From Extremist Anxiety to Peaceful Certainty

By Asmaa Muhammad Yusuf

  • | Sunday, 28 August, 2022
From Extremist Anxiety to Peaceful Certainty

      Martin Luther King once said, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Unfortunately, till today the international community has been witnessing a sequence of tragic accelerating events around the globe resulting in losing thousands of lives based on race, gender, color, or religion. This makes us wonder: are there any societies that do not seek to maintain peace, diversity, integrity and citizenship? The fact is that all societies do search for ways to establish peaceful coexistence. Yet, there are many challenges and risks in the way to do this. So, let’s inquire into the reasons behind such a vicious cycle to be able to turn this state of extremist anxiety into peaceful certainty one day.
Extremism is a multi-faceted issue that cannot be tackled from a unilateral aspect. Its reasons depend on the motivations behind the violent behavior that affect the way people think and behave. One of these motivations may be the economic factor which is partly responsible for extremism. Many extremist groups exploit it to recruit more and more followers, luring them with high positions and salaries. They target the “resentful qualified” youth; those who are highly qualified and ambitious but have not got their appropriate chance yet. Other extremist groups focus on the social dimension, targeting those people who suffer from domestic violence, bigotry, social exclusion or seek to establish their own identity. While the extremist motivations of the religion-based terrorist armed groups and far-right movements differ, their extremist ideologies of segregation are considered two sides of the same coin. 
Terrorist anxiety is a state of anxiety and fear of violent attacks and terrorism. It spreads rapidly and is not limited to the direct victims of the attacks only. By a way or another, not only the family members of victims and survivors are easily affected but also those who have access to media coverage of these incidents. In fact, the psychological effect is greater than the physical one. Therefore, we can truly argue that countless innocents are suffering anguish over the consequences of extremist recruitment that build an awful mainstream of otherizing, and judging people based on their race, color, religion, gender, etc. 
In this respect, “Bee The Difference”, a research project by and for young Manchester survivors, has recently conducted a survey, inviting all who were affected during the Manchester Arena bombing in 2017, whether directly or indirectly, to express themselves for the first time. The survey seeks to identify what will be more appropriate to help terrorism survivors to lead a new optimistic life. The more people express their experiences, the better outcomes will be. One of the participants said, “No one should have to go through a traumatic event and suffer in silence.”  Expressing oneself and one’s fears relieves a person from their pains and allows them to go on with life with more enthusiasm and agile spirit. This helps one also to overcome the feeling of being oppressed or inferior. Here, it is worth quoting former American First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt who said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”.
 Hardships do not mean the end of the world as there is always a way out you have not thought about yet. The ideology of resistance usually refers to the transitional phase from stereotypes affecting people’s thoughts and behaviors to the experience of engagement and solidarity; there’s a green light at the end of the tunnel. Many survivors of terrorist attacks narrate their experiences of suffering, pointing out that what has shielded them from hatred and seeking after retribution is the human fraternity attitude. They focus on breaking out preconceptions in order to turn the tragedy of terrorist attacks into a high motive for integration and saving others.  

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