Why Fighting Terrorism Creates It
A short history about what grows global terrorism, consequences and what can be done to reduce it.
One of the most essential things in life people crave for, after being safe, have shelter, food and water is being seen and feeling meaning to their existence. If this gets damaged, people get damaged. The anger of the terrorist (or crazy lone wolf for that matter) is fed by feeling not heard, not seen, not spoken too, treated with bias and prejudice by all those that not see him for what he also is; a human being that wants to contribute and feel meaning for his existence. The world seems deaf to his values. Being dead to too many, he needs to make himself heard, with a BANGG... and there’s people who prey on such people, to act for their interests.
I could have started with the murder that started World War I, where a radical, sick of the wealth and arrogance displayed by the elite, felt it necessary to murder one one of them, just to make the elite look at the plight of ordinary people. I could have started in the mountains of Afghanistan where Islamic rebels fought the Soviet invasion, backed with US dollars, to keep Communism within its iron curtain. I could start in many places, but one thing is for sure, denying people their voice and plights for too long is a bad idea. And meddling by outside forces clearly makes matters worse…
The story may start in the Middle East, it ends at home and shows how the rise of terrorism there, is busy creating new forms in the USA. And some hope about what really might help.
When Persia became Iran
Once upon a time there was a oppressing ruler called the Shah of Persia. He was shrouded in gold and Western Ideas of wealth, and mixed it with the heroic past of his country. And anyone protesting got into trouble, to say it lightly. It may even be that he was hardly aware; that those that protected his power, totally misused their positions for their own interests. Many people complained, but not enough did anything. The most hurt ones wondered what would make the people stand up to this ruler? And like rebels for a cause they looked for the rally cry that would unite the people against their oppressor.
Those that were fed up talked about it with their friends, often people who had similar world views. They wondered, “What is the rally cry that will make the people stand up to him?” Some people chose moderate ideas such as Socialism*. These Persian people hoped if only some slight changes would be made, their lives could return to normal. But the moderate cries were in vain and still many people got imprisoned for it. That was also because the ruler had backers, called the US corporates, who had invested in the country and saw their investment endangered by these Socialist ideas. Thus they spurned the ruler to crack down hard on these protesters. Socialism became thus a dangerous thing to believe in.
*) Before the War on Terrorism there was a Cold War against Communism. I know, too many Americans think Socialism, Communism, Marxism are all the same and all read Stalin. Truth is most European Countries are heavily influenced by socialist ideas, without becoming dictatorships. That’s why European healthcare is so much cheaper than American. ;) The size of government isn’t the issue. it’s its intention towards the people! A very small elite can create more suppression than a well willing larger government.
Now also others felt personally hurt by the oppressor, who lived like his regal wealth was the only value in the world. And that in a country were the most common values were Islamic. A group feeling that their deepest values were stepped on thus gave birth to Fundamentalist Islam in their country. Their rally cry really helped to unite the people. “We must go back to the values of Islam. Our leader steps on us with his Western ideas!” Backed by many other victims of the oppression such as socialists, intellectuals, some business people, they attacked and in the end forcefully removed the oppressor.
Here is the thing, why all moderate modern politicians lose to populists. Populists speak to the belly, the undercurrents, the fears. And they find the one easy thing people can identify with. No wonder a ‘soft’ populist like Bernie Sanders “all progressives of all colours and creeds unite, for a fairer system.” loses to an over the top populist like Trump, “All White Americans, who secretly feel there’s too many other colours and creeds that benefit from what we build up, unite!” Gathering sameness is easier than overcoming prejudice and inequality, especially when those committing it benefit from it. Hence also the enormous uphill struggle of women worldwide.
Once the oppressor was removed, the new regime started the country anew with a leader called Khomeini who now called Persia Iran. Because of the trauma’s begotten in the ordeal, the new regime copied some of the patterns of the former ruler. They too oppressed many people, firstly the ones who belonged to the former regime, or of whom they thought so. Even having a too Western life style, was deemed to be part of the former oppression, and even many innocents, or supporters of the coup such as socialists, had to flee the new regime. For in their self convinced righteous anger these fundamentalists believed everyone else just had wrong convictions. The world had to be organized according to their understanding of their most essential values, namely how they explained the Koran.
