An Endless Cycle of Violence

We seem to be locked into an endless cycle of ‘tit for tat’ violence – Israelis and Palestinians, Muslim extremists and the West. Every act by one engenders a violent response by the other. Once again, I believe Harari  is right when he describes what makes terror so successful:

“The state has created a huge space empty of political violence. This huge space acts as a sounding board, amplifying the impact of any armed attack, however small. The less political violence in a particular state, the greater the public shock at an act of terrorism. Killing 17 people in Paris draws far more attention than killing hundreds in Nigeria or Iraq. Paradoxically, then, the very success of modern states in preventing political violence make them particularly vulnerable to terrorism. An act of terror that would have gone unnoticed in a medieval kingdom can rattle much stronger modern states to their very core.

The state has stressed so many times that it will not tolerate political violence within its borders that it has no alternative but to see any act of terrorism as intolerable. The citizens, for their part, have become used to zero political violence, so the theatre of terror incites in them visceral fears of anarchy, making them feel as if the social order is about to collapse. After centuries of bloody struggles, we have crawled out of the black hole of violence, but we feel that the black hole is still there, patiently waiting to swallow us again. A few gruesome atrocities and we imagine that we are falling back in.”

For more of Harari on this subject see:

In fact, the West pays little heed to the daily violence visited on Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan that inflicts dozens, if not hundreds, of casualties on innocent peoples, whereas relatively fewer casualties in a Western country evokes horror and and an almost hysterical reaction and demand for vengeance. Both parties are guilty but there seems no end in sight to this cycle of violence.


Categories:Syria, Terrorism

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