Reducing Radicalisation

This burning question begins to trouble us all once again with this new and horrific event perpetrated on a quiet Woolwich street in london on that fateful day in May 2013
It is of course all too easy for commentators to inevitably launch into the kind of rhetoric which is unhelpful and inflammatory at this point which has once again happened but the question still remains hanging in the air unanswered despite all the public recriminations
Consider for a moment a window in time and what brings the lives of two disparate young people together
One has the benefit of a loving home life, a good education, health happiness, the respect of friends and colleagues, an honourable calling and expectations of success.
Another has none of these things,in fact quite the opposite, their home life may have constantly described them as useless and stupid, this was reinforced in a school where results, results and more results were the holy grail and teachers excluded them on that basis, this then minimised their chances of worthwhile and valuable work whilst all around them were pictures and examples of rampant consumerism which they are financially excluded from.
Let’s now describe how they might see themselves. The first is proud , has self esteem, confidence and their personal values and beliefs give them a positive world view which says if I work hard I will achieve all I want in my life and I am valued by society at large.
The other however is not able to say any of those things about themselves and in fact may say I am valueless. I am not valued or respected by others or society at large, I am denigrated as a person in the popular media and the groups I belong to are openly despised and ridiculed, but I also want the same things the other person has but when I look forward to the rest of my life I see I may never have those things in this society into which I was born.
This is not necessarily defined by social characteristics such as race, gender, religion, socio economic conditions, one political group or a different class although it maybe exacerbated by any or several of them in each individual case and can apply to anyone who finds themselves excluded, disenfranchised and unwanted by others, with no sense of belonging. Belonging being one of the most powerful and important emotions that we as human beings can feel giving us a raison d’etre and the glue that holds groups together no matter how small or large.
As in the case of a soldier who will feel all of the things in the first case and a murderer who will feel all of the things in the second case which then collide horrifically in a suburban London street.
How did the murderer begin to think he may feel all the honourable feelings imbued in the soldier by acting in this heinous way.
Was it the siren voices of others which said but we want you, we love and value you, we have an honourable calling which will make you somebody who matters and can be proud of in our world, just maybe those siren voices eventually begin to resonate in this disenfranchised young person and the blurring of the moral and ethical positions in that young person’s mind become a visual reality.
I know this maybe an uncomfortable truth but perhaps we are looking at this phenomenon in too superficial a way.
This maybe a problem of inequality and injustice and not any of the common and obvious hooks we like to use to rationalise this uncivilised behaviour, maybe just maybe we might start to approach the issue in a more lateral and broad minded way across society’s tranches of those disillusioned and excluded from what we call “society” and they call “them”
Perhaps the questions as a society we should be asking as did that brave woman who confronted the murderers is not only “What do you want?'” but also Why?

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