History is full of people who believe that only if we all believe that same thing, everything will turn out alright. Their ideas may vary quite a lot, ranging from Rome is best, Christianity, Communism, Nazism, Maoism, Islam, Capitalism, Neo-Liberalism, or even Sectarian Hippie cults. etc And this led to terrible regimes like that of Franco, Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, Spanish Inquisition, Crazy Emperors, South American dictators, etc, etc. And, yes people, Capitalism*! All these regimes trying to convince everyone with force, or more modern with overwhelming marketing, of that idea.
*) Capitalism, yes, fits in this list too. It may not be so visible yet, because those reading this probably benefit the most from it. But consider this: currently pollution kills more people than all wars, accidents, shootings and such combined. And many wars, slavery, women trafficking, etc happen because of it. You may say, “that’s only done by bad people among us”, then realize all other groups have some bad people among them too, but never all of them! Never! Read on, Capitalism also plays it role in this story.
A Victory for One is a Loss for Another.
At the same time these new leaders in Iran tried to quiet things down and hoped to restore peace their way. That at the least was their intention. Sadly the forceful removal didn’t sit right with the US corporates, the former backers of the Shah. They lost a lot of money, read access to oil and gas, because of the regime change. So with help of the CIA they tried again to find backers against the new regime. When they found too many within this country blindly supported the new regime, the US corporates started arming the neighbouring country Iraq. Their dictator Saddam did have some grudges against Iran and the regime leading it. This over time led to a very ugly war where the corporates backed the attackers, hoping to regain their lost interests in the country. Over a million people died because of it and the war ended in a stalemate.
Saddam, the dictator of the neighboring country, feeling he had the most powerful friends in the world started to believe himself flawless, or even a God*. So this Saddam became eventually even an enemy of his own backers. This too didn’t sit well with these outsiders, because of the interests they had in this country (oil). They just needed an excuse to remove him. And it so happened a great excuse was on it’s way..
*) This happens often to such leaders. When you’re surrounded by people of which nobody dares to oppose you; you start to believe you’re always right. Indeed: yes-men make their leaders go crazy. This happened to artist, dictators, emperors and small time bosses alike. If you enforce consent with your ideas, you end up going crazy. Perhaps the USA as a whole is going there now, after being too long the pinnacle to civilization, at the least in their own eyes.
A tiny few of radical men saw the danger of the might of these US corporates meddling in their region. Looking at the havoc these corporates created, they felt it was time to fight back. Hadn’t these outsiders meddled enough, always fighting the people who were true believers in their eyes? Hadn’t these outsiders always backed dictators? Since they were only a few, what could they do, against the whole of the mighty USA? See in their eyes, the US corporates and people were one and the same.
This mistake happens way too often by the way. North Koreans are more suffering from their leader, than helping him fighting the USA. Yet they all may suffer for his madness, (or suffer from the madness of the madman fearing their madman). A tiny few Jews are evil bankers. A tiny few of Muslims are terrorists. A tiny few of Black People are gangsters. A tiny few of White people are white supremacists. A tiny few of priests are pedophiles. But the farther away you look from, the more you think they’re all the same. Are all Italians mafia? I once was at a party with 10 Africans, of which none could drum. That killed an bias.
So for this tiny group of radicals anything was okay as long as it hurt the USA and woke them up to their inner evil. For this their leader Bin Laden turned to evil too and made 9/11 happen. We don’t know if he had his own backers, who spurned him on to do this. He may have had inside helpers, who needed the excuse. Who knows? We do know Saddam and Bin Laden had no dealings with each other at all, despite Bushes claims otherwise. Even the CIA said such.
When Victory Makes Matters Worse
9/11 made the normal people in the USA rage with fury, for they didn’t understand the attack. What had they done wrong? These terrorists must be enemies of the free world, they convinced themselves. Because their own media had always told them, their own US leaders were the face of civilization in the world. The public opinion in the USA had experienced the removal of the Shah as the end of civilization in Persia by a radical belief and the turn of the dictator Saddam against them as dictatorial madness. And thus the US corporates found their excuse to invade and remove the dictator to protect their interests in that country. They made many believe Saddam and Bin Laden were connected. After their successful invasion of Iraq and removal of Saddam, this country started to fall apart. The invaders* only thought of their own interests and didn’t see how centuries old tribal thinking within that country led to all kinds of open conflicts that had been suppressed by the former dictator.
