It’s finally happened. The Indian government appears to be doing a China and have blocked a number of websites that contain ISIS content; this is hot on the heels of all the reports of some young men running off to Syria to join ISIS and fight amongst them in their ranks. I’m not sure if these websites contain ISIS propaganda, or if they’re just predominantly used by ISIS as a recruitment tool, but the Indian government appear to be willing to unblock the sites if they will cooperate and take down the ‘objectionable content’.
Eh. Yesterday when this news broke I posted saying that I don’t live in a democracy any more. It’s true. Any form of censorship does not a democracy make. In fact, censorship is completely against the nature of what democracy actually is.
As I pondered the implications of this, I saw that a friend had posted this today on his feed. I have copied it over so that you may see it.
Alas, Noam Chomsky is oversimplifying. It’s a bit hard to tell disenfranchised people who feel like they have nothing to lose to stop participating in terrorism.
I was watching a documentary about a terrorist ‘handler’ who spent a lot of time focusing his attentions on one boy who came from a troubled home, and who didn’t have a father. He would play ball with him, invite him to his home on weekends to feast with his family, and spend time talking to him. Eventually, he trotted out his ideologies; the boy loved this man so much that he just wanted to do everything he could to please the man he had come to think of as his father.
‘Stopping’ terrorism is easier said than done. Terror is felt by the man who cannot protect his family and his home. Terror is felt by the mother whose child is dying from easily preventable disease. Terror is felt on many levels by many people, and there are evil people in the world who play into that. “Die for us”, they say, “and you will have avenged the death of your loved one.” “Die for us”, they claim, “because it’s what God wants.” “Die for us”, they implore, “so that we can punish x, y, or z the way that they have punished us and our people.” The list is endless. Unfortunately, the people they talk to are already people who are ideally suited for the role they want them to fulfill. People who perhaps feel anger, and who feel pain. Perhaps they are budding psychopaths. Perhaps they feel like they have nothing to lose. Overall, they share one thing in common. They don’t stop to think about why the handlers themselves aren’t out there risking life and limb, if they so firmly believe their own sermons. In fact, they don’t stop to think. Period. I suppose that’s why they call it brainwashing.
A friend and I were talking about the stupid things we’d done in our respective youths. Stupid things, yes, but on this level? No. I think it takes a certain type of person, with a kink in their personalities perhaps, or a special kind of weakness, or perhaps a special foolish kind of bravery, and those are the people these handlers are always looking out for. I may have snuck out to go to a party I wasn’t allowed to go to, but my horror of hurting another living thing would never have made me an ideal candidate, even in the halcyon days of my youth. I’ve always been a creator, not a destroyer. I think you have to be a destroyer in order to be a terrorist.
I’m not sure how we stop terrorism, and I worry so much for a world with terrorism in it. Perhaps we just try and stay one step ahead of them. Perhaps we hope that good will flourish over evil. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. I don’t know.
All I do know is that Chomsky is, as much as I love him, oversimplifying.