During my twenty-eight years on Earth, there has always been war. Just to name a few, there was the Gulf War, the Somali Civil War, The Bosnian War, The Kosovo War, The War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War. This doesn't include the extensive list that spans back for centuries, prior to me.
We are now and have been at war against terrorists and we are losing. Amidst finger pointing from both sides pertaining to gun control laws, foreign policy and the refugee crisis, I can't help but think it goes so much deeper than that. All of the above listed are variables, changing and adapting over time as technology has expanded and our views about the world have broadened. The only true constant, the one common denominator, seems to be the one topic that most haven't addressed: The Children.
As you read this, little boys are being rounded up within their cities. They are watching their parents get murdered. Some are even being forced to participate. They are witnessing their sisters getting raped or sold into sex slavery. Standing in the middle of such carnage, all senses overloaded with the sights, sounds and smells of violence, they are confused. They are afraid. The men in charge know this. They feed on it and use it to their advantage.
Fear is a powerful tool. Fear, over time, can be replaced with a deep well of hatred. Hatred for other countries, other religions, other genders and sexual orientations. When your hatred is so deep-seated, so extreme; you can't see beyond it. You can no longer think for yourself. We constantly look to one another in times of societal tragedy and ask why this happened. How could someone do something so terrible? It is cruel beyond our general capacity, so we can't make sense of it. But that's the thing about fear. It starts as a tiny seed and grows in the direction of whoever's watering it.
Those little boys are being handed weapons and taught to execute all that go against what the group stands for. They are being force fed the edicts of these groups. They are willingly strapping bombs to themselves and walking into large crowds. They are told that women have no value and are perpetuating the cycle of sexual violence. They are only rewarded when they beget the fear and hatred that were instilled in them.
We can bomb the terrorists' headquarters and operations centers. We can send our troops into battle in an effort to dismantle these hate groups. Maybe it will quiet things down for a little while, but it won't eradicate them. War will never be a thing of the past until we unite to make a serious impact on our future. The only way to do that is through the children, both our own and those across the world.
There are many factors that lead to terrorism. One of those begins right here however, with us.