Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Alternatives to Terrorism

By 90X Double Side in Culture
Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 10:05:53 AM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)

It is inevitable that there will be conflict in our world. Do we offer any hope to those people who seek to resolve their conflicts in a non-violent manner? If we did this more, would we see less violent protest (i.e. terrorism)? This is not another attempt to place the fault of terrorism on anyone but terrorists, but an attempt to look at ways to reduce terrorism, and violent resolution of conflicts in general.

I have long felt concern, particularly after hearing news after September 11th about how some states might try to use the global anti-terrorism movement to crush peaceful opposition, that at the same time that we do everything we can to stop people who would seek to solve their problems with violence, it would be wrong to not also try to provide more opportunity for people to resolve disputes non-violently. This very topic was discussed in His Holiness The Dalai Lama's annual speech for Tibetan Uprising Day yesterday, the full text of which is available here. Pertaining specifically to this topic, he said:

"The world is greatly concerned with the problem of terrorism as a consequence of September 11. Internationally, the majority of the governments are in agreement that there is an urgent need for joint efforts to combat terrorism, and a series of measures have been adopted.

"Unfortunately, the present measures lack a long-term and comprehensive approach to deal with the root causes of terrorism. What is required is a well-thought-out, long-term strategy to promote globally a political culture of non-violence and dialogue. The international community must assume a responsibility to give strong and effective support to non-violent movements committed to peaceful changes. Otherwise, it will be seen as hypocrisy to condemn and combat those who have risen in anger and despair but to continue to ignore those who have consistently espoused restraint and dialogue as a constructive alternative to violence.

"We must draw lessons from the experiences we gained. If we look back at the last century, the most devastating cause of human suffering has been the culture of violence in resolving differences and conflicts. The challenge before us, therefore, is to make this new 21st century a century of dialogue when conflicts are resolved non-violently.

"In human societies there will always be differences of opinions and interests. However, the reality today is that we are all inter-dependent and have to co-exist with one another on this small planet. As a result, the only sensible and intelligent way to resolving differences and clash of interests today, whether between individuals, communities or nations, is through dialogue in the spirit of compromise and reconciliation. We need to research, develop and teach this spirit of non-violence and invest in these efforts as much resources as we do for military defence."

While many believe that complete non-violence is impossible, to what extent do we make non-violence less of an option by doing less about issues that are not brought to our attention by violence, and in what ways could our governments follow the advice to, "research, develop and teach this spirit of non-violence and invest in these efforts as much resources as we do for military defence"?


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


Related Links
o Tibetan Uprising Day
o available here
o Also by 90X Double Side

Display: Sort:
Alternatives to Terrorism | 84 comments (61 topical, 23 editorial, 1 hidden)
Terror == Exposure (4.69 / 13) (#1)
by jabber on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 02:59:27 PM EST

That's the problem, and the other motivating factor behind terrorism, I think. The first factor is, of course, terror - bringing the war into the daily lives of the civilians.

The only constructive alternative to terror would have to guarantee the same level of exposure to whatever points of view now represent themselves through the application of terror.

Would we take the time to listen to the plight of the Palestinians, if things didn't explode?

Would we know anything about the IRA if things didn't go boom? By comparison to Northern Ireland, how is Nepal doing? Anyone know?

Would we even know that Tokyo has a subway, if it were not for the nerve gas?

Would Ralph Nader get more people to think about Nuclear safety by rigging a reactor in Palo Alto than by simply issuing a press conference?

Was the anti-WTO 'terrorism' in Seatle as significant and educational to the causes involved as the WTC bombing?

There are alternatives to terror, certainly. There is civil disobedience and peaceful resistance. But that approach doesn't really get in people's face as effectively as shrapnel.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Terror + Exposure == More Terror (4.66 / 9) (#8)
by ikeaboy on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 03:48:21 PM EST

Exposure is great if it is the right kind. The problem is that terrorism for a cause ultimately destroys the cause. Causes for tolerance and freedom are ultimately incompatible with terror and violence. As is frequently the case -- How you achieve something is as important as what you achieve.

Terrorism may start as an exposure exercise, but in most cases it rapidly degenerates into a cycle reciprocal violence. As some of your examples demonstrate; This is a cycle that is easy to create and nearly impossible to break. Newton's third law; every action has an opposite reaction. Although in this case there is the propensity to escalate rather and equalise.

Certainly people like Gandhi have shown the non-violence is a powerful force. I think the scenes from Tiananmen Square in China were (for me) more powerful than any other terrorist bombing I have seen or heard.

[ Parent ]
ultimately destroys the cause (4.00 / 2) (#45)
by FredBloggs on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 07:00:44 AM EST

No it doesnt. Get enough peoples attention focused and the problem can become easier to solve. Northern Ireland looks pretty close to being solved - the WTC events have focused attention on Israel/Palestine more efficiently that many hijackings of the 70`s. Problems, like bugs in software, dont just go away.

