Twenty First Century Terrorism: Affliction or Profession? - Aadhiswaran Shanmugam

November 09, 2017


 ‘With Guns you can kill terrorists, with education you can kill terrorism’ a quote rightly set forth by the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, actuating the stinging lack of education in the Middle East, which is usually considered to be the terror haven of the world. With statistics in our hand, we can ascertain the number of deaths, but not the subtle role played by education in perpetrating terror. This writing will skim through the reasons for the increased degree of terror in the twenty-first century, western influence in the shaping of terrorism and furthermore elucidate the vital role education has on terrorism.

What is Terrorism?

            The term “terrorism,” as propounded by Resolution 1566 (2004) of the Security Council states that all acts 'which constitute offenses within the scope of and as defined in the international conventions and protocols relating to terror will come under the ambit of terrorism’. Islamic State committed the most significant number of attacks in the year of 2015, claiming responsibility for 3317 acts of terrorism, the three-fold increase in terrorism is attributed mainly to the post-civil war period in Syria and also after the end of the Iraqi invasion by the United States of America. The reason for this surge can be ascribed to two crucial factors, grievances, and capabilities of the common man. During a war, the person has grief, which can be fulfilled by satisfying his more substantial need thus pushing him to take up arms for money as a profession and soon is classified as a “jihadist” by the western bystanders. When there is uncertainty existing in the society, everyone can perform actions that entice a few to take up arms and fight for freedom, without any real oppression thus helps in the making of terror.


        These uncertainties, especially in the regions of the Middle East and African regions helped in the upbringing of terror, in return for peace, stability, and brotherhood. These regions have not only been afflicted by civil wars but have not been given due focus regarding educational reforms. Statistics states that Syria had a literacy rate of 95% before the war, Iraq, which had the best education systems in the world, suffers a significant jolt after the recent sanctions and the current lack of security directly drawing an analogy between terrorism and education. The involvement of the G-7 countries in trying to alleviate terrorism in these regions has added even more fuel to the fire. Continuous air-strikes may have left a handful of terrorists dead but also thousands of civilians killed. These killing of civilians forces the young civilian brothers to take up arms and revenge the westerners, who they primarily consider to be the reason for the death of their dearest ones. This anti-western terrorism smudges these young minds with an apprehension to take up arms and rebel against the ones who caused these deaths, thus creating an imaginary cult of people fighting for “jihad” or destiny. 

            This prodigious talent, not only leads to an increase in the number of people who wantonly opt for terrorism but pitches in for a more inclusive idea of jihad, or merely the fight against the enemies (the westerners). This sheer use of air-force to put down the dosage of terrorism attributed to the reversing trend, eventually surging the rate of terrorism. If these nation-states had improvised the role of education if only the western nation states focused on improving the function of schooling the results would’ve been varied. Partial education preached by Daesh and other militant organizations can often lead to severe repercussions in the international arena, for example, misquoting the “Quran” often forces opportunists to cease the case for personal goals and desires and thus propounding the fake jihadi cult of an Islamic State.


            The absolute matrix existent between education and terrorism is of modest stature. With re-imposition of the educational model, that was existent during the pre-civilian war period, there can be a visible drop in the mark of terrorism. The west instead of focusing on channeling funds through bureaucrats, diplomats, and unwarranted politicos had instead stressed on directing funding into building educational infrastructure, providing better technology, and a wider pool of talent. The complete understanding of religious texts can be of subtle importance for eradicating the menace of religious extremism. The improvisation of democratic functioning in these states would be of great help in re-building the archaic educational machinery existent, thus kick-starting the process of nation-building and eventually leading to the death of terrorism. Violence cannot be dealt with abuse and in this context, it very much applies that if we have to suppress the idea of terrorism, it can only be done with the application of education. Education is the living essence of society, and only education can streamline the process of individual empowerment, thus achieving a unified world of oneness and prosperity.

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