Category Archives: Extremism

Terrorism Has One Definition

The slaughter that has become a staple in the Middle East continues. DAESH grabbing civilians as more grist for its horror-show mill, Yemen’s quiet disintegration that’s turned into a Biafra-like famine situation in places. Dozens killed in car-bomb attacks while innocents are at market.

Translation: Price Tag (:) Revenge of the JewsIn Israel, a well-regulated state, a lunatic kills one and injures five at a gay pride parade — and garners more attention than Yemen for days on end. And the tragedy of a terrorist attack near Bethlehem makes few waves in the Israeli regime, where terrorists are not just people committing acts of violence to instill fear. Just Arab ones. For all the protestations of Netanyahu and his cabinet, there’s a (not) surprising silence from his sycophants and supporters. After all, it’s Jews who were involved in the “price tag” attack. “Hilltop Youth” (whatever their ages up through their 40’s), those frolicking on the hilltops that Arabs don’t use anyway. It’s just kids. They’re a fringe. And the Left is an evil “Greater than Hitler” (at least, that’s what the photoshopped images present). It reminds me of a similar time of whipped up frenzy. One that ended with the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin by a nut-job who will probably rot in prison (while creating a huge family thanks to conjugal visits).

Back in America, the unmedicated masses made much hay of a yearly military exercise held across several states so the Army can train in real condition and over time and space. Politicians cynically whipped the frenzy up around the Jade Helm 15 exercise, resulting in the Texas Governor bringing Texas State Guard troops to “monitor” the Federal troops, just in case they’re going to invade the country.[more] When push comes to shove and citizens commit violent crimes against the government[1][2][3][4], however, they’re all treated to the same brand of justice.

The point: in functioning democracies the lunatic fringes, aided by freedom of speech, anoint the broadband with their nuttiness, and incite others to believe they’re right in violating the law. Violators of the law should be equitably punished no matter their race, color, religion, or any other factor. Israel loses credibility among its base throughout the work when it treats Jewish terrorists with kid gloves and acknowledging their justifications. Toss ’em in the same jails, use the same, broken judicial system to process them, and impose the rule of equal law.

Blame, Fear & DAESH

Symbionese Liberation Army Naga Symbol color.svgThe Middle East has never been a peaceful place. It’s been battled over since… well, probably since humans came to a lush, forested area with plenty of fish and animals and, in many places, amazing soil that grew a wide variety of plants. At the beginning there were lions to worry about, but over time we humans overcame — or at least mostly controlled — our environs.

Between the Greeks, Romans, Mamluks, Ottomans, European nation-states and then countries, the outside world has taken ruthless advantage the Middle East. Just as conquerors throughout human time and the world have done.

People talk about how how DAESH is the poisoned fruit of the West’s meddling. The wrongs of the infidel, and the sins of the apostate. The damn women. The sun. Money. The lack of money.

It’s all crap. Getting up in the morning and deciding it’s okay to kill someone, to rape someone, to expel someone from their home, in the name of a putative god is the individual sin of individuals. Weak? Sure, the temptation to take power and dispense violence is a strong one. Disempowered? Yep, no question many of those in ISIS’ thrall have not had their hands on the reigns of power much.

Yes, DAESH. And Al Qeda before it, and Puerto Rican FALN terrorists. And the Symbionese Liberation Army (whose seven-headed, supposedly fear-inducing flag is shown above). The current DAESH folks would probably not make the connection between their actions and that of the Hashishin — the Fedai — which Westerners know as “Assassins.” An entire sect known for their Fedaiyin, a name resurrected by Palestinians in the early 1950s as a way to justify their revenge attacks against civilian Jewish settlements in Israel. Just as Palestinians today are smeared with the brush of generations of terrorists among a people far more interested in social and economic stability than the blood of Jews on their hands.

Bravery in striking terror. The old bully idea that by making others suffer one feels better about oneself. And, as parents have said in America for decades, “this can only end in tears.”

What Al Qeda failed to learn, and what DAESH is just starting to learn, is that the United States, despite not acting with the posturing they expect from a “real” (read: testosterone-poisoned) opponent, is perfectly capable of waging a long, ongoing, targeted attack on DAESH. Showing compassion isn’t a weakness from the Western point of view. (It’s also not true, if one looks to the CIA prosecution of terrorists after 9/11.) For a calculated, unemotional, goal-oriented, disciplined military It’s not about the apocryphal “beheading the snake:” DAESH isn’t brainy enough to have one in one central location. The West learned how to systematically dismantle countries starting with the original defeat of the Moorish Empire, and hasn’t stopped learning since then. DAESH depends on money to pay it’s killers. Depends on bribes and payoffs to do business. There’s only so much they can squeeze from their increasingly poverished, mostly imprisoned “citizens.”

