Deprivation. One of the main ingredients. Frustration. Another important ingredient. Intelligence. Ahh, yes. Not all the ingredients needed for creating a terrorist have negative connotations.
Once upon a time I was a little boy growing up in the city of North Arlington, New Jersey. I wore glasses in the first grade. I was the only child in my class who wore glasses. I was also Jewish, which made me more of a minority. I was chubby and short and not a good fighter, which meant that I was afraid of those who bullied me.
There were those who bullied me for various reasons, some of which I stated above. It angered me to be beaten up by anyone. The boys who picked on me were bigger and stronger, and fear got the best of me. I thought of myself as a coward, which did not do anything for my self-esteem, which was minus 67 degrees Centigrade (due to parental dysfunction) and by the time I was 12 years old, suicide was an option.
I sought the company of other children, some like myself, and we began to run in a small pack. There were the bigger boys, the super-school patriots who excelled in sports, there were the good kids with the proper nurturing that thrived, then there were us.
I had a rough summer between seventh and eighth grade at a camp which I despised, but I learned a trick that season which, although it was an anti-social coping skill (in some instances), served me well when I went back to school.
I learned that the bigger stronger guy doesn’t always have to be the winner of a fight. Technique was everything.
I entered eighth grade and one of my old tormentors let me know that he was going to “kick my little four-eyed ass” after school. I was afraid but I had built so much resentment and had so much simmering anger within me that I decided, out of sheer terror and desperation, to try one of the techniques I learned from two city kids who had befriended me at camp.
It was lunchtime and the school cafeteria was hustling with activity. My nemesis was chowing down, unconcerned, because he thought he knew the outcome of the battle.
I came quietly up behind him, lifted a cafeteria chair over my head and smashed it down on him. I hit him with the chair again and again, the years of resentment and anger flowing through me into the chair, before the teachers dragged me off of him. And when they were taking me to the principal’s office, I snarled at him, “If you come after me, I’ll get you one way or another. You don’t have eyes in the back of your head.”
I had learned a tactic of terror. It isn’t always the man with the biggest fist who wins. Sometimes technique is everything.
Likewise, it isn’t always the country with the most modern weapon system, the most aircraft, and the largest armies which wins. I have to say, right now, no one is winning except the terrorists. Innocent people died here. Innocent people are dying over in Afghanistan.
Every time the bombs drop, the recipe is completed for more terrorists to be created. They will become the enemy of whoever they perceive to be the most arrogant power that bullies their land into submission.
A terrorist is born every minute. He lives in poverty; his skin is the wrong colour and his life is nothing like ours here in the United States. Because the survival rate is so poor there for children, only the strongest live.
He grows muscular, his eyes are keen, his hand are familiar with tools we know nothing about. He is taught notions that our fat, stuffed lazy minds don’t even need to consider, notions our sensibilities can never agree with. He sees his land ripped apart by our bombs, his sisters die in his arms because of hunger or lack of antibiotics due to embargoes, his mother prostitutes herself for a mean wage so not all of her children die. He sees who she sleeps with.
When someone places the rifle of death in his hands, he will know who to place in the crosshairs of the gun, then there will be no doubt in his mind.
In his world there are no innocents. All of the innocents are dead. Only he is left, guilty of one thing: remaining alive while those he loved died. Guilty of remaining alive. And soon, soon, he will remedy that.
Here he comes, riding over our sad city streets, driving taxi cabs, flying our planes, using our mail systems, using even our own media against us.
He has technique. He also has company, many brothers from his village.
And they know us. They have come to walk among us, single minded, relentless in their purpose, ready to die. The finished product of a recipe of deprivation, frustration, fear, starvation, hopelessness, intelligence and a belief system which, for them, really works.