Our eyes and hearts mirror the anguish and sadness caused by terrorism. Many do not understand how there can be people willing to commit such atrocities against other human beings.
Hate, thirst for revenge and resentment arises quickly. We judge the terrorists, we want them to rot in hell and we think they are psychopaths, real murderers full of contempt for the West.
The reality, however, is quite distinct. No one is born with the desire to destroy another people, no one feels hatred in vain. Man is good by nature, or at least he has the possibility of being so. When he is born, he is just a child whose only desire is to play and be happy, but as the years go by and as a result of the world we have created, he learns, in a defective way, certain ways of thinking and behaving. It is then that he turns into a monster, even if, in reality, he is nothing more than a victim.
Les chevaux de dieu : the other side of terrorism
With the passing times a book comes to mind that is fundamental in these moments. It is called Les chevaux de dieu and is inspired by the novel by the Moroccan writer Mahi Binebine, Les étoiles de Sidi Moumen (The Stars of Sidi Moumen). Chevaux de dieu , or horses of God, is how Moroccan boys who sacrifice themselves are nicknamed where the imam tells them and refers to the way in which, as faithful, they will reach heaven and surround themselves with magnificent huri, galloping, as horses do.
Binebine’s book is of an impressive realism. It tells the harsh reality of some young people who live in a marginal neighborhood in Morocco, coming from disadvantaged families, aware that they will never have the future they aspire to; the only thing they will get, however, as happened to their grandparents and their parents, is misery and misfortune.
What happens with the self-esteem of these hopeless kids? Evidently, it is destroyed, it has no reason to exist. They are aware that they can aspire, at best, to sell oranges on the street and to pray to earn the minimum to eat.
It is then that hope, light, that person who finally promises them meaning in their lives, comes into play. The imam, in a pleasant and warm way, puts within their reach, or rather makes them believe, that they have the opportunity to escape that poverty. Not only does it give them hope through words that would boost any individual’s self-esteem, but it guarantees them paradise, with all that that entails. He persuades these young people by telling them that they can make themselves useful and do something great, that the end justifies the means.
Matter of little intelligence? Absolutely not. They are certainly intelligent kids, who if they had received an education, they could have gone far. The problem is that education and culture are conspicuous by their absence and are worth absolute zero for those who hold power.
When the human being feels completely hopeless, he is willing to cling to anything, although not being in such a desperate situation he could condemn the solution he opts for. The imam is able to seduce these boys, so that they take their own lives and sow terror.
What is the solution?
According to what has been commented, it is clear that the solution to these barbarities committed in the East and the West is to foster the integration of these children, invest time, effort and money on their education, so as not to have to know so much despair and become, therefore, easy prey for imams.
The long-term solution is not to reinforce the security forces and ignore the basis of the problem, in fact the more we invest in security, the greater the number of attacks. It will be easier for the radicals to persuade them by telling them that they are facing a war in which they can only fight, than the only act of courage they can demonstrate is to take their own lives to exterminate their “enemies”.
It is necessary to intervene at the root of the problem, on the cause, on the lack of opportunities and, in this way, it will be much more complicated for this capture to take place. We must offer and spread culture, we must open a window of opportunity instead of closing the shutters to prevent a glimmer of light from entering. In this way, they will be the ones to say no.
How many times has it happened to us, obviously in much less relevant situations, to feel dejected and to let ourselves be carried away by emotions, making the worst possible decisions? If all of us were able to put ourselves in these guys’ shoes, we would be closer to the solution of what is happening.
Commentary Note : Let us remember that psychology has shown that circumstances have enormous power. Innocent pupils can turn into terrible tyrants, as happened with the Standford prison experiment or the Milgram experiment.
The intention of this article is to encourage reflection on the “eye for an eye” message that circulates continuously after each attack. Understandable for the impact that terrorist acts cause, but far from a possible solution that puts an end to them definitively.