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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Can Books Counter Terrorism?



The devastating terrorist attacks in Paris this past weekend reminded the world how some people are so committed to the death of innocent people that the perpetrators of such violence would sacrifice their own lives.  There is no way to completely stop the violence that consumes nations, terrorists, gangs, or individuals, but we can always hope to reduce the number of these unnecessary and unfortunate killings.  Armies and the police can only do so much to keep us safe.  In addition to their services, we need to enlist another source of help: Authors.

Yes, I believe writers of books can play a big role in helping to bring about a more peaceful, loving, and safe society.  Now I know you are probably thinking that I’m a liberal do-gooder who naively thinks we can solve the world’s problems through talking and education, but the fact is the world is a violent place and what we’ve been doing has not fully worked to bring peace and security across the globe.  Why not seek alternative methods?

So, what could a writer do to bring about peace?  The power of the writer is his intellect and her imagination, and the author’s ability to put things into context.  Writers, like others, want justice and for us to live in a fair world.  Can writers lead the way to peace, without firing a gun shot, igniting a bomb, or throwing a punch?

What if we recruited an army of writers, each tasked with a specific mission?  Each writer would write about some aspect of terrorism, war, crime, or violence.  He or she would seek to propose unique solutions to the crisis they write on. More importantly, others would need to be drafted to promote these books so that those who need to read them the most do so.  This will require an effort to spread literacy as well.  Perhaps we use audiobooks for those who don’t/can’t read.  We must use the weapons of peace – pens and keyboards – to puncture the balloon of violence engulfing the streets of all nations.

We already have many books written about peace and how to stop the violence.  I don’t believe they are read by those who need to read them.  I also believe many of these books are written in a way that takes one side over another. We need books with real creative ideas on how to stop the violence and bring about a world that everyone values enough to want to live in it and to do so in a way that doesn’t force others to enslavement, subjugation, or death.

Books that say we should bomb everyone are not the answer, nor are books that support appeasement or isolationism.  We need a way to understand, negotiate with, and co-exist with those who find us detestable, and vice versa.  It’s not easy, but it’s the only way.

The power of books to inspire, influence, and enlighten is proven, but we must go beyond such success.  We need a global effort to inform, educate, and lead others to live a life filled with peace and love, and not violence and hatred.

Perhaps the reason there are so many conflicting ideologies and violence to support them is that the world lacks a cohesive mission statement.  We let too many things serve as barriers to us from getting to know and appreciate each other. Something is gravely wrong when people put death over life, when they are willing to commit to hate instead of love, when they see the world as a battleground and not a shared community.

It’s easier to understand when someone desperately resorts to violence when they feel wronged, disenfranchised, and isolated, such as when Americans revolted against the British.  We can’t have a world of haves and have nots without expecting violence.  This certainly needs to be addressed and may come down more to dividing wealth and resources more equitably.  But the violence in Paris is less understandable and harder to stop because it’s driven by a faulty ideology that has no solution other than for one group to die and for another to rule.  It’s insanity at its worst.  There’s nothing to negotiate.

Books are great at helping people learn how to improve their lives and to live a more fulfilling life.  We now have to call upon our best authors to dedicate themselves to leading us to peace.  It won’t be easy.  Every president and military general of every land of every era has failed us when it comes to bringing about a lasting peace.

We need new ideas or new ways to see existing ones.
We need all sides to read the same books.
We need everyone to feel invested in the same world.
We need peace, or at least the hope of it coming soon.

Otherwise, the events in Paris will repeat themselves elsewhere, with greater intensity and frequency.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2015

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