Soap Opera for Social Change is an episode of PBS’s NOW about a Kenyan based soap television show that is attempting to “re-humanize” Keynan’s who are in different tribes. In recent years tribes have attacked and killed each other over political differences. The show tries to inspire Kenyan’s not to look at each other as being from different tribes, but to look everyone as still being on the same team. To look at each other as a team of people who despite not being from the same tribe, are at least from the same country, Kenya.
I found the episode inspiring because it uses a popular media format for social good. My chosen medium is video games and my passion is to use it for social good. Several comments from the actors and producers of the show really struck me. One of them was “re-humanizing” people who may be different in some way. The other was that people often resort to violence because they feel they are out of other options, that violence is their only solution.
When 9/11 happened, I was gun-ho blood thirsty for some vengeance and retribution. As the years passed I read more about war and terrorism and came to the conclusion that the US was going about it all wrong. That one can never stop terrorist violence by trying to kill the terrorist before they kill us. It only fuels the fire of hate that lead towards their participating in terrorism to begin with.
The people who are drawn to terrorism are no different from anyone else, but they have suffered greatly and believe they have no other options left than to commit an act of terrorism. The “global war on terrorism” is into its ninth year and in my eyes it’s only spreading. First it was Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Somalia and now it sounds like we’ll be focusing on Yemen for some time. Oh, and then there’s Pakistan, how could I forget? That’s five countries in 9 years where we have launched counter-terrorist operations, usually in the form of drone attacks that kill innocents. There is no slowing if the US continues this behavior and our vulnerability to a terrorist attack is more likely. The war is making us less safe.
Most terrorists are well educated and they must be to go to terrorist training camps. You think they pick up wooden clubs and beat each other like mindless brutes? No, they area in fast paced classes learning calculus and trigonometry and chemistry and dozens upon dozens of weapons names, stats and functionality. They’re smart and their anger is often justified.
The whole point of using military is to scare the enemy into quitting. But with most terrorists, they are fearless and actually welcome death to become a martyr. We can’t win with violence when the enemy welcomes it. We have to listen and by listening, we’ll be able to give them better solutions than resorting to terrorism. One way to stop the expansion of the “global war on terror” is to “re-humanize” the terrorists. We must understand where their hate comes from and it’s not because of our freedoms.
© 2010, Reid Bryant Kimball. All rights reserved.