Monday, November 16, 2015

City of Lights

On Friday, there were coordinated attacks in Paris killing more than 100 people (, following attacks in Beirut killing more than 40 people on Thursday ( Apparently, ISIS has claimed responsibility for both these attacks, as they did for the apparent bombing of the Russian airliner (

These attacks show how we cannot simply say that the war is "over there," but must realize that we are at risk, no matter where we live or what we do. They seem to be to show us in the West that the war has come to us. But, the people continue to flee the war zones in the Middle East, since it is not safe to live there. They are making their choices with their feet, leaving the place that has been home for generations to try to make a life elsewhere. 

As I see what appears to be the spreading of war, I think back to my youth. and remember a slogan of the peace group, Another Mother for Peace, "War is not healthy for children and other living things." Especially with a "war on terrorism," I have difficulty understanding how war reduces terrorism and safeguards the population. Instead I see war as causing people to fight for their homeland. These people may be seen as heros or villians, depending on one's viewpoint.

Unfortutunately, terrorism is not easy to fight. It is a hydra. Cutting off one head simply allows another to take over. It even encourages others, since many feel suppressed. So we have seen one terrorist group after another. Each is worse than the last.

So what is the solution. I think it must be addressed at the base. Why is it that youth are disaffected? Why do they choose to join radical groups?  I would extrapolate from what I saw in the inner city. Youth are disaffected if they see no hope for the future. Then, they choose what they see as another path to success. Their anger can easily lead to violence. So, vulnerable youth  must be shown another path. They must be convinced that they can succeed and that their families can succeed.

Governments can't simply suppress, but must support the springs of hope. I think of the option given on Homeland of sending in not just soldiers, but also doctors and teachers.
The second option of more destruction is only cutting off a head of the hydra.

We need to change our strategy and address the causes. Or new heads will simply appear.


  1. An interesting article in the New York Times:

  2. Another article in The Guardian:

  3. I have also noticed the limited coverage of attacks in Mali and Nigeria recently. Yet, violence continues there, as well.