At the risk of alienating many of my fellow Americans, I’ve had another thought regarding the death of Osama bin Laden. Actually, this struck me yesterday, but I’ve put off putting it into words until now.
Several pieces I’ve read since yesterday have referred to the expectation that, though bin Laden is dead, we don’t expect Al Quaida to simply close up shop. Leader, mastermind, moneyman though he may have been, no one reasonably expects Sunday’s mission to make the world safe. At this point, I’m not even sure I buy Obama’s declaration that the world is safer.
In working with at-risk youth, our ministry uses a particular teaching regarding de-escalation of potential violent situations. It is called the assisting process. I won’t put you through all the details of it (though perhaps I should another time), but, for now, will bring up just one point in the process.
When one has gotten the potentially violent person to a place of stablility and willingness to talk, the question one puts to them is “What do you want?” “What do you really want?”
I have no doubt this works with heated situations between individuals. I believe this strongly enough I thin kit would be worth trying between nations and organizations.
What does Al Quaida want? What do other terrorist organizations want?
Our answer to this question, especially immediately following September 11, 2001, was that they want to inflict pain and suffering on us.
We made their actions all about us. Mighty self-centered of us to assume it’s all about us, don’t you think?
Please understand; I’m not saying that the solution to terrorism is for civil folk to simply give them whatever they want. Neither, however, is the solution to attribute motives to them from only our limited perspective.
Let’s face it; no one likes not being listened to. No one appreciates not having a voice. Some people would do almost anything to be heard.
Terrorism is not dead. The world is not safe. It might get just a bit safer if we all commit ourselves to actually listening to others.