I stumbled across the Zak Ebrahim’s TED Talk last week on his experience growing up as the son of a terrorist and following the amazing nine-minute talk I was glad to find that Zak also has written a book titled The Terrorist’s Son.
For me, the idea of terrorism and hatred of a person or group of people because of a particular ideology is incomprehensible. Hearing an account from a family member of a terrorist is eye-opening and incredibly important to share and discuss. We need to make clear to our children that their is no “guilt by association” for people from a particular ethnic or religious background and that ultimately horrific actions are the result of a choice made by an individuals.
I think the following quote from the book sums up how we need to look at terrorism:
“There’s a reason that murderous hatred has to be taught – and not just taught, but forcibly implanted. It’s not a naturally occuring phenomenon. It is a lie. It is a lie told over and over again – often to people who have no resources and who are denied alternative views of the world.”
The history of violence is clear – “People try nonviolence for a week, and when it ‘doesn’t work,’ they go back to violence, which hasn’t worked for centuries.”
Zak’s powerful and courageous story tells us clearly of the best option – “Everyone has a choice. Even if you’re trained in hate, you can choose tolerance. You can choose empathy.”