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Addressing Tragedy in the Classroom

Edited by Steven Mintz, University of Houston

  1. Introduction
  2. Historical Background
  3. Teaching Tragedy
  4. The Concept of Tragedy
  5. Religion
  6. Literature and Terror
  7. Alternatives to Violence
  8. Lesson Plans
  9. Chronologies
  10. Glossary
  11. Web Resources
  12. Essential Readings


Major Acts of Terrorism:


A student protester, Benno Ohnsesorg, is shot to death by German police, leading Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof, and Gudrun Ensslin to form the Red Army Faction in West Germany.


Britain's Prevention of Terrorism Act makes terrorist organizations illegal, allows extended detention of suspects without charge, and permits police to stop, arrest, and interrogate those thought to have terrorist links.


Ulrike Meinhof commits suicide in prison after several hostage takings fail to win her release.


The Red Army Faction kills a German federal prosecutor and a prominent banker and kidnaps a prominent industrialist. Four Palestinians working for the Red Army Faction hijack a planeload of German tourists leaving Majorca, who are freed after German commandos storm the plane in Somalia. Baader and two other RAF members commit suicide in prison.


The Red Army Faction assassinates a state economics minister in 1981.


The IRA bombs Harrods, London's famous department store.


A car bombing of U.S. embassy in Beirut results in 63 deaths, including 17 Americans.

A suicide Islamic Jihad truck bomber kills 241 U.S. marines sent to Beirut after Israeli-backed Falangist Lebanese militia massacred 1,500 Palestinians. 58 French paratroopers are also killed when Shiite suicide bombers blow up the French military headquarters in Beirut.

Explosion on an Air India flight over the Irish coast kills 329.

Explosion in a bus station in Sri Lanka kills 150.


The IRA bombs the hotel in Brighton where Britain's Conservative Party is holding its annual conference.

A car bomb at the U.S. Embassy annex in east Beirut kills 16 and injures the ambassador.


Palestinian terrorists kill wheelchair-bound American Leon Klinghoffer on the cruise ship Achille Lauro and throw his body overboard.

Shiite Muslim extremists seize a TWA airliner and force it to land in Beirut, Lebanon. A U.S. Navy diver is killed and 39 Americans are held captive until they are released two weeks later after Syrian mediation.


Hijackers seize an airliner with 358 people aboard at the Karachi, Pakistan, airport. Twenty are killed when security forces storm the plane.


270 people die when a bomb, attributed to Libyan agents, destroys Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Libya is blamed for bombing a UTA flight over Chad, killing 170.


Deutsche Bank's head is murdered by members of the Red Army Faction.


The Red Army Faction murders the head of the agency that privatized East German property after reunification.


An explosion in London's financial center kills one person and causes tens of millions of dollars in damage.

A truck bomb explodes in a parking garage below the World Trade Center in New York, killing six people and injuring more than 1,000.


The Aum Supreme Truth cult in Japan stages a sarin attack in Matsumoto, killing seven and injuring 591.

A bomb explodes in the Jewish Center in Buenos Aires, killing at least 96 people.


The Aum Supreme Truth cult in Japan releases deadly sarin gas into the Tokyo subway system, killing twelve and injuring more than 5,500.

Timothy McVeigh explodes a truck bomb outside the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people.

A bomb on a subway train in Paris kills 8 and injures 86, the first of eight bombings and attempted bombings blamed on Algerian Muslim extremists.

A car bomb at U.S. military headquarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, kills five American service personnel


A bombing of a train in Northeast India kills 300.

A hijacked Ethiopian airliners crashes into the sea off of the Comoros Islands, killing 125.

Four gunman attack a Sunni Muslim mosque in Pakistan, killing at least 21.

Two bombs explode on a commuter train in Colombo, Sri Lanka, killing at least 78 and injuring more than 450.

An IRA car bomb explodes at a shopping mall in Manchester, England, injuring over 200 people.

26 people are killed in a two Hamas attacks in Israel, including one near Jerusalem's central bus station.

An IRA bomb in London's Docklands area kills two and injures 100.

Up to 90 are killed in Colombo, Sri Lanka when a suicide bomber rams an explosive laden truck into the city's central bank.

A truck bomb explodes outside Khobar Towers military barracks in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, killing 19 American servicemen and wounding hundreds of others. Members of Hezbollah were indicted in the attack.

62 tourists are gunned down in Egypt.


Truck bombs destroy the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, killing 224 civilians and injuring over 5,000.

A car bomb in Omagh, Ireland kills 29. The Real IRA claims responsibility.


More than 50 people are killed by a bomb blast in a market in southern Russia.

A car bomb near the Chechen border explodes outside a Russian military housing block, killing 64 people.

A bomb destroys a Moscow apartment block, killing 94 and injuring more than 200.

Another bomb in Moscow destroys an 8-story apartment building, leaving 118 dead.

More than 110 are killed and 400 injured in a rocket attack in the Chechen capital Grozny.


Two suicide bombers in a rubber raft blow a hole in the U.S.S. Cole in Yemen, killing 17 sailors.

At least 45 people are killed when a bomb explodes on a ferry in the southern Philippines.


A Palestinian suicide bomber kills himself and 21 others at a Tel Aviv nightclub.

Fifteen people are killed and 90 wounded in a suicide bombing at a Jerusalem pizza parlor.

As many as 252 people are killed when UNITA rebels in Angola attack a passenger train.


8:45 a.m. American Airlines flight 11, carrying 92 people, crashes into the World Trade Center's north tower.

9:03 a.m. United Flight 175, carrying 65 people, crashes into the World Trade Center's south tower.

9:25 a.m. The Federal Aviation Agency grounds all commercial airliners.

9:40 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon.

9:48 a.m. The U.S. Capitol and the west wing of the White House are evacuated

9:50 a.m. The World Trade Center's south tower collapses.

10:00 a.m. United Flight 93, flying from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco, crashes 80 miles southeast of Pittsburgh.

The rest of the White House and other federal office buildings in Washington are evacuated.

10:29 a.m. The World Trade Center's north tower collapses.

Page 10: Glossary

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