- Date published:
12:21 pm, May 26th, 2017 - 133 comments
Categories: International, political alternatives, political education, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: causes, reaction, terrorism
A thought provoking piece in today’s Guardian from Arwa Mahdawi that is absolutely worth the two minutes of your time it would take to read in its entirety. It begins…
There are lots of ways to be a disaffected, disenfranchised young man. You can spout anonymous abuse online. You can shoot up a school. You can bomb abortion clinics in the name of being pro-life. You can kill black people peacefully praying at church, in the name of white supremacy. You can murder teenagers singing joyfully along at a pop concert, in the name of Isis and Allah.
What you are called, when you do those things, varies. Sometimes you’re a criminal. Sometimes you’re a terrorist. Sometimes you’re a mental health statistic. How you are treated, when you do those things, varies…
The piece goes on to touch on killings motivated by notions of white supremacy before focusing on the case of Devon Arthurs, a white supremacist turned Muslim who allegedly stabbed his white supremacist flatmates because they were planning terrorist attacks. The prevalence of attacks in the US that are motivated by notions of white supremacy, and the lack of money, policy and training geared towards confronting it, is looked at before the piece concludes…
Arthurs is a timely reminder that the road to extremist violence can take many paths but it often starts from the same place: notions of threatened masculinity and feelings of worthlessness and humiliation.
Arthur’s metamorphosis from a neo-Nazi to an Islamist should remind us to eschew the narrative of a Clash of Civilizations that is often pressed on us and, instead, interrogate more universal sources of anger.
The interplay of many socio/economic and psychological factors can result in vulnerabilities that can then be exploited to create a fanatic. Who is exploiting, or in what name the exploitation is occurring, is somewhat incidental when placed alongside those underlying factors. Surely then, our focus as a society ought to be on eradicating the conditions that enable fanaticism, and ceasing any actions that might be pushing any of those underlying conditions in a negative direction.
As a footnote, I’m somewhat heartened by some of the more spontaneous, people centred reactions that are being reported in the aftermath of the Manchester Arena bombing. Maybe someone needs to tell those in authority that the sun may well be setting on their day of hate and fear.