[ Parent ]
Don't tell me.... (3.50 / 4) (#38)
by FuriousXGeorge on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 12:20:38 AM EST

That if OBL had organized 1,000 men to sit in a square in a hunger strike he would not get attention. Something of that magnitude would surely draw the media. The problem with terroism is not the the west is unwilling to listen. We do listen.

The problem of course, is that the west may listen to a message that says, "you must convert to islam," but they will not agree to do so just on the basis of peacefull protest.

The terrorism of 9/11 is equivalent to a child throwing a temper tantrum because they don't get what they want, the only diffrence is the scale.

[ Parent ]
No he wouldn't have (4.00 / 3) (#49)
by linca on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 08:39:03 AM EST

Really. Non-violent manifestations do not get exposure from the media. Do you know what happened in Turkey's jails last year?

[ Parent ]
No what? (none / 0) (#54)
by Anonymous American on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 12:13:42 PM EST

What happened in Turkeys jails last year? It's a good point but I would mod it much higher if you provide the example you are refering too.

[ Parent ]
Hunger strikes (5.00 / 1) (#67)
by free779 on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 05:15:58 PM EST

Hundreds of left-wing prisoners staged lengthy hunger strikes protesting the construction of new jails. In some cases it released them, but let many of them simply suffer.

[ Parent ]
Last year (3.00 / 1) (#68)
by linca on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 05:18:01 PM EST

Last Year or sometimes about it, a few hundred prisoners in Turkey's jails went on hunger strikes about their condition (remember Midnight express?). But you haven't heard about it. That's quite my point.

Would you hear about a thousand people going on hunger strike in some middle east country? even if it was remotely about america?

[ Parent ]
Humbug. (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by opendna on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:55:40 PM EST

"The terrorism of 9/11 is equivalent to a child throwing a temper tantrum because they don't get what they want, the only diffrence is the scale."

Wow. That's almost as inane as "they hate us because we love freedom" or "they're evil".

I've got another one for you:

OBL has/had a tribal value system that put a premium on honor and loyalty. When the US refused to withdraw from Saudi Arabia after the Gulf War (as per our promise) he felt lied to and betrayed by an ally. His tribal value system required revenge for the insult: 9/11 sufficed. He's the "serpent with a long memory" living by the same rules (honor & loyalty) Western culture understood three hundred years ago.

[ Parent ]

Well... (none / 0) (#79)
by FuriousXGeorge on Thu Mar 14, 2002 at 01:09:23 AM EST

<<OBL has/had a tribal value system that put a premium on honor and loyalty.>>

I guess that depends on your definition of loyalty.

[ Parent ]
Right motivation, wrong reason... (none / 0) (#84)
by Sanction on Fri Apr 05, 2002 at 08:33:17 PM EST

Actually, I recall that it was because he offered Saudi Arabia his army when they were afraid of Iraq, and they refused, calling the United States instead. He felt betrayed by an ally, especially under Islamic values, and required revenge for the insult of them asking, and the US accepting. The US could not "refuse to withdraw", Saudi Arabia has wished US forces to stay, either to deter attack by its neighbors, or as a threat against popular revolt against its tyrannical government.

Wow, This is the most amazing loaf of bread I've ever owned!
[ Parent ]
you didn't listen the message (none / 0) (#78)
by svampa on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 05:31:47 PM EST

the underlying message was:

Get out from the holy land of Saudi Arabia.
Stop supporting Israel.

[ Parent ]
Hugs (3.10 / 10) (#3)
by President Steve Elvis America on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 03:00:51 PM EST

As I demanded in the diary section earlier today we should give everyone else in the world hugs. This will solve many of the issues that lead to terrorism. I would like to see Colin Powell and Usama Bin Laden giving each other a big hug. That would be a great picture to see on the news. Perhaps they can cry in each other's arms as well. It would be a very touching moment.


Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America

Clever, very, very clever ;) (none / 0) (#28)
by Shovas on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 08:37:20 PM EST

What seems to have been an ultra sarcastic comment towards the intent of story has received a 4+ rating over 6 votes. It is seldom that one can craft such an insult and receive praise instead. Impressive trolling.
Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
Disagree? Post. Don't mod.
[ Parent ]
Aber natu:rlich (1.00 / 2) (#51)
by axxeman on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 10:03:29 AM EST

He *is* a versatile little fucker.


Not yet. Don't come before we have finished humping...
[ Parent ]

Partially right (4.00 / 11) (#5)
by Torgos Pizza on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 03:27:15 PM EST

I really like the Dalai Lama. I really do. But he's partially mistaken on this issue. In most cases, when you deal with rational human beings, dialogue is the way to go. The current round of tit-for-tat violence in Israel demonstrated that pretty well. I think that both sides are preparing themselves to sit down at the table again. I also think that he is correct that you have to fill the void left over from conflict with something constructive. I think this is what he is referring to in his statement about investing in the spirit non-violence.

