Scenario: Berlin, December 19th, 2016 – It is a wonderful pre-Christmas evening, with a clear sky, lots of stars, and a bit fresh. A family meets with a bunch of children in front of a movie theatre in order to celebrate the 12th birthday of their beloved son. The friends welcome each other with a bright smile, laughter, and full of enthusiasm. As happy as they entered to see the film, that happy they spent their time and left again. Their parents were waiting and the gifts were exchanged. The music of the Christmas market filled the air, and one of the fathers thought it would be great to spend some time there with the boys. But it was late, almost eight o’clock, and everybody left … Ten minutes later, being back home, it was shared on the news that the Christmas market, turned out to be the target of a terrorist attack. Berlin, December 20th, 2016.
Impressions: Still a block to walk to the Christmas market, a strange atmosphere, lots of people in the area, silence – silence all over, Christmas market closed, police, press, cameras, people crying, rushing photographers, silence – silence all over … Berlin, December 25th, 2016 – People gather at the Christmas Market at night in order to protest in collectivity against strategic destabilization of society by global terrorist attacks.
Civil Resistance and Cosmetic Treatment of Terrorism: Ladies and Gentlemen, in order to start this reflection, I would like to state that my thoughts and best wishes are with the victims of terrorist attacks, social and individual abuse, and strategic violence, not on a local level only but on a global one.
Our current epoch of globalization and worldwide media information range makes us face challenges that we possibly were not prepared to deal with. Communication, obviously a central pillar of our life in this century, creates immense benefits but also causes difficulties, namely by offering a multitude of ways that may be used for organized abuse – such as spreading fake news on purpose and using virtual communication services for raising fear and mobilizing copycats that follow calls of radicalized groups. The monopoly of mass media channels suffered a take-over by individual bloggers and committed individuals who work for ‚good‘ or ‚bad‘, while such definition is up to each of us. According to the mass of headlines and content that we have to deal with, I would like to name a few that recently crossed our news lines, such as German Foreign Minister, Frau Von der Leiden, who supports Nigeria with items for counter-terrorist actions valuing 4.200.000,- Euro; Police Brigades, Undercover Units, and Special Forces work day and night to prevent extremist activities, and to enable mankind to cherish a balanced life.
Obviously, all three of these actions are important to us, forming part of civil society. The question that comes to my mind is if such projects really prevent us from future attacks by radicalized individuals or groups. Personally, I think such reactions by our governmental authorities do not catch up with the level of attention that terrorism demands. It may be a public visual and well to share content that intends to make us feel safer. To me, it is a cosmetic treatment of terrorism at the most superficial level possible. And it is a shame that state authorities sell us the idea that this is the best way to counter extremist attacks.
If we break down terrorism to what it may be in its inner core, we may note that it is basically an act of communication. Yes, communication realized by one or more specific group(s) that follow up on non-noted or well-ignored interests by a national or the international community. I guess it is surprising to one or the other of you to hear that such ways of communication are not totally alien to the international diplomatic forces. Diplomatic services often communicate in a very similar way for example by atomic tests, by financing the weapon industry, or even by certain ways that cause destabilization of nations. Lots of actions that take place on our globe are critical but still within a legal environment because often they are not communicated in public, such as putting financial pressure on countries by cutting off trade agreements. From the point on, when we look behind the curtain of mass media, we can discover which parties support each other, and who works on different levels attempting to achieve similar goals.
What I ask you to reflect on is the complex ability to mislead us by biased information. Terrorism, as we know it today, is definitely not fought on a superficial level. And this is a fact that every politician, sociologist, and psychologist may confirm. It all starts with a confession, namely the confession that confirms that the needs and interests of social groups were ignored. As time went by, such movements manifested and became strategically radicalized by supporters who have a financial interest in initiating an escalated or armed conflict and in sustaining such. The only suitable and sustainable way of countering terrorism may be to prevent it in the future. How this may take place? Well, not with weapons at all, but by investing in teacher’s skills, in educating social workers, in culture – arts and sports. It is about avoiding people becoming outsiders of the community, it is about investing time – and more than anything else: It is about Critical Thinking. As José Marti said: It is the first task of every human to think properly. May Critical Thinking be our contribution towards Civil Resistance. Resistance against mass abuse by strategic misleading information channels. Be aware that we have the power to avoid consuming such media. If we stand up for this, all misleading data will stay parked in the orbit.