Like me, you are probably angry after the events in Boston. You want justice. You want someone to blame.
Perhaps the hardest thing to do is understand
the other point of view why these two young men did what they did.
I got some emails that were asking if I was trying to use this video as a way to excuse the recent Boston bombing. The video was about Iraq, what did it have to do with Boston?
When I watch that video, I see is a Professor of Sociology making the point that to understand someone you have to see things from their point of view. I suspect that the perspective of many people round the world towards America, especially Muslims, is not an especially favorable one.
Who knows about these two guys. It seems that they were not part of an organized terrorist group, time will tell. But they certainly lived in the milieu that millions of Muslims perceive every day. The video attempts to understand and describe what that perception might look and feel like. Many of its examples can be extrapolated beyond Iraq (or Chechnya).
Terrorism can never be stopped by dealing with its “how”. Ultimately, that leads to fear and restrictions on those being terrorized. It has to be dealt with by trying to understand the “why”, and that means governments and countries holding up a mirror to themselves and their actions at home and abroad.
I grew up with 20 years of IRA terrorism:
The IRA killed over 600 civilians. They certainly saw themselves as freedom fighters. The British (and American) governments saw them as terrorists. Yet many individuals in those countries supported the IRA’s actions. Take Peter King (who was later chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee):
“King was one of the most zealous American defenders of the militant IRA and its campaign to drive the British out of Northern Ireland. He argued that IRA violence was an inevitable response to British repression”
Ultimately the British and the IRA made peace.
To try to understand terrorism is NOT the same as condoning it. To try to understand a terrorists perspective and point of view is NOT to agree with or validate it. It IS, however, the first meaningful step on a path to try and stop it.
A war on terrorism will never work. Only a war on the causes of terrorism.