However, when you have religious fundamentalists committing acts in the name of their God, talking isn't going to solve much. Why talk when you feel you've got God on your side? Be it bombing abortion clinics or running airplanes into buildings, these people are convinced this is what God or Allah or Elvis told them to do.

In some cases, violence is necessary to deal with certain groups or individuals. A group like al Qaeda isn't just going to stop and negotiate. In my opinion, you have to defend yourself by taking these guys out. How does the Dalai Lama propose to solve this problem without violence?

I intend to live forever, or die trying.

true but. (4.20 / 5) (#7)
by cicero on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 03:48:19 PM EST

(i wonder how many comments I've started like that...not important)
However, when you have religious fundamentalists committing acts in the name of their God, talking isn't going to solve much.
this is true, but I think the point that the dali lama is trying to make is that, with dialog, it's possible to stop most people from reaching the point where dialog is impossible. Picture a disease, like cancer say; left untreated, it will kill you. But, if discovered early enough, it can be treated, and potentially removed.

that's all for now.

I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
Afghanistan (4.60 / 5) (#12)
by ikeaboy on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 04:31:24 PM EST

Similarly, violence will also do very little to stop those who have such firm beliefs. That is besides total destruction, which is ultimately impossible.

Actions such as those in Afghanistan may have knocked the Taliban out of power. However, who knows how many previously uninvolved people have been given legitimate reasons to abhor the United States (i.e. Had violence visited upon them for no reason of their own). More fuel to a raging fire.

[ Parent ]
Possible conclusions (5.00 / 3) (#15)
by Torgos Pizza on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 05:21:05 PM EST

Therein lies an enigma. To have peace, you must either have a mutual compromise or have one side submit. When you get two groups unwilling to compromise eventually a conflict will occur with some sort of resolution.

I'm fairly convinced in regard to the Middle East that only a temporary peace can be achieved. Perhaps it might last 10, 20 or a hundred years. But these two religions as they are today, cannot coexist peacefully based on their core beliefs. Both seek to claim the birthright of Abraham in which there can be only one heir.

As far as I can see, there are only a few ways that this can ultimately end up:

    1. Jews and Muslims learn to co-exist with periodic flareups.
    2. War breaks out. Jewish Messiah comes to save the day.
    3. War breaks out. Allah dishes out final judgment on all and Muslims win.
    4. War breaks out. Christ's Second Coming occurs. Bad day for non-believers.
    5. Mutual anniliation occurs showing the Bhudda may have had something there.
I'm sure I've missed one or two (which the k5 community will fill in) but in my mind, I'm only seeing temporary solutions to peace before one sides finally gets rid of the other.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]
Actually there is a sixth possibility. (4.00 / 1) (#58)
by Anonymous American on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 12:44:17 PM EST

6. Peace is maintained for 20 years. At the end of twenty years both cultures have changed. The original conflict is no longer so important, and old wounds have been given time to heal.

Lasting peace is a possibility, because cultures change. The Christian religion started out as a fierce religion with blood sacrafice and the righteous slaying of the enemies of the lord. Now it has evolved into a peaceful religion for the most part. It is not the only religion to soften it's hard line beliefs.

[ Parent ]
After 20 years (none / 0) (#72)
by PresJPolk on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:21:52 AM EST

Right, the cultures will change in the next 20 years in the ways that they haven't in the last 50.

[ Parent ]
possible conclusions (3.25 / 4) (#59)
by rdskutter on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 12:53:54 PM EST

6. America stops using its "Oh we are so right" attitude and stops doing things which piss off people in other countries.

6b. America reviews it foreign policy and does not involve itself where not wanted.

[ Parent ]
What about non-military action? (4.50 / 4) (#26)
by DrJohnEvans on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 07:49:12 PM EST

However, when you have religious fundamentalists committing acts in the name of their God, talking isn't going to solve much.
What about considering the funamentalist group's motives? For instance, bin Laden's primary beef with the United States is the presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia; the troops that keep oil prices somewhat steady so U.S. consumers can keep filling up their Ford Excursions. Oh, wait, we can't do that, because that would be giving in to the terrorists... much better to destroy innocent lives in our attempt to destroy terrorism.

Now, I'm not suggesting that we do everything the terrorists say. And yes, I realize that certain fanatics will not rest until every demand of theirs is granted. However, if a few major steps were taken to try and mollify some offending points-- such as the reduction in the number of U.S. troops stationed in Saudi Arabia-- the "terrorist forces" would lose a lot of support. There wouldn't be as many grunts willing to fly the planes into the buildings.

It'd be a start.

[ Parent ]

The core issues (3.83 / 6) (#6)
by Maclir on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 03:48:05 PM EST

Well, it would be great to have a world with no violence, no terrorism, no war. What would be done about some of the seemingly intractable issues that lead to terrorism? For example, Northern Ireland has been mentioned. The prodestant (royalist) groups in Northern Ireland want to remain an integral part of the UK, while the catholic (republican) groups want to be (re)united with the rest of the Republic or Ireland. These are mutually exclusive outcomes. Same with the Middle East situation. The more extreme people in Israel want nothing less that a true Jewish state occupying all of the historic "holy lands". At the other end of the scale, palestinian groups want all of the teritory that was theirs prior to 1967 (or 1948) restored to a soverign nation of Palestine. There are, of course, many other examples. Sadly, terrorism is just one method for one (or both) sides in such intractible disputes to try to force their outcome. I suspect what today we call terrorist has been in existance for as long as different groups of people have been in dispute.