The Goebbels, the Mengeles, the Pol Pots and wannabe Serbian and Croatian murderers can only flourish when they’ve the power of Brown Shirts — mindless bullies — behind them. And Hitler got rid of his as soon as he had control of Germany. The DAESH murderers gleefully slaughtering innocents and torturing combatants in contradiction to every faith’s tenets will fall to the stones of the masses as soon as their puppet masters loose their strings. Which means, not to be cynical, paying their wage.

Yes, yes, this sounds like an angry screed. I rather think of this lighting a small fire to push back the dark. Fear must be met with truth, met with resolve and yes, met with force. They will rape. They will maim. They will kill. But ultimately DAESH will be not much more than the FALN in the larger scheme of personal and religious freedom and liberty. And while the Symbionese Liberation Army will live on mostly in its single successful media event — kidnapping and brain-washing the daughter of a rich newspaper publisher — DAESH will be relegated to the trashbin that will swallow the Khmer Rouge within the century: nothing will remain (especially not any edifices).

Caliphatonoma

CaptureDAESH has sent recruiters to Afghanistan. It urges attacks in its name, and claims what it can in Tunisia, Libya and elsewhere. Where is this caliphate DAESH is so passionate to build? In the middle of the desserts and cities of Iraq and Syria? The desserts of Libya? In the desserts and cities of Tunisia?

Cartography doesn’t seem to matter much to them: it’s a nation-state with no intended borders. It’s a state of mind. Of terror. The comparison between cancer and terrorism is almost trite, but the damage of DAESH, the organization that styles itself as ISIS, is similar to the disease that’s killed several of my friends, and assuredly will kill more.

Cancer are body cells gone insane. Islam, nationalism, tribal pride, ethnicity, culture: all these have an honored place in defining a people in a place and at a time. Like the top of the picture, these are large numbers of people living in (relative) harmony with one another. Those self-same components of cultural or ethnic identity, removed of reason or rational breadth become the death not only of those healthy around them and, ultimately, all culture, ethnicity, nationalism and even tribal identity. Where people stood, persons act out, displacing the normative for the insane. And where DAESH walks, all but the conquerors cower. And the conquerors can come from any nation, culture, or ethnicity — so long as they can spread the disease of fanatical, fatal extremism in the name of selfish, personal power over others.

They must have been very scared when they were children. I wonder what would these men be had they been raised with love, peace, acceptance and cultural and family identity?

Tunisia & The Homicidal ex-Boyfriend

domestic violenceIf I can’t have you, I’ll beat/kill you so no one can have you. This is the insane rationale of men who beat or kill their ex-girlfriends (real or imagined). (If you are in a situation like this, please click here to get help.)

DAESH thrives on fear and chaos, believing their “order” would be preferred to the horrors of random violence.

Tunisia, and all normatively functioning countries, have an invested interest in creating a diverse market of products and services to generate foreign currency: tourism, agriculture, manufacturing. Even if the country is totalitarian, the need for money and trade is critical. The Filipino government depends on foreign remittances from their citizens serving in household and other endeavors in countries around the world. The Mexican economy depends in many parts of the country on those selfsame remittances from illegal immigrants to the United States, sending home money to support their families.

Broken and failed states are only interested in their self-preservation, inhabitants be damned. North Korea exports cohorts of slaves from its prisons (where “crimes” are frequently manufactured, and entire families are sentenced for the purported sins of a single family member) to work in Middle Eastern countries as construction workers. DAESH steals and loots from people that have run from their terror, extorts money for passage into, on, and out of its controlled territory and sells oil to the open market. There’s no real commerce, no industry: there’s only money into DAESH’s bloody pockets.

Depriving a country of legitimate revenue, like killings tourists, gives DAESH and other “angry boyfriend” terrorists a venue to increase their power. For where there is no economy, no markets, high unemployment, fear and anger, DAESH, like a lethal fungus, can take root.

Sunshine (transparency) and cleanliness (rule of law, fairness) are the cure for these situations. But it’s up to governments and rulers to invest in their people, in their businesses and industries, and schools to keep the population involved and interested in keeping the empty hatred of DAESH and its ilk at bay.

