When our professor suggested that we write a blog on How to solve terrorism, I thought he was kidding. It is the world’s greatest problem and if a dozen of Humphrey Fellows could find a solution in a blog, we would really make it to the headlines.
But really, coming to think of it, and just listening to different kinds of perspectives from the fellows all over the world, it made me wonder. Is it even remotely solvable? Is it a muslim thing? Is it going to hit me eventually?
The U.S. Code of Federal Regulations defines terrorism as “the unlawful use of force and violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives”. The definition sounds reasonable but, in my opinion it is lacking one word. Fear. Terrorism creates fear and that is the most defining thing about it. Whether we are talking about the fear people feel after being struck, or just the unease walking through an airport. Or, we are talking about fear that young people that are being recruited must feel before the terrorist act.
These people and their fear is the most important thing that we need to tackle in a serious conversation on how to solve terrorism. I strongly believe that the key is education. Education that has to be provided by their own country and by their own people. Everything else could be understood merely as foreign interference. So, to sum it up, key to solving terrorism is not bans, it is not military action, it is not creating an ever deeper division between what we usually call the West and the middle East. It is in making sure that all people, young people, have access to free and just education which will empower them to be whatever they want to be. There is a strong reason to believe that fewer of them will decide to become terrorist then.