Terrorists are not born, they are created. And they are not created by God, but they are created by men. Men like you and me – the common men, the powerful men, the media men, the political men, the religious men, and the intellectual and pseudo-intellectual men. People who do not believe in Free-Will
can better understand this. A brain as an internal system cannot change itself unless some external stimuli are put into it. These external stimulus works in concurrence with the brain of the person. It brings out different kinds of results that express themselves in the behavior and thinking of a person. A person who becomes a terrorist must have a certain set of emotional and intelligence quotient and must have a particular set of life experiences. It is known that the brain develops according to the external stimulus, right from the time a child is born. If you cover the eyes of a newborn baby for some years, his optical parts of the brain will not grow. This can cause total blindness to the child. Scientists are still researching more and more on how much nurture and nature affects the development of a human being. But one thing is very clear here. A child born in an undeveloped ghetto while seeing poverty and violence around him is many times more prone to become a criminal than a child born in a good middle class family.
If we saw a 10 year old boy stealing money from a shop, we might get prompted to seek out the reason for this behavior. We won’t just say that the boy was born an evil and that somehow his actions are born without any external cause or internal need. The best course to treat the ill-habits of a 10 year old thief would be to seek the reasons that drove him to steal and then find a solution to it. It can be logically inferred that a kind of inertia against change develops in the psyche of a person as he grows old. It is easier to rehabilitate a 10 year old thief than a 35 year old dacoit. So, it is of utmost importance to start teaching our children at a young age. Children should be given free education and a healthy environment to live and experiment with their thoughts and curiosities. A child should be provided a life away from everyday violence, drugs, alcohol and other bad members of the society.
Now, I am not making an absolute theory here. I hate absolutes in morality and social sciences. We need to do more research and come out with better and more efficient solutions. But as I have seen, many of the people that we call terrorists are just a product of the engines of social and economic conflicts that the masters of our world have created. In one of my articles named, ‘’ Islamophobia- Where will it take us” I used the example of the murder of a Muslim woman named Marwa El-Sherbini. She was killed in Dresden public court (Germany) by an Islamic hater, Alex Weins. This man stabbed Sherbini 16 times, all before her 3 year old son. Just think about what her son will feel when he grows up. His mother was killed only because she was a Muslim. How dreadful and pathetic is this – a crime against all human values. If this child is not bought up in a good environment, his resentment for his mother’s death can burst in any manner, 15 or 20 years later. We don’t know the background and stories of all people who chose to pick weapons and became terrorists. But we need to understand as rational and sensible people that along with that person, we as a society are also responsible for creating a terrorist out of him. Here I am talking about our responsibility. What are we doing to stop these normal people born in misery and violence to become terrorists and criminals? Hatred is a disease, a virus. It can mutate from one form to another. A person who hates an ideology today can grow up to hate the followers of that ideology tomorrow. Many people hate Islam, including me. But in the course of this journey of hatred, some people can even start hating Muslims. Then things start to go bad. Some Muslim haters would discuss in their rooms about how they wish that Muslims left their countries, some others will buy a shotgun to protect themselves from a perceived (many times false) fear of a Muslim attack and lastly a few of them would walk an extra mile and shoot some Muslims in their face. That is true for India I would say. Look at the riots that have
occurred so many times in Indian history. The Bhagalpur Riots, The Bombay Riots, The Gujarat Riots- All tell the same story of hatred and violence. In Gujarat riots, the Hindu rioters used to shout anti-islamic slogans saying, ‘’Musalman kay do his sthaan, Pakistan ya Kabristaan’’ [A muslim (in india) should have only two places, either a graveyard or Pakistan]. Thousands of innocent Muslims were killed in those riots including women and children. There are several villages in Bhagalpur district where every Muslim inhabitant was killed. Muslim girls were raped and their breasts were chopped off. In some ghastly cases, pig flesh was shoved in their mouths after their death. I am going to write a separate blog on the topic of riots and Islamophobia in India.
Many of the common people in any country would not go to the lengths to kill any person that they think as sub-human or evil. But if a culture of hatred is promoted in any country, it will percolate to its different strata and into those people of the society who would be willing and capable to perform killings to satisfy their hatred against a group of particular ideology or race. Let us take the case of Ishrat Jahan. She was a 19 year old girl from Mumbai (India). She was killed in a fake encounter by the police in Gujarat. The Gujarat police said that she was one of the operatives of a Pakistani terrorist group LeT(
Lashkar-e- Tayabba). The girl was shot point blank. She belonged to a poor family and took care of her family through her job which demanded her to travel different places. Now, the National Investigating agency and Gujarat High Court has pronounced that she was an innocent. http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ishrat-jahan-encounter-fake-probe-team-tells-gujarat-hc/878653/
But, do the aftereffects of this incident end with the prosecution of some guilty police officers? No! We haven’t just thrown a pebble in the lake of this society; we have thrown a big rock. Its ripples will surely cause a Tsunami. It will surely destroy many innocent lives. It is easy to blame the Tsunami but it is easier to stop a guy from throwing a big rock in the lake of the peaceful fabric of our society. What are we going to choose? Many Muslims in India have lost their hopes in the Indian democracy because of the right-wing, fascist Indian politicians and such riots and fake encounters that I mentioned above. Such lost youth make a very good target for the extremist Muslim Jihadist recruiters.
Many people in the society do not even want to understand why a person did what he did? They are just full of vengeance. They just want to hurt him, finish him off in a jail or an execution chamber. I won’t give my opinion on that now. But what do you think?
As I see, terrorists or suspected terrorists are tortured in places like Guantanamo Bay more than they deserve. They are also human beings like us. If the NATO forces keeps on doing that to them (waterboarding, sleep deprivation etc.) you might just create a terrorist out of an innocent person who was just indulged for some days in his life in an illegal activity.
The major purpose of a Justice System should not be to kill people who had a bad luck to be born in a wrong place in a wrong time. Rather, we should develop strategies to change these people into responsible citizens and logical human-beings. If we can grow over our vengeance, we can do that. This discussion is not so simple. There are several facets to it. Some people just want to kill others because their religious or economic ideologies say so. We will discuss about such issues in the next article.