A comedian joked that terrorists would never try to hijack an Air Jamaica flight because they knew they would first be ignored, then ridiculed, then beaten into submission by its passengers. Although some of us “yardies” are quick to wrath, we generally would have no motivation to engage in extremist activities.
Unfortunately that is not the case for our radical Muslim brothers and sisters elsewhere in the world. As a group, there’s an estimated 25 percent of Muslims internationally who are so angry, so vengeful toward the West, that they are willing to kill themselves in exacting revenge for transgressions they have probably never been affected by.
The attacks in France, the most recent in the years-long onslaught wrought by extremists around the world claiming to represent the Islamic faith, is a clear indication of how pervasive the radical movement continues to become. And that pervasiveness reflects how many of our young people feel like they need a place to belong. It’s a shame they’re only finding comfort in the welcoming arms of leaders who fuel their loneliness and anger.
But it’s a reflection of many systems in our society. Powerful unscrupulous men recruit the poor and disenfranchised who will do almost anything because of their gratitude for crumbs and a perceived safe haven. To compare, I’d look at the drug gangs in the Caribbean and South America. The leaders use promises of persecution or protection and promises of financial benefit, to woo the wayward into their organizations. They recruit from among those who have been told they will never amount to anything, and who reflect anger because they feel they can’t find understanding except from other angry people.
While we can compare the profiles of the people that find themselves drawn to despicable company, what the radical extremists do is incomparable. Perhaps the long way out begins with convincing more of the young, angry and purposeless who join these organizations that there is a place for them and that they really are worth more than a few crumbs and the safe haven of a certain and premature death.
Calibe Thompson is the producer and host of “Island Origins” Caribbean lifestyle TV series, premiering Monday, December 7th at 10:00PM on South Florida’s BECON-TV (Ch 63 / Comcast 19). Visit www.islandoriginstv.com.