What I have learned of terrorism - Part 3. LO27211

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 09/17/01

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to all of you.

To all victims of terrorism, we will not stop embracing you in our hearts.

In Part 2 I described how terrorism exploits (like apartheid did) the
weakness of the present civilization. Let us now move to:

Part 3: Some characterising of terrorism, the terrorist and ourselves.

Perhaps the biggest problem of characterising any terrorist is that we do
it by analysing those who actually committed terroristic acts against us,
oblivious to others elsewhere in the world who have suffered different
kinds of terrorism. Should it be found that terrorist belong to nation A,
then far too many people think that anyone from nation A may not only be a
terrorist, but also that people of nation A support terrorists. Should
that terrorist practice religion B and speak language C, then far too many
people think that religion B and language C breed terrorists too.

Terrorism have many faces. The connection between terrorism and, for
example, religion, language or nationhood is but serendipitous. However,
the connection between terrorism and a personal faith system (not communal
religion) is indissoluble. The terrorist is a fanatic believer, whether
that terrorist can be associated with a recognised religion or not. Since
terrorists work together for some unique cause which they believe in,
terrorism is actually itself a religion. But it is a shocking religion
since the life of only a certain group of humans are sacred while the life
of any other human outside that group is worthless. Terrorists are to
society what cancerous cells are to the human body with its normal cells.

Terrorism is not something of recent times. The word terrorist was already
used two centuries ago to describe the Jacobins during the French
Revolution. Although not using the word terrorism, already some six
centuries earlier Dante was aware of it. Even as far back as the Romans
the Vandals from the north was considered to be fighters without fear for
the mighty Roman empire, sowing destruction and death so as to control the
mighty Romans by fear.

Terrorism may be described as a "religion of death". It is very important
to grasp this point. None of the sacred writings of Christian, Islam,
Judaic, Hindu or Buddha religions claim that the life of certain humans
are sacred while the lives of all others are worthless so that they can be
killed at wish. In other words, what the terrorist do with terrorism do,
is to invoke LEM (Law of Excluded Middle) to decide like a god for God who
must live and who must die.

The terrorist will invoke the operator LEM by using any walk of life as
its operand. For example, the life of anybody not belonging to a specific
nation, speaking a specific language, living a specific culture or
practising a specific religion is worthless. In other words, terrorism is
fundamentalistic. Burn all except the one. Terrorism destroys the library
of life as the Bibliotheca of Alexandria once had been destroyed.

Since terrorism is a "religion of death", terrorists will easily give up
their own lives for the cause which they believe in. They will just as
easily give up the lives of fellow terrorists and expect them to do so as
long as it is for the "cause". Consequently no human's life is sacred to
the terrorist, although the terrorist will deny this vehemently. That is
why it is extremely difficult for any intelligence agent to infiltrate a
terrorist organisation. The agent will have to commit murder on demand to
gain trust. No civilized country will condone openly murder on demand.

However, what has incited many a person into terrorism, is that the vast
majority of civilised countries make use of "covert operations" which most
of the citizens of those countries do not even suspect. It means that the
governments of these civilised countries condone secretly assassinations n
enemies of their countries. Ordinary citizens, when learning of such
covert operations, think that it is merely extraordinary measures which
have to be taken against terrorism. However, none of these secret
assassinations would ever stand up in an open court of law.

It is plain foolish to claim that any particular religion may easily
digress into fundamentalistic sects and even terrorism. Terrorism as a
"religion of death" has occurred among all the major religions from time
to time through the centuries. Terrorism has also occurred where no major
religion was involved, but other things like language, ethnicity, land and
even wealth. It is also plain foolish to claim that a particular religion
is lenient on terrorism or even condones it. All religions have three
properties, one being that God is the Creator of life. None profess that
God is the ultimate destroyer of life. Thus terrorism as a "religion of
death" is in direct opposition to all major religions.

Even though terrorism is a religion of hell with the devil as caretaker of
hell (the murderer of people and the father of the lie as Jesus put it),
we have to love the terrorists (not terrorism) rather than judging them.
St Paul had been a terrorist. Jesus put an end to his terrorism, but not
to Paul self. At first the Christians did not want to believe Paul's
conversion. How can a man helping at the stoning of the first martyr
Stephan change so dramatically? It also took Paul himself afterwards some
dozen years of authentic learning before he could preach Christ with

As soon as we stop judging terrorists, we will learn that terrorists are
humans who had self been hurt immensely. Terrorists also have an immense
sense of duty to those who had been hurt in the same manner as they were.
Nobody has taught the terrorist how to rework this hurt in any
constructive way. Since their hurt resulted from destructive creativity,
and since this is the experience which they had which led to their most
deviated tacit knowledge, the only thing which they can do is to
articulate their hurt with destructive creativity too. They do this so
exceptional that they ultimately reach the phase of "religion of death".

To expect from the terrorist constructive creativity is like expecting a
fig tree to bear apples as fruit. Because of no constructive experiences,
the terrorist has no knowledge how to transform from a fig tree into an
apple tree. We cannot expect Jesus to appear before every terrorist as He
did on the road to Damascus before a Saulus of Tarsus. Since the terrorist
does not know how to seek the experiences of constructive creativity, we
who know will have to afford the terrorist such experiences. We will have
to go to the road on which the terrorist is travelling, stand in front of
the person, and ask why he/she brings death and destruction. Some white
South Africans did in Dakar and learned just as much of their own country
as of the terrorists.

I think that we will have to become more like Jesus. It is we who have to
love rather than to hate terrorists. It is we who have to dignify
terrorists rather than to judge them. It is we who have to take away their
hurt with deeds of compassion rather than deeds of revenge. It is not the
terrorists who have to pay with their lives for the death which they have
caused, but we who have to show them what it is to live. It is not they
who have to heal themselves, but we who have to convince them with care
that terrorism is a "religion of death". I think we have to become more
like Jesus.

What worries me extremely is that we can easily detect the physical death
caused by a terrorist, but not the spiritual death caused by any person.
Just look or a heart beat or a brain wave and declare the victim as alive
or dead. Can we detect with the same ease the spiritual death caused by
any person? Should we be able to do so and should we arrange a meeting
with terrorists, we will soon discover that although they are physically
alive, they are spiritually dead. That is why they embrace terrorism as a
"religion of death".

Did the terrorists commit "spiritual suicide"? No, somebody else was
responsible for their "spiritual homicide". Terrorists usually point the
finger at some or other human organisation rather than individuals which
was responsible for them becoming terrorists. They will also give their
reasons. That organisation then usually denies the accusation, giving its
own reasons. The fact that an organisation is involved in the accusation
and that it cannot learn more of the terrorist points to a serious
deficiency in that organisation. It is not a Learning Organisation.

It is for me as if the eyes of many a terrorist tell me about wanting hate
to be replaced by love, revenge by forgiveness and judgement by dignity.
The terrorist is a human just like you and me, except for having got
ensnared in terrorism as a "religion of death". St Paul realises it when
he exclaims that our war is not against flesh and blood, but against the
evil spirits of darkness seeking death. Do we not seek death in our
civilised world when speaking of war and capital punishment? Are we not
sheltering and supporting the spirits of darkness and all "religions of
death" with such talk? To live and let live or to die and cause death,
that is what we have to decide upon.

In Part 4 we will begin to look into solving the problem of terrorism.

I pray for those who want to understand terrorism.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <Richard@Karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.