Why terrorism? Specifically, why the Muslim terrorism we see today?
To me, the most obvious answer is that alienation, trauma, and the way the west has treated the rest of the world for centuries = terrorism.
Alienation of Muslims in the west + individual and collective trauma (individual trauma from abuse, violence and poverty, and collective trauma from war, violence, poverty, authoritarianism ) + continued western military / economic / cultural imperialism = fear, anger, hurt, reactivity = radicalization and terrorism. It’s the perfect recipe. And to reduce and prevent terrorism, we need to change the elements of that equation.
Terrorism is a crime and needs to be treated as a crime. There is no question about that. I support that wholeheartedly.
It’s also obvious that war and (amazingly childish) retaliation doesn’t solve terrorism. It only fuels anger and resentment which in turn fuels further radicalization and terrorism. War is its own form of terrorism, and often has much more to do with control of natural resources and gaining a foothold in certain regions than dealing with terrorism.
It may seem that terrorism in this case has to do with religion, but to me that’s a lazy answer. Religion in itself is pretty neutral. It’s what we do with religion that matters. And what we do with it comes from our level of health or hurt. If we are deeply hurt, we may easily use religion or any other ideology to hurt others.
And who is to say that the way the west has treated the rest of the world isn’t terrorism? It has certainly terrorized people for centuries, and it continues today.
So what’s the answer? To me, it includes reducing alienation of non-westerners in western societies. Strengthen traditional cultures and self-reliance in cultures around the world. Reducing western cultural, economic and military influence around the world. Admitting openly to the trauma created from centuries of western imperialism and abuse. Healing trauma. Giving people a real opportunity for a good life.
- often done from fear, anger, hopelessness (often very understandable)
- individual trauma + collective trauma (a country, social group)
- can be seen as karma, cause and effect – mistreated people (and animals) tend to lash out (although often not at the same people)
- religion, ideologies etc. may plan a role, but the deeper reason is trauma and mistreatment