Josephus recorded acts of terrorism by the Jew's against the Romans -- the first known record of suicide attacks in my body of knowledge. An attacker would conceal a dagger, get close to the soldiers and kill one -- the other soldiers in proximity would then proceed to hack the assailant to bits (ergo the phrase 'suicide attack'). This was done to engender rage in the Israelis so they would join the resistance movement(s).
Of course, it wasn't terrorism that ended the Roman Empire though -- it was declining morality resulting in political incivility, over-confidence and over-extension abroad, and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government.
I like Jim's contribution re French imperialism and the Algiers war -- it touches directly on the main issue of what generates terrorism -- and that's having one's homeland occupied by a foreign power.
Ratleader's comment re: 'less-than' is also touching on the underlying anthropological motivation to the central issue as well.
There have been several threads regarding welfare vs. work, socialism vs. pure capitalism, etc.. and they have lacked in bringing out the expression of what really motivates people.
If people were motivated by money -- there would be no Rolls Royce, Cadillac, or Mercedes Benz. There would, instead, be fat savings accounts and certificates of deposits and people would be driving very inexpensive, energy efficient, no-frills vehicles -- if they owned a vehicle at all.
My daughter's high school is within walking distance of my house. The stadium there is lit up on many Friday evenings when there is a home game. It is full of students who are motivated to play football, cheer-lead, and play in marching bands with no remuneration at all, and in many cases not even a credit toward graduation. What motivates these students?
My son sits for hours (when I allow it) playing his gamecube building up points, acquiring skills and weapons and awards that are entirely useless outside that artificial universe. He fields calls from his friends while he does this who call mainly to either ask for advice about how to advance in the games they are playing or to brag to him about their own accomplishments.
People don't want drills -- they want holes. People don't want money -- they want what they can get with money (beyond the basic necessities of life -- sometimes even instead of )
It should be noted that the rioters in France are complaining because they can't get Jobs. They want jobs. They want to work -- they are not allowed... even though in France, as in almost all of Western Europe a human being is afforded the necessities of life including healthcare -- so what is it that is really pissing these people off?
If we look at the problem of Colonialism and the problem of 'less-than' -- we see the same basic motivator in human beings -- it is Status.
Take a look at the little microcosm Ron's created here -- what value do little stars by someone's screen name convey to anyone who is not a Pipster? What has happened in the past when people have felt they aren't getting the recognition some other's attain in the Open forum? Why do people want to keep poems on the top? Why have people started Net terrorism over 'cliques'?
In France, as in most of Europe -- there is a different paradigm for denoting status than even having a job though -- that's a more American trait. Here in America when we meet a new person we're most likely to ask that person 'What do you do?' or 'Where do you work?'. The more typical European inquiry would be 'Where are you from?'. Social mobility is not a tradition in Europe. One could attain all the money in the world and never change status.
So, it is in my opinion a correct assessment that this isn't a financial problem at the root cause.
This doesn't, however, make the point that social justice doesn't 'work' or that providing the basic necessities to all citizens is a bad idea -- it can, and will, under the right paradigms be a springboard to better competition and private enterprise -- another subject for another day -- and, besides that -- it's the civil way to behave.