Star Trek meathod (3.16 / 12) (#9)
by hardburn on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 04:01:43 PM EST

Get a few big computers to run war simulations. They do battles within their CPUs, figuring out which soldiers live or die. Those who die have to show up for execution, but other than that, people can live their lives without bullets flying over their heads.

Then some nice people in a starship wearing pajamas will show up and tell us how we're a bunch of bleeding morons and put a stop to the insanity. Then we can learn to actually be nice to each other for a change.

while($story = K5::Story->new()) { $story->vote(-1) if($story->section() == $POLITICS); }

Hmmm (none / 0) (#73)
by PresJPolk on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:23:26 AM EST

More likely is that someone will call for a General Order 12 first.

Was it 12 or 14? Not sure.

[ Parent ]
Two steps (4.37 / 8) (#11)
by dennis on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 04:26:17 PM EST

If you want people to replace violence with talk, you have to first let them talk, then convince them that talk will be more effective than violence.

On the first step, the more we make it easy for people to publish their views and get a wide audience, the less they'll be frustrated and want to bomb somebody. Free speech is critical to a peaceful society.

The second step is a lot harder, because it means taking these people's views into account when we make policy. There's no chance we'll do that with Al Qaida (nor should we), but it's worth thinking about for all the other pissed-off groups in the world. "Don't bomb us, we'll listen to you - bomb us, we'll stop listening and do our best to kill you."

But that does mean we can't just run roughshod over anyone when it suits our interests. Thinking like an empire will continue to cause us trouble.

Terrorism and Human Nature (3.33 / 6) (#14)
by WombatControl on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 04:51:07 PM EST

The fact is, violence and evil are part of human nature. As long as humanity exists, so too shall violence. Christians say that it is due to man's fallen nature from original sin, Hobbes says that it's just the state of nature, other say that evil is a force unto itself. I don't know which one of those theories, if any, are correct.

However, since evil does exist (as anyone who watched 9/11 last night can attest), evil must be opposed. If someone is going to try and kill me, I have every right to preserve my life. If al-Qaeda wishes to crash aircraft into buildings, than the United States has every right to protect itself. If Palestinians wish to blow themselves up in crowded cafes, then Israels should have the right to stop them. What the appropriate response is makes for a much deeper question.

St. Thomas Aquinas has one of the better guides to what constitutes "just war.". In essence, wars which are based on the need to protect freedom, are waged only against soldiers, and are appropriate responses to provokation can be said to be just. (OK, so I'm simplifying things considerably, but that's the gist of Aquinas' just war theory.) The means and ends of war are always changing relative to time and circumstance, but the core of war and its aims remain the same.

In the end, looking for "alternatives" to war is a futile search. The nature of war is fused with the nature of humankind. As long as there is evil there must be war to oppose it. Because human nature doesn't change much, if at all, the need for war will never really go away.

I offer (2.00 / 1) (#16)
by medham on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 05:27:35 PM EST

This as evidence to those who questioned my elementary linking of thought and violence in the resentful hobbit thread.

Ask those Edmonton Thomists what they think of violence in their Polish god's name.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.
[ Parent ]

Nonsense (4.50 / 8) (#19)
by snowlion on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 05:47:37 PM EST

There are reasons why there are multiple sizable guerrila forces in Colombia, but not in the US.

The reason is that in the US, if you want to make a change, there are several things you can do- you can speak, write, organize people, form a political party, etc. etc.,.

In Colombia, if you do any of these things, you'll get shot or hacked to pieces with a machetti, and your body parts deposited on your families doorstep. To speak frankly. So if you want to be an activist in Colombia, the first thing you have to do is pick up a gun. It's just rational in that environment.

Human nature is the same in Colombia as it is here. We just allow for alternatives to violence here. In Colombia, there ARE no alternatives, save being a willing slave to a criminal system, or matyrdom.

Map Your Thoughts
[ Parent ]
Part of the problem (4.50 / 14) (#17)
by aphrael on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 05:34:51 PM EST

some states might try to use the global anti-terrorism movement to crush peaceful opposition

Part of the problem here is that the states which are leading the anti-terrorism movement are profoundly status-quo powers; the world order is arranged more or less to their liking, and they are resistant to any change in it.

This makes it easy to demonize any movement calling for serious political change in any country except for the small handful which are outside the world political system (north korea, for example); serious political change will result in damage to somebody's interests. The people whose interests will be damaged have some influence on the system; the major actors in the system will attempt to prevent the change so as to prevent the damage to those interests, regardless of what the political rhetoric of those actors are.

