I found myself getting swept away with this feeling that terrorism is a huge unsolvable problem; that only governments with big artilleries and lots of manpower can fight against. For short term solutions, maybe that’s what’s needed. But, terrorism is a grassroots (or sometimes individual) movement. So, the true, long term solution, must also be grassroots. There are only a relative handful of terrorists compared to the BILLIONS of the rest of us kind, friendly and upstanding citizens of the planet. The media is focused on terrorism right now and the biggest danger of all, is thinking that individual people are too small and insignificant to do something about it.
Make Everyone Feel a Sense of Belongingness
Where do you think terrorists recruit their fighters from? Many from our backyard. Why? Because whatever the terrorists are offering to their recruits (acceptance, respect, honor, etc) is more than what they’re being offered here. I’ve taught many bright, educated Muslim boys, and I hope and pray that I don’t see their face on the next suicide bomber news article. These kids are not evil heartless killers, and nor are their families… but the society they live in lets them know that they’re ‘different‘. We need to be friendly to each other and honour our differences. Respect each other’s cultures.
Also remember that terrorists are not just young Muslim boys, they come in every color, race and religion. Creating a sense of belongingness needs to extend to every member of our society. Look into the eyes of any person in the street. Are they really so different from you? No. Reach out to people. Smile. Be friendly. See that they are in the same boat as you. It sounds small, but creating a sense of belongingness is probably one of the most powerful things we can do to end violence in our society.
Uproot Ignorance, Hatred and Prejudice
If we want them to change, we first have to look at our own actions. Are we smearing hatred, doubt and poking fun of people all over social media and in our daily conversations? That needs to stop. Do we all know little about the different religions and cultures in the world? Are we teaching our children tolerance and acceptance? An education means nothing if the education does not include a little bit about human values, such as love, acceptance, belonging and compassion.
Energy Flows Where Attention Goes
Terrorists have just as much access to social media and the internet as we do. They know the stories that catch the bait. Do you need to go on reading story after story about what happened? It’s not to say that you stick your head in the sand and ignore everything that’s going on. But, the more energy you give to their actions, the more it fuels their fire. Also, the more you read and share these stories over and over, and the more you talk about how the world is an ‘evil‘ place, the more these things start happening. Your mind gets consumed over how ‘bad‘ everything is and you’ll notice that you walk down the street with a frown on your face.
Meditate, Pray, Keep Your Vibrations Positive
We are all connected to each other and feelings and emotions are catching. There are scientific studies to back this up. If you walk into a room with a grumpy miserable person, how do you feel after a few minutes? You’ll most likely also find yourself feeling grumpy. Alternatively, if you walk into a room where everyone is happy, you will also begin to feel happy. The more we keep ourselves happy, the more the people around us will have a better chance of keeping happy… and so on. Our actions affect the people around us. Happy people, connected to the society, don’t kill other people. So, whatever you need to do to keep yourself from brooding over the past or feeling miserable, find a way! It’s our responsibility to this planet to keep our own attitude positive so that we can positively influence others. Of course, we all get down in the dumps sometimes, and it’s not easy to pull yourself up, but we need to find a way to not get stuck in our negative emotions. Whatever it is; meditation, praying, singing, dancing, doing community service… do it! Uplift yourself and those around you.
Don’t for a second believe that you are not strong enough to do anything about terrorism. You have a heart. You have a brain. You have been blessed with life on this planet. You can make a difference. Be helpful to others. Be friendly. Have compassion. Be aware that your actions affect others.