In all the reporting, analysis and dissection of the events in Paris in which jihadists murdered innocent people, then pulled the plug on their suicide vests and blew themselves up, I have yet to hear anyone truly look deep enough into the motivation of the young people who did this horrific deed.
We’ve heard talk of terrorism, of building a caliphate, of the defeat of Western civilization and expansive clichés of what went wrong with our worldwide intelligence services, the new strategies of warfare in the digital age and hundreds of other glib explanations and proposals for defeating the forces of jihad.
But no one, it seems, ever got to the real nub, the act itself, the heart of the issue: Why did these young people, and hundreds before them, weaponize their bodies and destroy their lives after randomly massacring innocent people while shouting “Allahu Akbar” as if the act itself were an approved religious practice as interpreted in the Koran?
Let’s hold on answering that question and juxtapose it with heartbreaking images of vast numbers of Muslim refugees, holding their beloved small children, fleeing the horror of war, enduring danger, hardship and starvation to build a better life for their families. Many of these people are surely devout believers in their religion, willing to risk life and limb to escape possible certain death in their home countries.
If one asked these people on the run if they would approve of raising their beloved children to blow themselves up and celebrate such an act in the name of their religion, I feel certain that they would consider such a question sinister, mean spirited and biased. The overwhelming majority, in my opinion, would answer with a resounding “no.”
The answer then to my original question is not as complex as one might think. The suicide bombers have been manipulated and brainwashed by evil people, who are proficient in brainwashing these young men and women by using religion as the fulcrum on which to distort their views by assuring them that an afterlife awaits in a self-described paradise, outlined as the literal truth in their scriptures.
I know I am treading in dangerous territory. At the heart of most major religions is the view of the afterlife, the rewards of devotion and ritual, and the concept of God as the creator and ultimate judge. Whether such a concept is abstract, symbolic, or metaphysical I cannot avoid the logic of living as long a life as possible as central to the human experience.
Which brings us full circle back to brainwashing, the ability to pressure and persuade the vulnerable mind, by repetition, discipline, and sinister control, to murder themselves and others in the name of whatever cause might be chosen. It is the methodology of creating a cult.
I was introduced to this subject by personal experience. My son had been “captured” by a cult, a totally foreign concept to me then. He had been entrapped by sinister forces who knew the mechanics of brainwashing and rescuing him required unraveling what had been deliberately inserted into his mind by people who had learned the process to serve their own sinister motives.
Believe me, it is a thorough process and anyone, whether man, woman, or child of any persuasion or religious or political background is vulnerable to its indoctrination methods. Perhaps one day as we become more knowledgeable about the inner workings of the human brain we might gain a better understanding of how it occurs.
I have written numerous articles on this subject, including a number of novels, which reveal the methods employed by cults and I relate the complexity of human conflict that results in such practices. For many people confronted by acts of cruelty and evil as perpetrated by those who have been brainwashed, the motivation is muddled and unbelievable. Except that it is true. It is a perverted definition of the life force.
Why is it that those who are the teachers and persuaders of such acts evade putting on these suicide vests themselves?
Frankly, I am amazed that in all the tsunami of comment in the aftermath of the Paris massacre, this question was never discussed.
Worse, I am forced to wonder why those Muslims, good people, like those that are sacrificing and suffering to bring their children a better life, don’t rise up and mount a counter offensive against those who perpetrate heinous acts of murder and brutality in the name of their joint religion.
Surely it is time for those of the Muslim faith, whatever their adherence to the various offshoots of these major sects, to take arms against and reject those who would debase universal values in the name of their faith. Muslims who have migrated out of their once home countries, as millions have done, to prove their loyalty to their adopted country must rally around their countrymen of all faiths and races and help lead the fight against those who threaten the values for which they undertook their journey in the first place.
To those Muslims who are now part of the American fabric, who have escaped the tyranny and dead ends of the lands of their birth to champion the standards of their adopted countries, should they not raise their voices with the rest of us in one loud unashamed and deeply felt God Bless America?
Whatever the God of choice, we are all Americans.
Warren Adler’s new novel, Torture Man, which explores Jihadist terrorism, is slated to be released on December 1st.