The Misplaced National Identity: 6 Reasons why people become terrorists

why people become terrorists

There’s a poem called ‘Waiting for the Barbarians’ by 20th Century Greek Poet C P Cavafy. It talks about how the rulers of ancient Greek are unable to concentrate on their work as they are waiting for an attack by the Barbarians. But when the Greeks ultimately find out that the Barbarians are not going to attack, they are disheartened. Something that gave an almost extraordinary importance to their otherwise mundane lives is no more there.

The Misplaced National Identity

The Misplaced National IdentityImage Source :

Just like we identify ourselves with our family, in the same way, we also identify ourselves with our nation. Both our allegiance to our family and to our nation become most evident during the time of war or a similar crisis like situation. However, there are other people too who feel differently. They don’t identify themselves with their nation and are not afraid to stand against it when they feel that it is wrong.

Just as there are people who feel oppressed by their family and relatives, there are also many those who feel that they are oppressed by their nation. These are the ones who keep wishing for something bad to happen. They fantasize about some revolution that would destroy the existing structure of things so that they are delivered from the current state of oppression. Out of these very people, the ones who feel the urgency of their purpose and who justify to themselves the path of violence venture into terrorism.

These individuals are mostly in their early 20s, and are rarely over 30. To those who share their purpose, they are heroes. To others (especially those who suffer from the atrocities inflicted by them) they are terrorists and should be eradicated from the society as soon as possible. We might blame such people for their violent actions, but, at times, it isn’t completely their fault. Sometimes the society constrains individuals in such a way that they don’t have any other option than becoming a terrorist.

6 Reasons why people become terrorists

There’s an amalgamation of societal and personal reasons that motivate people to become terrorists. It is extremely hard to single out one particular cause that leads to this problem, which makes finding a definitive solution to the problem almost impossible. Still, if we try to generalize, most of the times, it is one of these 7 reasons that motive people to become terrorists.

1. Expecting Change:

Injustice exists everywhereInjustice exists everywhere. The way things are isn’t always how they should be. Most of us generally accept the current state of affairs as if they were God’s decree, and carry on with our day to day life. But this isn’t the same with the people who turn into terrorists. Either they have personally suffered injustice, or they are too sensitive to the sufferings of others. They feel that the current situation is unbearable and it needs to change immediately, but they are unable to stand up to the system. Therefore, to make their point, such people inflict terror by targeting the people whom they believe are responsible for the current state of affairs.

2. Taking revenge for persecution:

This exists particularly in regions with rigid social, cultural or religious values. In such regions, certain people (generally minorities) stand in direct contrast to the values of the region, and they usually have to face constant persecution. Moreover, the law too is somewhat biased towards the side of majority. This isolates those people from any outwards help and leaves them to only their personal means to take action against the situation. As a revenge for their persecution, such people might take extremely drastic steps. Sometimes they don’t even care about their lives, which they might already consider as not worth living.

3. Brainwash:

BrainwashReality is what we make out of it. An individual who has had a good first hand experience of the world might know how things actually stand out, but the others know only what they are told. A lot of political and pseudo-religious organizations know very well how to manipulate the youth and to use them to fulfil their own personal gains. When brought face to face with a reality check, these individuals might leave the path of bloodshed. For this to happen, however, they need to come in contact with the world that exists outside their beliefs, but most of the times, that does not happen.

4. Poverty:

In certain third world countries by becoming a terrorist one secures a considerable wealth for oneself and one’s family, which is impossible otherwise. Many people there have to face the option whether they want to die from hunger or to live as terrorists. Some of them tend to choose the latter option.

5. Troubled Youth:

Troubled YouthLoneliness and isolation tends to make a person more hostile towards the society. Such feelings of hostility are particularly exaggerated in the youth. So, when such people get any chance to display their hostility towards the world, they don’t fail to utilize it. In fact, these types of individuals are most favoured to becoming terrorists and the terrorist organizations are constantly on the lookout for them.

6. Psychological Disorders:

In countries like the US, where access to dangerous weapons is so easy, even individuals with psychological disorders can prove a great threat to the society. When such mentally unstable individuals get their hands on weapons, they might use them pointlessly against innocent people and cause unnecessary bloodshed.

Final Words

Throughout the history there’s hardly any single incident where terrorism provided a solution to something. On the other hand, there’s no shortage of instances where such attacks made the matters worse. Most of them led to retaliation, war and unnecessary destruction. Terrorist organizations never achieved their purpose. They destroyed others and in turn got destroyed.

This evidence is good enough to conclude that no matter how positive one’s aim is, terrorising others is never a solution for that. Great leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela have proved that once your intention is pure, with singular determination, non-violence can bring the change which violence cannot bring even in hundreds of years.

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