Huh? (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by wji on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 07:28:48 PM EST

What "anti-terrorism" movement? There's no anti-terrorism movement. If there was an anti-terrorism movement they'd be turning over John Negroponte to the International Criminal Court, not appointing him UN ambassador.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]
*laugh* (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by aphrael on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 02:50:20 PM EST

You're missing the point and taking the words of politicians too seriously. :)

What is terrorism? Terrorism is either random violence or political violence which (a) injures people living in a select set of powerful countries; (b) injures the economic interests of those in the wealthy countries; or (c) threatens to have a destabilizing effect on the strategic system.

This can be clearly seen by the reaction in the west to chechen political violence. Prior to 9/11, claims by the Russians that this was terrorism (which it was, in their eyes) were disparaged in the west; it didn't do any of the above three. After 9/11, it was important to have Russian political support, so the chechens became terrorists in the eyes of western policy makers (a more pleasant spin on it would be to say that the western powers, after 9/11, understood how chechen political violence could threaten to have a destabilizing effect on the strategic system, and so therefore it became "terrorism").

The trouble with calling Negroponte, etc, terrorists is that, no matter how much you disagree with the central american policies of the Reagan administration, they did *not* do any of the three above. From the perspective of the populations of the countries which were terrorized by them, they were "terrorist"; from the perspective of the population of the major powers, they weren't --- and in international geopolitics, the latter matter and the former don't.

I'm not saying that this is morally right. It's just the way the international system works.

[ Parent ]

War/Terrorism (3.92 / 13) (#27)
by nr0mx on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 08:23:25 PM EST

I view war as state-sponsored terrorism.

I know the definitions of war and terrorism do not sound similar on the surface. But the murkiness surfaces when you consider those who are fighting to attain statehood. The other side is obviously less than willing to acknowledge any 'war-like' privileges to the 'freedom-fighters', since it would be an implicit acknowledgement of statehood. In this case, what is 'terrorism' now, gets redefined a 'war' later if statehood is indeed attained, or remains an 'upraising' if it fails.

So, when you talk of terrorism, I think what is needed is a method to stop wars first. You cannot say that a country can officially kill in a war, but no one else can. Well, you can say it, but it will not work.

So, how do you stop warring states ? I have no clue.

Since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that we have to erect the ramparts of peace. -- UNESCO Charter

Spot on (4.75 / 4) (#52)
by GRiNGO on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 10:05:35 AM EST

I view war as state-sponsored terrorism.

I couldnt agree more. Bush and his "war on terrorism" make me vomit. September 11th happened as a direct result of americas foreign policy in the middle east, it was not the work of one man, it is bigger than that. They can use september 11th to generate mass support to crush the taleban or whatever, they can kill bin laden... but thats not gonna stop the hate that exists in a large part of the world for america.

While america continues to back israels wholesale slaughter of the Palestinians, and while america continues its disgraceful embargo's on Iraq, and indeed considers to bomb it.. there will always be a large number of determined extremists throughout the world who want to see more september 11ths.

"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings

[ Parent ]
Shucks, give peace a chance.... (3.25 / 4) (#32)
by n8f8 on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 10:21:48 PM EST

There's a guy standing in the middle of a crowded room indescriminanty firing a gun. And you want to ask him his philosophy.

People use violence because it works. Sometimes it backfires, but it's much more reliable than philosophy or religion.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
Just a minor point.. (4.00 / 2) (#35)
by joecool12321 on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 11:35:52 PM EST

I could explode this into a long-winded post, but I'd like to point out that you're philosophically justifying violence.


[ Parent ]
Nope (3.00 / 2) (#36)
by n8f8 on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 11:42:54 PM EST

I stating the reason violence exists.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
No... (2.00 / 2) (#44)
by inadeepsleep on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 06:32:30 AM EST

What you're missing is that what you think is real life is really the dream. So when the guy with the gun shoots everybody, they wake up to real life before he does, and then they kill him dead. See, it doesn't really work after all.

[ Parent ]
How does it work? (none / 0) (#69)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 05:49:52 PM EST

I'll admit that if his goal is to kill as many people as possible so he can have his 72 vigins in the afterlife, the machine gun works great. If he wants to improve anything for his people, the machine gun doesn't do diddly squat!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Similar to the Orthodox tradition (3.50 / 2) (#33)
by Anonymous 242 on Mon Mar 11, 2002 at 10:45:13 PM EST

One of Saint Seraphim of Sarov's more oft-quoted maxims is Acquire the spirit of peace and thousands around you will be saved .


Alternatives to Religion (Like Spirituality) (4.33 / 6) (#40)
by quasipalm on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 01:02:30 AM EST

If I can paraphrase you correctly, you're suggesting that if we work to empower the powerless through peaceful, political means, they will no longer need to kill innocent people to make their voices heard.

