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Further Noes Against Old Delusions of Extremism

Dr. Mansour Al-Shammari The Secretary-General of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology – “Etidal”

Incitement operations represent a problem for countries. They often led to extremist speeches, resulting in ripples of destructive emotions, which ended, as with every loose ideology, in violent confrontations. Despite the slogans these speeches raise in terms of the promised ideals, their reality and details reveal their inhuman essence and nonexistence nature, so the rhetorical charge represents an open gateway to potential violence that threatens all factors of societal stability.

Extremism generally focuses on creating a fully-fledged discourse system at the lexical and rhetorical level, to create and draw the features of an enemy that embodies the key to all various mechanisms of antagonism and polarization. There is no extremism without an explicit enemy, and there is no hostility without extremist speech that makes the recipient ready to destroy this imagined enemy, in order to entrench in the extremist’s mind that there is no way to achieve the imaginary ideals in his view without eliminating that enemy!

Therefore, the danger is to push nations to confront imagined enemies. The root of this danger – on which this article is based – is that entering into the wrong battle for the nations is to neglect the future, which dispel the opportunities of multiple generations that will inevitably find themselves, after decades, struggling and observing how the major transformations of the world have overtaken them, while their countries were immersed in confrontations that had nothing to do with the real challenges posed by the actual reality of this world.

The task of identifying and distinguishing the enemy accurately in the midst of confrontations is what distinguishes successful strategies in crisis management. It is a task entrusted to the country alone, and it is not right and cannot be competed with any other party. Thus, the only enemy is the one that the country identifies on the basis of its security system and interests. Regardless of agitation, it is not possible for anyone to understand precisely, and timely, the true differences between enemy and friend regarding the interests and harms of the country except the country itself, because a matter like this requires a lot of foresight, and requires enablers in the competent national institutions to provide what is necessary to build decisions and rulings of such crucial and importance.

Here, we remember that the end of World War II resulted in a transformation of hostility from its geographical dimension to a transcontinental ideological dimension, which generated a wave of militia extremism that prevailed in the 50s and 60s of the last century. Its tradition spread to the Arab region with armed movements, whether in a leftist or religious form, which led the world to go through a moment of ideological wandering, one of the characteristics of which was a retreat towards a wave of nationalist extremism that tried to invoke justifications for ancient conflicts. However, the leaders of this racist or ethnic tendency were quickly eliminated and engaged in adopting political solutions to manage conflicts. However, leaders of this racist or ethnic tendency were quickly eliminated and engaged in adopting political solutions to manage conflicts, but there were those who violated the historical date of this era in the name of imagined enemies, and this is what squandered the capabilities of many countries in wars that have no justification other than the loss of the ideological compass due to speeches that based their influence on the emotional dimension of the nations. Thus, there were those who chose military approaches when it was necessary for them to seize opportunities of economic competition, which was at its peak in the periods after World War II and the beginning of the new world system.

Today, we are watching how the features of the world have changed and new challenges have emerged, in light of the acceleration of threats to human survival itself, such as the scarcity of natural resources and the cases of unrest, ideological polarization, or violent conflicts with different forms and justifications that they may cause. However, there are leaders and rulers who have realized the fact that interaction with such a challenge, is the actual enemy whose dangers must be countered with full determination and strength. It adopted sustainable development efforts and a creative use of natural elements to protect life from its enemies. It made major projects based on a future vision which is the core of its policies and highest priority. It knows, for example, that water scarcity and conflict will cause a wave of catastrophic chaos, which must create a vital space for the growth of extremist ideas and the spread of terrorist and criminal groups that are good at exploiting such vital crises. It is known that extremism preys on its victims through the outbreak of various crises.

We can also bring to mind in this regard the possible demographic explosions in the coming decades, or the viral mutations that may be created which will cause catastrophic pandemics exploited by groups and organizations, as it happened with Covid 19 pandemic. We have followed how extremism has grown in light of this unique situation that was difficult to comprehend quickly, whether on a legal or moral level. So, success in managing that crisis was an influential factor in aborting extremists’ opportunism, and stopping the accompanying rhetorical and emotional noise.

A balanced policy now is determined by the extent of the serious focus on the real battle for humanity, and the effort to counter every discourse that promotes in the name of outdated slogans to side battles and imaginary enemies that are passed down through ages, in order to justify nihilistic projects that are based in their essence on the discourse of destruction, erasure, and revenge. These are all dangerous speeches that have no concern for lives or future of humanity.

Fortunately, there is an awareness frontline that is making every effort to restore respect for the sanctity of life and the stability of nations. It is betting on the involvement of all of humanity in taking precautions and action against the environmental enemy that is approaching us day after day. We can summarize the structure of this project in three new noes: one concerns inherited conflicts, a second concerns the neglect of vital natural elements – water, air and soil -, and a third stands with sustained strength and resolve in the face of every extremist ideology that cheapens life. This includes saying yes to three necessary affirmations: one for a region where peace and coexistence prevail, a second for development and sustainability, and finally taking care of life to protect it from enemies.

Published in “Asharq Al-Awsat”, Tuesday 6-2-2024