Think back: When did YOU last feel terrorized by somebody?

by Kathie MM

Camp Pendleton Counseling Services’ POWER Workshop is a program designed to help service members and their families overcome domestic violence and child abuse. This image is a work of a U.S. military or Department of Defense employee, taken or made as part of that person’s official duties. In the public domain.

The corporate media, when it does not have enough juicy crime and scandal stories to shock and awe, often provides us with a new episode in the “war on terror”.

Internationally, the dominant approach to combatting terror appears to be using or threatening more terror.

I think we know how well that has served us. (Is the world safer for democracy yet?)

Fundamentally, there appears to be little global appreciation for the complexity, the pervasiveness, the insidiousness of terrorizing–that is,  the human propensity to “fill with terror or anxiety,” “scare,” or “coerce by threat or violence.”

Let’s face it, wherever there is an imbalance of power, there is a potential for terrorizing.

Often, throughout history, in much of the world, men have terrorized women (including husbands terrorizing wives), first borns have  terrorized later borns (think of Cain and Abel), members of different gangs have  terrorized each other, bullies have terrorized whomever they can, and, sadly, the rich and powerful have terrorized the poor and meek (who seem to have a long way to go before they will be allowed to inherit the earth).

If we are going to have a successful war on terror, we need to take an ecological approach; that is, we need to tackle terrorizing at all levels of society—in the home, in the neighborhood, in the broader community, in states, and in the international community.

Terrorizing behavior is contagious—once you allow it into your home, it can go viral.

There are lots of efforts underway that can help inhibit terrorizing as a power-wielding, power-seeking tactic—domestic violence prevention programs, anti-bullying programs, women’s rights programs, civil rights programs, and a wide range of United Nations human rights initiatives.

All of these programs have flaws; after all, they were developed by human beings.  However, if you want to participate in the most general, most far-reaching, most likely-to-succeed war on terror, then supporting , defending, trying to improve, and contributing to the success of those programs is as good a place to start as any.

This entry was posted in Democracy, Human rights, Media, politics, Poverty, Propaganda, Protest, racism, social justice, Terrorism, Understanding violence and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Think back: When did YOU last feel terrorized by somebody?

  1. Gold Dust Twin says:

    There was an imbalance of power in my home when I was growing up in the 20s and 30s. My father’s word was law, and if any of us broke that law, a harsh punishment was sure to follow. I can remember sitting at the head of the basement stairs, my fists stifling my sobs as I wept for my screaming brother. This punishment was my fault, for leaving my tricycle in the driveway, where Mother didn’t notice it as she drove toward the garage and ran over it. My father never struck me, but he had an even worse punishment. I was banished to my room and forbidden to read. He knew I wouldn’t care about being sent to my room as long as I had a library book to take me away from my room, my house, my town. Ah, the power of books! And how unjust it felt to be prohibited from reading. Perhaps that prohibition wasn’t a form of terrorizing but it felt terribly unjust nevertheless.

    • Dot Walsh says:

      Having worked in a prison setting with men who were incarcerated due to domestic violence abuse I know firsthand about how violence begins with childhood when the child is the victim. If not addressed in later years the child becomes the abuser and the cycle continues unless there is positive intervention. Houses of Healing is an international program for men and women in prison that helps an individual to make life changes. The founder and Director Robin Casarjian has helped many people to find a different path that leads to learning new tools that contribute to gaining an understanding of emotions and actions.

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