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Terrorism: The Causes Are Not What We are Told

The terrorists hate our values and lifestyle, they want to control us and destroy our freedoms. This is the perceived wisdom on the logic behind the terrorist actions in New York 9/11, Madrid and now London. This wisdom is wrong.

During 1995 I was in Israel, working as a volunteer on Kibbutz in the Golan heights. I am not Jewish or partisan to middle east causes in any sense. I am an open and interested person who wished to take in for himself a little of what was going on in that part of the world.

I used to hitch-hike a lot to get around. In Israel this was done out of necessity to some extent yet also because I have made a choice often to get around that way and enjoy the benefits of free association with whoever should offer me a ride. One day whilst hiking to town with two friends, a German and an American. A Jeep stopped with two Palestinians in the front and another in the back. We jumped in the back and set off at which point we could not fail to note the large number of rifles and sub machine guns in the back of the vehicle. The mood was cool.

Quickly I identified myself to them as an Englishman and Sandra as German before lastly and quietly pointing out that Jeff was American. The mood lightened somewhat. “So what have you guys been up to today?”, I asked. “Hunting wild Boar”, one said and the collectively giggled. I thought we were in the presence of terrorists who had been looking for Israelis to shoot.

The conversation turned to Jeff and America. Our temporary hosts did not like America. They did not like the injustices of economics and war of the modern way of doing things. They sensed deeply the responsability of America for these things, as the self-proclaimed leader of the “free” world.

“How can you make America take notice, pay attention?”, One of them asked, “Why don’t they see what is happening in the world?”. Jeff pointed out that some American’s did see what was going on and tried to do something about it and that banketting the whole country and people with their views was not accurate. They were pleased at this, they could see it was true and important. “They will see eventually”, I said, “no one can ignore the truth forever.

The truth about terrorism is that terrorists sense the deep injustices of this world. They feel deeply powerless about it and in their anger and distress consider violence to be the only message that might get through to people they see as basically barbaric for allowing and promoting the economics of win/lose.

So they see us as barbaric and we see them as barbaric. They kill a few hundred or tens or thousands from time to time. The western political and economic values which are so fundamental to our societies accept the deaths of 30,000 children every day from needless poverty or disease, easily cured with a little food or medicine.

Since 9/11 approximately forty million persons have died in this way needlessly. We do not have to worry as much as we do about this war on terrorism – by death count alone we are “winning” it hands down – our economic theory tells us a few hundred or thousand deaths is worth the price. Yet until we solve the issues of economic and political lies, create more equal and harmonious societies and care for other humans wherever they be and be they pink, brown or a shade in between, we will not “win” this war. In essence the war is a just, even if I do personally disagree with the means (which I do).

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