Although I agree that we need to empower the "poorer half" of the world, I think the link between these two issues is largely overstated for a few reasons. Firstly, if terrorists are truly concerned with "resolving their conflicts in a non-violent manner," just unwittingly driven to terrorism, the U.S., Israel, and E.U. members (all largely democratic) would not be the targets. Instead, they would point their attacks toward the many truly tyrannical governments of the Middle East. But they don't. These people are not concerned with participating in global debates; they are simply attempting to hold the world hostage for self-serving purposes.

On another level, I've been reading everywhere lately that poverty is the true cause of terrorism. Yet, many are quick to forget that the 9/11 hijackers were western-educated, middle-class people much like the folks here on k5. Bin Laden himself is a multi-millionaire.

Well, everyone has their idea of what the true cause of terrorism is and I'm no different. Personally, I think it has to do with the rediculousness of religion. While there are causes of crazy, secular, tyrannical leaders (think Lenin) I can't help but think that filling children's head with ridiculous notions of Heaven, Hell, and Jihad does much more damage to this world then help. In the days after 9/11 so many people turned to religion and I couldn't help but wonder why. Wasn't the idea of supreme intervention and divine cause the largest cause for all of this. People will hesitate to kill innocent people for their county, their property, even their family; but when they believe they're on a mission from God; it makes it a hell of a lot easier. But, I mean no offence to god worshiping k5ers, that's just my 3 cents. :)
Faith (5.00 / 1) (#55)
by Anonymous American on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 12:28:44 PM EST

faith Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

I think it is this kind of faith, and not religion itself that is the root of terrorism and other evils. Many religions preach this particular brand of faith. Christian, Hindu, Muslim - even if it is not in their doctrines their followers have approached me with this kind of dangerous belief system.

[ Parent ]
re: Lenin (4.00 / 3) (#56)
by infinitera on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 12:34:11 PM EST

Having been in soviet schools for a few years (admittedly, in the 80s :P), I really would challenge the claim that secular propaganda is less harmful than religious. In much the same way certain regions of the US have 1st graders talk about Jesus loving them and saving them, we had to talk about Uncle Lenin, and how he saved us all. My point is, schools/society should be teaching children how to think, not trying to fill their minds with crap. Hrm, I'm offtopic aren't I, I didn't mention terrorism. Bah. :p


[ Parent ]
I agree. (none / 0) (#61)
by quasipalm on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 01:50:12 PM EST

I mentioned Lenin to make your point (that religious propaganda isn't the only type of propaganda that will drive people to do crazy things). My point is that there seems to be more religious zealots willing to take innocent lives. Thanks for pointing this out.
[ Parent ]
Poverty <> Poor Terrorists (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by tudlio on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 02:08:00 PM EST

The point isn't that terrorists are poor, the point is that terrorist organizations are better able to operate in areas stricken by poverty. People who are oppressed, people lacking education, people who are starving are more likely to identify with terrorists, provide them safe harbor, and sell them the things they need at bargain basement prices than people who are wealthy.

insert self-deprecatory humor here
[ Parent ]
Buying votes. (1.80 / 5) (#42)
by xriso on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 03:20:53 AM EST

Terrorism cannot really be stopped. It will always be there - a thorn in society's side.
*** Quits: xriso:#kuro5hin (Forever)
Well... (none / 0) (#60)
by araym on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 01:40:24 PM EST

At least until they detonate their Doomsday device.


[ Parent ]
Terrorism is unavoidable? (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by quasipalm on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 02:05:15 PM EST

Many people in this thread are arguing that terrorism is unavoidable. While I agree, I heard an interesting parallel by an MIT guy. It goes like this:

Fire used to be the biggest obstacle to city living. People would build big cities, then they would burn down to the ground and lots of people would die. This has happened in many cities, including Seattle and New Orleans.

Nowadays, nobody is concerned about fire. There are fire hydrants everywhere, and people know how to respond to fires. All buildings have fire alarms and escape plans. Fire drills are common at work and school.

We'll probably think of terrorism the same way in a few years. Eventually we will learn to control terrorism. Although attempted terrorism is here to stay, it wont be long before we don't even think about it as a real danger (like fire.) It may sound scary, but response systems to terrorism will be built into the fabric of society.

[ Parent ]
Arson (3.50 / 2) (#65)
by epepke on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 04:33:12 PM EST

Controlling terrorism, at least in the sense this article addresses, is more like controlling arson than controlling fire. Arsonists are still around.

To extend the analogy, again in the sense of the article, we would have to control arson by finding out ways to give arsonists what they want so that they don't have to commit arson to get it. The problem is that arsonists generally want either insurance fraud or a nice exciting conflagration. I suppose fireworks displays and the Indiana Jones stunt show might provide an outlet for desires for conflagration, but is is necessarily a good idea to give easy means of insurance fraud?

This is one of the things that bothers me about these proposals. They generally assume that all terrorists are entirely rational people who just want reasonable things, and if "we" (usually the bad U.S.) just gave them what they wanted, they'd go away, and everything would be nice. Analyses of the bad things that we do to make them have to become terrorists never go below the first, most superficial level.