 

 

Living Life in Color, Not the Black and White of Absolutism

حياة

DAESH lives in a crisp, black and white world: Semahat or Haram — allowed or forbidden. So do Neo-Nazis, apparently. Extremists see the world with few hues or shades outside their world view. Many things influence someone to reach that point, and intervening with that person, their family and their community is a proven way to disrupt this path. The BBC profiled Hayat this week: It’s an organization that works to intercede on behalf of friends or families of someone on the path to radicalization. (If you want to read a detailed of how their program works, here you here.)

Hayat is based directly on another very successful program in Germany called Exit, which has helped hundreds of people leave the neo-Nazi movement. According to Daniel Koehler, who runs the program, relief from family and neighborhood violence, exposure to moderate voices of religion (his group makes no attempt to change a person’s choice of belief) all combine to leach the fear and anger from a person, emotions that would otherwise send them down extremist — and violent — paths.

American interest in funding mental healthThis solution would never work in America today. Eliminating violence from the home and community requires investment is education, mental health and community-based solutions to violence. In the current extremist congresses in many states, money to do good is trumped by the need to build prisons and turn even minor criminals into sources of revenue at the local, county and state levels. And the levels of extremism for which Hayat was founded to defray is the same level in many right-wing political and religious groups firmly embedded in many American politicians at the state and federal levels.

Until Americans decide that “home improvement” is a worthwhile action, we’ll continue to empower the radicalization of our most disenfranchised citizenry.

The Caliphate of “V”

DAESH might be trying to carve a totalitarian, landlocked (in fact and intellectualism) space to call home. American extremists are no less rabid in using fearmongering to gather strength and constituents. The (obvious) difference is that here we have folks who own the media, and buy the politicians needed to advance our cause: no need for actual weapons (except to arm said constituents to assuage their fears). At the present time it looks as though they’re trying to carve out chunks of the American Southeast as their homeland, safe from concepts and realities clashing with their religion-warped world view.

I’d just bought a few boxes of Girl Scout cookies outside a bustling restaurant on a Friday night but stopped on my way home to chat with a mother trying to calm a baby clearly past the end of its tether. She glared at my box and asked if I knew that the Girl Scouts of America funded abortions. I decided she’d been radicalized by extremists and didn’t contest her insane claims. Which probably made her feel more correct, but I wouldn’t have changed her “mind” no matter how persuasive my rebuttal.

While V for Vendetta is a fictional story, it has all the subtlety of Orwell’s 1984 in its threat: religion plus fear equals control. And whatever lies need spreading to further the goal, it’s all in the name of god. The reality is that in America, just like in “V,” the powers that be might use religion as a tool, but the real goal is pure, controlling power.

One of the weapons used vigorously by both DAESH and their American extremist counterparts is the mentally ill. Sane, balanced people can become suicide bombers, suffused in their zealotry and firmly directed and aimed. But these are like cruise missiles: the bulk of suicide bombers are Katyusha rockets: unintelligent, unguided, but shoved in the approximate direction of the enemy. In America we have the social and medical capability to analyze a perpetrator, to determine whether her or his motives were sound. I argue that extremism (religious or not) is a kind of insanity, but that doesn’t mean a person is of diminished capacity. For every “Islamist” terrorist there are literally tens of millions of Muslims who define the norms of a healthy society. And for every American believing, for example, that killing doctors who perform abortions is part of a holy war, there are tens of millions of Christians that cringe at the thought that a person like that would be a member of their congregation. So yeah, they’re nuts: but the kind of nuts that’s inexcusable in societies with (even somewhat) functional governments.

They’re not that different, DAESH and the Koch brothers and their puppets in the media and behind pulpits: both want to create “perfect” societies in which the rulers make… (drum roll)… the rules. One uses a circus mirror of Islam, the other a similar mirror of Christianity, with the oxymoronic melding of Ayn Rand’s love of only oneself through Objectivism.

The take-away is that religious extremism locks a person’s world view into a monochromatic focus: it’s right or wrong. They’re in, they’re out. Eliminate — or be eliminated. At least in America the fighting[1] is sporadic[2] at the moment[3][4][5] (and mostly[6] non-violent). But it has a great potential for violence against those in any shade not white.

Boko Haram vs. ISIL

It’s odd: one might think that one Caliphate would be enough for the world. After all, who’s the Calif?

Are you Nigerian? Or are you Iraqi/Syrian/Iraqi?

If the former, kidnapping, in case you’re slow on reading the Qur’an, is forbidden. If the latter, kidnapping infidels and selling them for $1,000 a woman is ALSO HARAM!

In either case, I suggest (a) learning the text, and (b) stopping your sins against Islam as a way to cease your dishonoring Islam. As to repairing your honor, I’m afraid I’m not enough of a scholar to suggest options.