How do we stop terrorism in the Middle East?

Photo of Malala Yousafzai via
Photo of Malala Yousafzai via

Attempting an answer to the big question

By Cazzy Lewchuk, Opinions Editor

Terrorism, defined as acts of violence motivated by political purposes, kills and wounds people every day. Many attacks take place in areas known for instability, though these attacks seem increasingly to occur in areas we wouldn’t expect.

The results of terrorism range from additional security at airport entrances to the onset of international wars.

While children are killed around the world every day—mostly in attacks carried out by our own country and its allies—the internet seems to care a lot more when it happens to white children from English-speaking countries.

Teenage activist and terrorism survivor Malala Yousafzai said “With guns, you can kill terrorists. With education, you can kill terrorism.”

Terrorist groups form and strengthen in areas that lack structure and education. When no one else is around to keep order, groups like ISIS have free rein.

Often it is the most vulnerable people who become terrorists. Any form of ideology can be turned into violent radicalism, religious or political, and the people who commit acts of terrorism are not always born with a desire for violence.

Educating others, promoting equality, and providing adequate services go a long way towards stopping not just terrorism, but crime and violence in general. Crime is a result of bad social conditions leading people to break the law in order to get what they want.

There is certainly no reasoning with terrorists once they’ve been radicalized. In my view, if someone is trying to kill innocent people for political gain, they’re not likely to become a good person again, though I believe there have been instances where criminals have been softened or switched allegiances after education and (sometimes) punishment.

Terrorism is like the mythical hydra: for every head we cut off, two more grow. Large groups like ISIS were founded on the remnants of the Taliban and due to instability in some Middle Eastern countries. These conditions may have been caused by an international presence of unstable countries or global superpower “good guys” like the US and Canada.

We may never be able to completely stop those who want to destroy us. But paranoia, extreme division, and war are not viable solutions. It may ward off some existing terrorists, but it also lays down the path for more to follow.