that would have answered that way if they all had been asked.� Quantitative analysis methods are well-suited to addressing the who, what, when and where (Day, 1998).� Quantitative multivariate methods have the advantage of allowing researchers to measure and control variables (Edwards, 1998).Disadvantages of Quantitative Document AnalysisThough there are many advantages to quantitative research, there are also many disadvantages. These are as follows:� Quantitative research is neither appropriate nor cost effective for learning why people act or think as they do. The questions must be direct and easily quantified, and the sample must be quite large (200 is an absolute minimum) so as to permit reliable statistical analysis. (Urban Wallace & Associates, 1995).� The primary disadvantage of a quantitative document analysis research is that issues are only measured if they are known prior to the beginning of the survey (and, therefore, have been incorporated into the questionnaire). (McCullough, 1995)� Quantitative analysis also requires the advance formulation of specific hypotheses (Huysamen, 1997).� Quantitative research also has “the disadvantage that the resulting theory often fails to take account of the unique characteristics of individual cases” (Edwards, 1998)� Though occurring in both qualitative and quantitative, a possible disadvantage is researcher bias. “Researcher bias tends to result from selective observation and selective recording of information, and also from allowing one’s personal views and perspectives to affect how data are interpreted and how the research is conducted” (Johnson, 1997).APPENNDIX 2With the qualitative method of document analysis there are concerns about the numerical and arithmetical accuracy. One must not try to window dress or manipulate and thus distort the evidence as well as omitting any essential inconvenient evidence.”However issues are more difficult with the qualitative approach as there is more subjective evidence to work with. Giving opinions and appropriate importance to statements becomes a central issue. There should be no attempt to deliberately misinterpret or fabricate evidence when conducting document analysis .Sub-conscious bias on the part of the researcher may be overcome by triangulation, but in the final analysis an argument based on a judgement is required.”4At the beginning of my study I was paralysed as to what to choose for my report. I thought of doing terrorism but that was such a broad topic that I had to cut it down into bite-size topic; I chose London bombings. After that I had real difficulty actually getting hold of a victim of the blasts. When I did finally manage to find someone setting the time and interview was fairly easy.When the interview was complete I had difficulty writing it up. I had to delete certain bits that were irrelevant. The writing up process was very difficult as I had to listen to the interview on the tape and type it up. Apart from that I found my report very enjoyable, although this is the first time I have done such a piece of work, I would not mind doing this again!

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