*) The Americans tend to be quite childish and simplistic in their solutions. Must be all those super hero movies. How does one beat evil? Kill the bad guy with more force, than he brings. That’s a movie scenario. The reality of the Iraq war is that the ‘victor’ gets many traumatized soldiers home, and the US citizens are still paying of the costs of that war, to their own arms industry by the way. And ‘bad guy’ Iraq is now in a way worse condition, cities destroyed, economy broken and corruption rampant. The ‘victory’ created a breeding ground for more resentment, fanaticism, more violence and hurt. Same disaster happened, or is happening, in Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, Somalia. There are no clear endings in war, no deaths of bad guys that solve everything. It just doesn’t work that way! But it seems the USA only knows the “Bring more force next time, ‘solution’.”
By now many people in this region were traumatized by decades of war. War lords, ancient tribes, families with blood feuds, corrupt businessmen, fanatical believers, people just seeking revenge, armed private companies like Blackwater, people who had learned that use of power is okay to get what you want, all were fighting each other, in one or more ways. Since the invader was military too strong, angry people sought and found a way to strike at the enemy: terrorism. Car bombs, shootings, suicide missions, just anything that could dent the almighty invaders and or other tribes, beliefs, people to get back at.
Who takes up the sword, shall die by the sword. The ‘victory’ of the Islamic terrorists at 9/11 led to over a million dead in their own region, since the US (revenge?) invasion began in 2004. The ‘victory’ of the USA led to heightened tension all around the world, loss of prestige and good name. And since the ‘War on Terrorism’ began attacks have gone up tremendously. Talk about ‘effectiveness’. That’s because the deeper reasons are ignored, not discussed and not seen as valid. The USA too strongly believes they are the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ are out to get them. Their own meddling for corporate interests, their own paranoia and their own incapability to take any other belief than their version of Capitalism serious begets the violence they seek to avoid. As long as the USA blinds itself for people and belief systems it considers lesser, it will invoke anger among these peoples and belief systems. As long as USA citizens are convinced that Americans with suits and ties are civilized and men with beards and dresses are not, they will be blind to the barbarisms committed by their own military, intelligence services and corporate leaders. They’ll not be willing to even see the simple facts that not terrorists are not that at all, they’ll consider themselves defending their home against Western invaders. So does all the fighting help? Nor the terrorists, nor the West can win. They can only keep on hurting each other.
In almost all cases of world history, where both sides were stuck in stalemate, like the IRA and English in the eighties, or the Apartheid regime in South Africa, peace began when both sides were more willing to talk, than to endure further suffering on both sides. We should admit this ‘war on terrorism’ only knows losers, increases danger and losses for many, except the Arms industries and several other corporations.
The Rise of ISIS
Then some of these deeply traumatized people in the Middle East now found the one rally cry (their idea of true Islam) they believed would unite everyone, because almost everyone in that region was a Muslim. Yes, there it was back again, the one believe that if everyone just would obey that one, all would turn out fine. And if you don’t obey, we’ll make you. And hey, they too found rich backers (Saudi Arabia). Thus they formed a unity and took some land to start all over again. But mentally damaged by all the violence around them as they were, their reign (Isis) was very harsh and bitter. They were fully convinced this harshness would repel all the earthly infighting for money, revenge, etc. They hoped to unite everyone by cleaning up what had gone wrong before. They were blind to see that they were just a new party on the field, nastier than all the ones before.
They started growing fast, as a magnet for all those who felt spurned unjustly by the rest of the world. And soon enough they too threatened the interests of the oil lords. And once again the oil lords stepped in with violence and US army to squash this dangerous idea. But not to reach peace, no, just to protect their interests. Many many many of normal civilians in this region by now had either died, lost friends and family and or their way of living, or houses. Millions fled, to Europe, to the USA (which had done an awesome job of marketing itself as the land of opportunity and freedom) By far the most went to neighbouring countries, in the hope they could return soon back home. See, this is the thing, the huge huge majority of people don’t fight wars, they just want to live with friends and family and have a peaceful living. You may have seen the faces of those who died in Manchester in the papers, you haven’t seen the faces of school kids murdered in Pakistan, Syria, Nigeria, Afghanistan and all those other places. Their parents may look like terrorists to you, because of how they dress, but most are victims like those in the West.
