Today, March 22, 2016, terrorists in Belgium killed themselves and thirty other innocent civilians when they detonated bombs attached to themselves in the airport and subway of Brussels.
It is easy to say that terrorists are evil and that they should be brought to justice. But the question that needs to be asked, and that frankly has yet to be asked, is what is driving people to leave their families, leave their children, mothers, and husbands and wives, and decide to blow themselves up and kill others in doing so? What is the core of the problem?
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Is it easy to say it is Islam that is the problem and that there is something inherently violent in the religion, and that is the way news outlets have been framing terrorism for quite some time. But to believe that is to ignore the centuries that Muslim people lived in the Middle East and around the world in relative peace. To say Islam is the problem is the easy answer. Again and again we must ask why are people travelling hundreds of kilometres only to kill themselves and as many others as possible.
The response for decades to acts of terror has been to condemn it, call for action, and then start a military campaign against the organization responsible, or to initiate intense interrogations and investigations of neighbourhoods and communities. This time this should not be how we respond.
We must address the root cause of terrorism. Terrorism knows no religion, knows no race, sex, nationality, or belief system. All of humanity is culpable and it will take all of humanity to solve the problem.
As Robert F. Kennedy said when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot and killed, Senator Kennedy said, “…violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.”
The planet that we leave for our children and our grandchildren cannot be built on the mistakes and errors of today.