Saturday, April 04, 2015

expecting common sense from reptile brains is inherently risky...,



npr |  And nobody feels as much like a nobody as an immigrant does. And you can engage with a great power like the United States simply by throwing a bomb. You can declare war on the United States. And the amazing thing about it is that the United States will accept the declaration of war. We respond to terrorism by treating it not as a crime, but by treating it as war. So someone like Tamerlan, who feels small and insignificant, can suddenly claim a sense of belonging to a great, big effort - and a place in history.

GREENE: This is obviously an event that many Americans followed and have memories of. What do you hope people will learn from your book that they haven't learned from other places?

GESSEN: A couple of things. One is that - and I understand that this is a risky strategy, but I think it is really important to see people as people, and to try to understand the story, and perhaps catch yourself being sympathetic to these brothers, because I think that the more we understand about something that we believe is a huge threat to this country, the more effective we can be inviting it.

GREENE: And you said catch yourself being sympathetic there -just want to make sure I understand that. You're suggesting that it can be healthy to find some level of sympathy somehow.

GESSEN: Yes, I am suggesting it could be healthy to find some level of sympathy because I think that the way that wars are fought is that the enemy is always dehumanized. That's what we have done with terrorism. It's a perfectly normal and logical thing to do. It also makes wars continue and build. And until you start seeing your enemy as a human being for at least a second, you're never going to advance in your understanding of what's going on. That's one thing I want people to take away from it. Another thing is I want people to question what they think about terrorism and the war on terror, and how it's fought, and the assumptions that have been made and that aren't usually questioned by the media, like this whole radicalization narrative.