The Isis take on Islam has now become the focal point for angry young (Islamic) people all over the world who feel not valued, treated with bias and scorn, and pushed out of the dominant society around them. The strategy of setting up mobile radical groups is currently investing Africa from the North downwards. At the same time the fear mongering against this rise of terrorism is just as bad. With corporate interests in the back of their heads the USA mainly helps their where their interests are endangered. They arms militant groups that may do anything with these guns, as long as the fight the ‘right’ people. Some Americans even believe the USA might turn into a Caliphate if they are not protected, blind to their own overwhelming power and culture, having a military spending bigger than the next six countries combined, including China, India, Pakistan, France etc.
The Spreading of Terrorism around the Globe
Because of these wars, refugee Muslims are now everywhere around the world building up new lives. Yet once again in every country they’ve settled in, a very tiny few feel their religion is under attack. Or they are too often seen and or treated as terrorists. Some may have innocent relatives that got killed by drones or air raids. And of all those who radicalize because of this, a tiny few do become a terrorist. And some of the Imams, who do the radicalizing, get their money from billionaire defenders of the faith. Strangely enough some of these (Saudi) billionaires are allies of the US corporates. Don’t ask me how that works. That these countries, or at the least their elites, are friends.
So here’s that problem again: many normal civilians see one Muslim for all. Safety measures guided by fears make people see terrorists (or gangsters, thieves, because of how you look for that matter) in people who are not. And it hurts to be seen as such, on a daily basis. Luckily many people, often progressive in their thinking, protect the ordinary Muslims, as more often they have been victim of violence, if not in their own country, than by prejudice in their new home country.
This soft treatment by progressives angers fearful, mostly white, civilians in these new home countries. They consider these progressives as idiots who let evil walk among them. They feel now done injustice and endangered. They are full of pictures of bombings done by terrorists, in the real news and in action movies. (Who ever saw any attacks done by the USA that killed around a million(!) innocent civilians in the Middle East on TV?) So these civilians feel threatened by outsiders that might take their life away, if not by explosions, than by working for less. And thus they feel they can do what they feel the other side has done to them. They too may resort to violence. And thus the white terrorist is born.
And the first he attacks are those flaky progressives that open the borders to the danger. And the White terrorist doesn’t see, just like the Isis people, he’ll be just one more group that has a solution that must be enforced with violence to stick. And his anger is fed, by feeling not heard, not seen, not spoken too, by bias and prejudice by all those that not see him for what he also is, a human being that wants to contribute and feel meaning for his existence. This too is how the sword you used to win, may stab yourself.
The hard thing is, Western Corporate Interests are threatened by these terrorist groups around the world. They have behaved as new Colonialists towards local conditions bribing, forcing rights and ownerships to themselves, often supporting dictators or even helping them in the saddle. And we let them. Most Western governments are their natural allies. It’s often the same men. And while Western hate groups rise, fingers keep pointing at the Middle Eastern hate groups. And moderate politicians don’t seem to care about the feelings of unrest in their midst. This makes this group feel ignored, one of the roots of extremism. The Western hate groups are themselves becoming what they fear, irrational punishers of all that which is other. They feel their fear is not listened too, nor seen as valid. Which, paradoxically it isn’t, because it’s all build on lies. Those that vote right winged, completely ignore the calming voices. Their underbellies tell them they are being lied too. And that is true. These self serving politicians and corporate CEO’s don’t dare to tell the real truth. Why? Because of their Corporate backers. This is the big thing: we too are guilty. We heavily invested and benefitted from the wars in the Middle East. It gave us our oil interests back. When we lost Iran we got the Iraqi oil back. We lost it and took it back by force. We paid then this group and then that group to fight others, that threatened our interests. Even Bin Laden once was backed by American capital, when fighting Communism. We cannot separate our behavior from the consequences it has elsewhere and stay blind how we help to create the mess. We can only ‘win’ if everyone ‘wins’. We can only heal when we understand they have a right to be angry, and we too are to blame. We can only heal when we open dialogue and accept and respect differences in belief, looks, race, culture. When we don’t won’t admit the harm we do, we’ll fester a cancer that will bite us one day. By now it should be clear it’s not the sword that can keep us safe. It’s not force, nor ‘a dominant better idea that all others should believe’. What keeps most people safe around the world is the willingness to live with and respect differences. In many cities many many Muslims, Christians, Jews, Atheists work together to keep the peace, to quiet angry voices, to prevent escalation. These are the true protectors of safety and civilization. Why aren’t they in the news? Because one guy that goes BANGG makes the ratings go up.