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    Sunday, November 19, 2017

    When the money is always there for war but not for supporting education


    By Tamara Amalia 

    Suicide bombings in Beirut, terrorist bombings in Paris, cyberterrorism in Africa, people killed in Syria, and recently. we were sounded by sad news regarding bombings in Jakarta and Philippines. 

    As terrorism becomes one of the world’s biggest problems nowadays, it is important to understand and see the reason why terrorism happens before we eliminate it. Terrorism is an action that occurs when one party or group rises against the others. Terrorists bring a general climate of fear in a population, by using violent tactics in an effort to create political change hoping that the targeted people will soon agree with them and ultimately stand by their side – because they’ve got no better choices. 

    Some say terrorism could never be justified. Some of you who are reading this might strongly disagree. You may argue that terrorism is justified by their ambition to terrorize people. Believe it or not, in some parts of the world, some people assume that violence is sometimes the only answer when the voices go silent. 

    How about me? 
    There is no way that I can agree terrorism can be justified.  

    So how about Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, and Malcolm X who were considered terrorists (sort of) but people recognized their ambitions as an accomplishment? 
    Try to look from a different angle. Although they are considered terrorists, these three heroes are freedom fighters. 

    Nelson Mandela went against the government for equality. He spent all of his youth in prison and was only freed when his people gained their freedom. Let me be clear that Mandela was absolutely right about fighting racism, but wrong about resorting to terrorism. Same goes for Martin Luther King, who was part of a terrorist group called Umkhonto We Sizwe, and was fighting for multiculturalism. This also applies to Malcolm X - his idea of resorting to violent tactics and methods had one purpose, namely to bring about a political change (for the better). 

    But look at what is happening now. There’s a difference between fighting for your country / your own rights and terrorism. Freedom fighters fight for freedom while terrorists terrorize. Unfortunately, many times, terrorist attacks fall upon innocent victims who do not represent the majority of the country. Terrorism in current history almost always means that innocent children are killed. They consider themselves revolutionists/freedom fighters, fighting for their rights, freedom, and religion but under no circumstances is killing innocent people morally right. 

    How can we stop terrorism then? 

    When it comes to solutions, I believe there is no step-by-step, one-size-fits-all solution. As a young person who is supposed to represent the next generation, I recommend that we start with a small step by educating people around us about radicalism and terrorism, and why they should stop. 

    It would be easier to eliminate terrorism (and other attacks too) if every educational institute tackled this subject. Just a small long-term idea: I used to imagine that if schools / institutes brought back the value of life to their students, perhaps the world would be in a much better shape. 

    Bringing back the true definition of intercultural and moral lessons would help them face diversity in a very positive way. Furthermore, instead of just explaining what’s right and what’s wrong let them experience what intercultural / interfaith / any other differences are. 

    For example, there are a lot of interfaith camps out there that enable both kids and adults to learn about the opposite of their religion in a good way. Why don’t school / institutes send their students to attend these camps at least once a year, and make this an academic requirement? Moslem students can learn about Christian, Hindu, and others. Students from Asian families can learn about living in a Western or Middle-East family, and so on and so forth. Hopefully, when they come back from camp, they’ll have a more correct image of what diversity stands for. It’s likely that they will remember it for the rest of their lives or longer than just the teaching-learning experience they receive in class – because they actually get to experience it. 

    As for the government, by improving law enforcement, sharing information and data from intelligence services, and controlling border areas effectively, they might reduce the rate of terrorist attack as well. It is clear that a more coordinated approach is necessary in order to lead an efficient fight against terrorism. Only when these dimensions are addressed properly, can the prevention of terrorism strengthened substantially.

    But hey, I know this is not as easy as that – theory is easier than practice. I’m not someone who is part of government bodies, nor do I work in any government-related institutes. I’m just an ordinary human being with no control over the bigger picture. 

    But look again –It doesn’t mean there’s no control at all. Frankly speaking, I do feel it is quite unrealistic to eliminate all terrorism in the world. Terrorists have existed since Biblical times. There will always be criminals - people who kill innocent victims or attack and bring pressure on government to change its policies. But meanwhile, the goal of considerably reducing the threat of terrorism is definitely realistic. Just imagine - if all of us shared the same vision, mission, and held hands together to eliminate terrorism, it wouldn’t be impossible to have stronger voices and become more powerful than the government. 

    Violence solves nothing. Teach, educate, empower instead. The impact this can have might amaze you. 

    Tamara Amalia, IYF Assistant Regional Director, Asia & Pacific

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