"Excuse me for taking my time, but I'm a living archive, and most people at my level are dead." - Carlos the Jackal
The history of terrorism as a self-appointed profession can be traced back to the dawn of the human community, and each era claims its own class of celebrities. However, it was the 20th century in which individual terrorists first gained access to the type of advanced weaponry that could cause mass killings and destroy major public institutions. In the modern age, entire communities and countries can be held hostage to demands based upon the threat of personal or state violence, and playing upon mankind's greatest fears has risen to a new level of creativity as cultures, religions, and governmental ideologies square off in an ever-shrinking globe.
From the early 1970s through the following two decades, the cult star of worldwide terrorism was Ilich Ramirez Sanchez of Venezuela, better known to the world as Carlos the Jackal. Sanchez, the most notorious of terrorists in the late 20th century before Osama bin Laden's destructive 9/11 attacks, was born on October 12, 1949, in the years following the most global example of state terrorism in the form of Nazi Germany. Sanchez was known to virtually every European and American who read the news between 1970 and 1990, but it was his moniker, Carlos the Jackal, that signified his status as a household word.
During Sanchez' reign as what has been called, "the first super terrorist", the world found it unthinkable that any future attack on society could outdo his spectacular raids on Western targets, specifically European ones.
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