Others have pointed out that the 9/11 terrorists were hardly oppressed, that they were Western-educated middle-class people under the control of a multimillionaire. What has bin Laden said that he really wants? Not what American and European liberals say he wants, what he says. Well, he's said he wants to overthrow the government of Saudi Arabia and set up an even more repressive government. He wants the U.S. out of Saudi Arabia, presumably because the U.S. can stop him from doing that. And he hates Jews and wants them dead. In the past, he really hasn't said much about Palestine at all.

So, what do "we" do? Give him a peaceful way to impose a more repressive government in Saudi Arabia? Build some rooms marked "Showers" that really aren't and send him some Zyklon-B? It may very well be and IMHO almost always is the case that what the terrorists want is something that it would be bad for them to have. Providing a Dali Lama mechanism to let them get it is not a technical problem; it's simply that it would be a bad idea.

How to minimize terrorism is pretty easy. Weak religion, weak nationalism, weak homeland identity. Enough technology to eliminate the worst drudgery. Social safety nets. Treatment of medical psychiatric disorders. Universal education, particularly for women. Enough interesting things to do. Outlets for aggressive tendencies, such as sports and mosh pits. In other words, Western culture, basically.

However, the same people who think that "we" caused terrorism are opposed to Western culture. How someone who was born in Ohio and now lives in San Francisco can get all worked up about somebody's "homeland" seems ridiculous to me, but they do. Nevertheless, they may have a point. What if someone thinks that theocracy is good, and education of women is bad? Then there's nothing you can do but let them rot. They may get more pissed off as they rot more, but not enough to question their own assumptions. Not much you can do. When they start to kill you, there's not much left to do but kill them back. Lamentable, perhaps, but what are you going to do?

The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett

[ Parent ]
A bugzilla for gov issues (4.40 / 5) (#47)
by pepperpusher on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 08:29:07 AM EST

What democracy really needs is some kind of Bugzilla for gov issues & karma embedded in your digital ID (hmm... did I say digital ID?)

Ride (2.00 / 2) (#48)
by inerte on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 08:35:27 AM EST

Such things do exist human, while we perpetuate our infimal desire to avoid death at all costs, and the naked king cross oceans of thoughts just to reprehend bursts of zeros and ones.

Well, what did I mean, let's see...

Bugzilla for the governament do exist. One part is called vote, the very first one, the foundation of an average governament. On the other side, you have impeachment. In the middle, you live.

And 'karma' system also exists. We are gently rated by our socieaty based on specific morals and ethics shared, so we can live happy together.

Justifying my first paragraph, perhaps this 'system' is too slow? Of course some new high da bomb techs could help.

On the other side, maybe if we do it fast it will not come out right. Sometimes patience do pay...

Bodily exercise, when compulsory, does no harm to the body; but knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind.
[ Parent ]

Seriously (3.00 / 1) (#50)
by pepperpusher on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 09:50:27 AM EST

I realy meant that there should be a bugzilla for the gov.
One that will CC you on any change to the bug-report, allow you to see who complained before you on the same bug etc. this could give more power to civilians. ur gov>ur local authority>traffic>parking> submit a new bug... then I'd complain about the lack of parking in my area and realy get a feedback from someone...

[ Parent ]
"Alternatives to Terrorism" (4.33 / 3) (#66)
by WWWWolf on Tue Mar 12, 2002 at 04:53:42 PM EST

Yes, there is a valid alternative to terrorism.

PEACE! Love of your neighbor! Happiness! Attempt to maintain Niceness! Constructive Criticism!

You know, instead of

$ quake3
or even doing the nassssssty terrorist thing of
$ penguin-command
People considering a terrorist attack really should do stuff like
$ mail -s "Naughty naughty!" president@whitehouse.gov
You didn't sign that climate treauty thingy! Naughty naughty! You are *such* a not nice person, did you know? Could you please think, for a chance, of what the other world thinks of you? Please, oh please, hurry, it stinks pretty bad here and cutting down the pollution might help to improve the world's climate, you know.
Yours, as always, (name)


Anyway, I have one comment to make: Non-violent protesting is only good as long as the people you are protesting against are listening. The idea is to make these people think.

If I am to pick one word I wish to emphasise from the text: "...strategy to promote globally a political culture of non-violence and dialogue." Dialogue is, as I see it, needed. The protest targets should come before the masses and say (change as appropriate) "Yes, we indeed may have made a mistake; We are now trying to make things better", and then act by their words.

The protesters should sound like nice people; the protested should sound like nice people. Everybody wins.

But then again, knowing the human nature, even simple things like this are surprisingly hard things to achieve in "real world"... =(

-- Weyfour WWWWolf, a lupine technomancer from the cold north...

i love the Dalai Lama (4.00 / 1) (#74)
by fonebone on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 03:54:30 AM EST

"The challenge before us, therefore, is to make this new 21st century a century of dialogue when conflicts are resolved non-violently."

i feel really strongly with the idea that we as a species are finally mature enough to be able to deal calmly with any political issue, without even need to resort to war.

now, recent world events have gone totally against all this i believe in, and that's all the more reason i'm glad to see that important people of the world (the Dalali Lama) are noticing the immaturity that continues to come out of the USA.

