Let’s get one thing straight before we start. Terrorism is not new. It is not an Islamic issue. It is not an issue confined to the Middle East. It does, though, concern everyone and it impacts everyone. It is a part of human history and it will continue to come back, again and again, to haunt us until we can find a long-term solution
I by no means am an expert on solving terrorism, but I will make suggestions to think about. It is clear that making war on terrorist groups like ISIS, Al-Qaeda, The Baader-Meinhof Group in Germany in the 1970s, or the Irish Republican Army, does appease the public on the attacking side. We cheer when buildings are blown up, or when people, our enemies, are killed. But what this violence also does is reinforce the ‘Us vs. Them’ mentality, not only in ‘Us’ but also in ‘Them.’ The more we blow up buildings and fly drones to kill people the more hardened the terrorists become.
It is time for a fresh approach, perhaps for a multi-faceted global strategy.
There is, and most likely always will be a need for the use of weapons, but what ought to also be used is generosity towards those innocent civilians caught in the crosshairs. We need humanitarian relief to show the distressed people that while we want to kill terrorists we also want to help them, be they old, women, children, and all other innocent people who simply want out of life what everyone else does. That being a good education, a job, a family, love, compassion, and a good, long, and healthy life.
Let me be clear. Violence and military force is needed. The lives of brave men and women need to be put on the line so that future generations of people around the world can live in relative peace. People will die. Innocent people as well as guilty. But they will do so for a greater cause, that being a stable political order. But as the lives of women and men on both sides are taken, humanitarian relief should flow. Refugees should be accepted, and misunderstandings should be talked about rather than resorting to firing bullets back and forth, which, to be frank, does very little good when innocent lives are caught in the middle.
As President Woodrow Wilson said, “Interest does not tie nations together…But sympathy and understanding does unite them.”
It is such a simple thing to say, “Stop Terrorism,” but so difficult to accomplish.