The Answer for Terrorism

As of today, Wikipedia lists 55 terrorist attacks around the world so far this year and here in Barcelona, the shootings at the Bardo Museum in Tunis has dominated the news partly because of a local couple who were killed in the attack.

While many of the terrorist attacks have nothing to do with the Middle East, the gunmen who killed 21 people in Tunis reportedly came from a Libyan cell which owes some kind of allegiance to ISIS. ISIS controls a sizable territory including several cities in Iraq and appears to have expanded its influence to fighters in Yemen and Egypt as well as Libya in the name of Jihad against the approximately 15% of muslims who define themselves as Shia.

The hand of history

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos two months ago, Former Israeli President Shimon Peres was interviewed by The New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and I recommend watching the 28 minute interview to anyone who has an interest in this issue as well as the larger situation in the middle East.

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For Peres, terror is “destroying the arab countries” and is a much bigger threat to them than Israel . He sees three historical forces which will eventually defeat terror.

  • In the first place, Peres believes that the young men and women in the region do not carry flags and can be brought into the 21st century using science and technology. Without science he does not see the possibility of prosperity but with it, he feels, anything is possible.
  • Second, Peres feels strongly that religious people of all denominations and sects must speak up for their values and deny the terrorists the possibility of committing their atrocities in the name of god. While he sees science as an important part of the answer, the use of science must be embedded in values which can come from religion. The problem is that if the religious authorities are not courageous, then values can be hijacked by murderers and thieves.
  • Third, Peres sees global companies playing a critical role in bringing science and technology to the region. For him, global companies are also stateless and thus have an opportunity not to take from the Middle East, but to help build tomorrow’s society with the young people and the women of the region. Companies have the goodwill good products and will do the right thing to maintain their good name.

Women’s Rights

Saudi Women (BBC)
Saudi Women (BBC)

Last Sunday was International Women’s day and Peres is convinced that the single most important thing that the Arab countries can do to bring peace and prosperity to its people is to grant equal rights to women. Peres cites a study done by PWC in 2012 which states that the Egyptian economy would grow 34% if women were given equal rights and that the problem in the Arab world were husbands holding back their wives in the name of Islam.

Big Dreams

Ben-Gurion & Peres
Ben-Gurion & Peres

When asked how he keeps going at the age of 91, Peres suggests that one should count the achievement of their life and then count the dreams in their head. As long as the dreams are greater than the achievements, you are still young. He says that in working to create and nurture Israel during its history he has learned to dream big. He quotes his mentor David Ben-Gurion as teaching him to never lie and never stop daring.

More than ever we need to dream big and put forward a dream that can capture the imagination of the these young people who travel across the world to join ISIS or get sucked into other terrorist movements closer to home.

2 thoughts on “The Answer for Terrorism

  1. with the recent killing of 148 innocent students in kenya by al shababa we can definetly say that terror is one of the greatest threats to world peace in the 21st century

  2. It is hard for me to find the words which can fit this crime. What Africa needs more than anything else is education and the fact is that the universities in Kenya bring together Kenyan’s form all backgrounds. To attack students and to divide them and kill them for who they are is beyond my comprehension.

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