PHP and Ajax Web Development

Make talk, not war? (3.00 / 1) (#76)
by freija crescent on Wed Mar 13, 2002 at 02:58:59 PM EST


You can talk to a person for hours, and not make them flinch.

You can then resort to yelling. They may flinch, and if not, you can yell at them for hours, and your words alone cannot make them fall over.

Violence is the only solution in such situations. I know, it's sad. So is the fact that life is short. We all die. We can't change that. It sucks. There will always be violence. We cannot change that.

The only way to peacefully resolve the 'human condition' is to eliminate humans on this rock. And even then, you would have animals killing each other for food, colonies of ants going to war against one another.. etc.

Life is violent, life is war. If you want to eliminate warfare and violence, then kill everything on this planet, then sit back and enjoy the silence.

The pursuit of peace is probably the number one barracade to progress that we face. Just look at the progress that war has brought us. Nuclear power, microwave ovens, space exploration, the internet. I could go on for days. I'm not advocating warfare, I'm just not pushing peace. Everyone has a different version of 'peace' and we as a species will even war about that. We should all live life and try to be nice, but not fear using lethal force should it become warranted.


Terrorism/Poverty (3.00 / 2) (#80)
by cariad on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 08:09:52 AM EST

George Bush has it backwards. You will not eradicate terrorism while the world is such an unequal place. Massive poverty is breeding terrorism - nothing else.

Give people something to eat and something to do and they would no more think about blowing themselves or other people up that you or I do.

Religion, land, culture - history has shown that these are nothing more than surface problems. The world is seeing a resurgence in fundamentalism at a time when there is great uncertainty about the future, and most importantly, at a time when levels of inequality are the highest in history, and the disparity is increasing. History has never seen such inequalities - the founders of our liberal-capitalist system never envisaged wealth or poverty on the scale it is known now.

People can talk about war and pacifism all day, and it will avail them nothing. Terrorism is the poor man's weapon. That the tactics are immoral and misguided means little to a person who feels he is being crushed - this is his way of getting even.

Terrorism will always exist - you can't keep all of the people happy all of the time, but I really do think that we have built a system that is dangerously unequal and unstable. This is a breeding ground for terrorists who will lash out at those it believes are perpetuating the system.

Not so (none / 0) (#81)
by shrike7 on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 02:25:47 PM EST

This really doesn't seem to be the case. Poverty, especially in a system with wide disparities between the wealthy and the poor, does lead to crime-I'll concede that much. But terrorism seems to be rooted in entirely different motivations, the vast majority of which have little or nothing to do with material considerations. Reasonably well-off anti-abortion zealots bomb clinics and shoot doctors. North American white supremacists beat and kill minorities who are almost always worse of than them. Deranged environmental activists put bolts in trees to kill lumberjacks, who probably aren't better off than them at all. The Sept. 11 hijackers were educated men from well-off Arab families. Osama bin Laden is a millionaire. And on the flip side, I honestly can't think of all that many terrorist groups with an economic agenda. The whole root causes thing is true to some extent, but trying to reduce the problem of terrorism to a purely economic level is moronic. It's much more complicated.
[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#83)
by Yael on Wed Apr 03, 2002 at 01:15:59 AM EST

I am very pleased to see that people around the world/country are seeing terrorism as something as complex as it is. I am glad to know that not everyone is sitting on their couches cheering bush on, to fight "evil". people think of the attacks and what happened to America, and in no way am I downplaying that, but we must understand the causes of this problem, we must understad exactly what people are so upset about that would make them risks, even sacrifice their lives.
Cariad gives a good insight on a different perspective, a perspective that perhaps the american public is not ready to hear.

[ Parent ]
hmm, violence.. (none / 0) (#82)
by logiterr on Fri Mar 29, 2002 at 10:12:03 AM EST

a war for resources is one thing. a war based on ideological differences is another. stopping violent acts over resources is easy, build strong armies to protect against foreign invasion and make a fast-response police force to quell national dissidents. violence rooted in ideological differences, such as religious differences, interpretation of spiritual texts even difference of opinion over a theory will be much hard to control. on a smaller scale, think of all the flamewars between say, linux and freebsd. find a way to stop those wars or even reduce them and also reduce the spiraling effect a small flame has, and you are already half way to solving violence rooted in ideological differences on a global scale. the problem with such wars or violence is that they are practically unpredictable unless you are a few feet away from the source (try predicting forest fires you will understand what i mean). i guess though that some ethical and moral indoctrination might work, but this indoctrination would have to meet a minimum standard to work globally.

Alternatives to Terrorism | 84 comments (61 topical, 23 editorial, 1 hidden)
Display: Sort:


All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
My heart's the long stairs.

Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!