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...the musician, the motivator, the political mind.



Getting At the Root: Commentary on Norway attacks and the World's Political Climate

Posted by Stephanie Fillyaw on July 24, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Where do I begin? 


The horrific events of yesterday continue to linger for me as a few observations and thoughts boil to the surface of my psyche.  I imagine the innocent youth scattering about, searching for refuge. I think of the numerous victims who had no inkling that they would face harm that day.  Immediately these thoughts reminded me of the same uncertainty and heart wrenching pain that I felt on September 11th, 2001, the same feelings of uncertainty that much of the world continues to feel day in and day out. 


Many youth face these types of situations daily. I'm sure they can often look right outside of their windows and witness a bombing, a drive-by shooting, or something of the sort. From Cairo to Compton, from Sri Lanka to Gaza...we are living in an increasingly interconnected and dangerous world.  In an age where we have the most sophisticated militaries and weaponry, why is it that I feel as UN-safe as ever? Could it be that we are fighting these wars on the wrong front and with the wrong carnal weaponry? I think it's time for the world to take great strides to ameliorate the ROOT causes of these outrageous acts...rather than simply treating the proximate causes and symptoms associated with them.


What happened in Norway was a result of radical Right, fundamentalism and a deranged anomaly...all the familiar ingredients of senseless terrorism! I think of all the lives of those youth...potential stopped short of full fruition. Future leaders, the bearers of the blood of future generations, stopped short. It’s senseless...


The only way we will stop terrorism in this world is if we stand together to defeat the sentiments and thought-processes that nurture hate. A terrorist must first dehumanize its victims in order to mentally succumb to such levels of permeating hate.  Equally, more organized terrorist cells utilize some of the same tactics that prominent gangs in the United States use to recruit their members. It's the newly initiated members who are sent out to conduct the most risky and gruesome crimes to "prove" themselves. It is the youth who are programmed to strap themselves with bombs, NOT the ring leaders, the higher-ups or any other member of the decision-unit for that matter. The lower levels are recruited to do the dirty work. They are seeking the vulnerable, those who are looking for an opportunity to do something bigger than themselves, for all the wrong reasons. In order to combat this, we must seek to change our political and social climate and make it one more conducive for respect and mutual understanding.


Foremost, we MUST communicate with each other! We have to be willing to see the other side as a human being worth listening to and conversing with.  If we are unwilling to recognize our "enemy" in the room, they may be forced to stand on a chair until they get our attention, and still, if that doesn't provoke us or warrant your recognition, they may be forced to do something a little more drastic, and so on. I believe these acts of terrorism are an example of someone or something that is seeking to be included in the conversation.


At the very least, the Norwegian terrorist can give us some insight into just how poisonous our political and social climate has become in this world. People are aligning and taking sides...for refuge from the other, yet very few are willing to reach across and meet in the middle to discuss, or to breathe life into and recognize the other. Are we not seeing these same divisive politics playing out in the American legislation right at this very moment? Are we not seeing some of these same shifts happening in the Christian church, denominations, groups, separating themselves from the fundamentalists, the evangelicals and the like. Yet simultaneously those sides are gaining steam as a result of dissatisfaction. People are dividing and pooling out of fear.


It could be possible that it is simply safer to gather with other individuals because "there's safety in numbers", similar to the idea that many join racially segregated gangs in prisons simply for protection, whether they fully subscribe to the ideals of that group in totality or not. Unfortunately, the longer one remains associated with their "refuge group", the more likely they are to succumb to the doctrine the core seeks to infiltrate them with...even if initially they were on the fence or just joined for safety purposes, we have lost them to the gang, the group, the "party", the organization.


How do we get back to a place of dialog and compromise? We have to first be willing to recognize that the other side may indeed have something valuable to add to the conversation, that we can both mutually gain by coming to the center. It's humanization at its best, because whether you chose to believe it or not, the moment you have decided to shut your ears to the demands, lamentations, complaints, sentiments, etc., of the opposing group, you have already made it at least half way down the path of de-humanization AND you have shut yourself off to the possibility of crafting the most ideal and best solution, as the BEST solutions come from diverse opinions...and considering the issues that we face in this world, we would do well to seek the absolute BEST solutions, rather than temporary inadequate ones that only get at the symptoms rather than the ailment itself.


Well, that's my incoherent rant for today. My condolences go out to the victims of all terrorist acts in this world. I hope that moments like this will draw us together rather than pull us further apart.


Peace and blessings,


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