Terrorismo y pobreza


Siguen pensando que el terrorismo internacional es debido a la pobreza, al estilo de los demagogos que pretenden justificar el fenómeno en nombre de la lucha de clases? Por si les quedaba alguna duda, pueden disiparla definitivamente leyendo el artículo de Peter Bergen y Michael Lind para Democracy. A Journal of Ideas. (para leer los artículos es necesario un registro gratuito)

But it is a mistake to treat human beings as profit-maximizing rationalists who can be persuaded to put aside their differences in order to collaborate on a common project of promoting global prosperity. Individuals and communities often have incompatible secular or religious visions of the good society. And, for better or worse, human beings are social animals, deeply concerned about rank and status, both as individuals and as members of communities. Ambition and humiliation, personal and collective, inspire more political conflict than economic deprivation. In short, if our goal is to understand the conditions that give terrorist movements popular appeal and to understand how virulent ideologies spread from madmen and isolated sects to mass movements, our emphasis must be on subjective perceptions of national, religious, and ethnic humiliation, rather than on the humiliation, genuine as it may be, which is associated with poverty.

The members of al Qaeda are no exception. They are not the dispossessed, but the empowered. Many studied for high-end careers in medicine and engineering at universities, rather than at some dirt-poor madrassa. The top lieutenant to bin Laden is an upper-class Egyptian doctor; al Qaeda’s top military planner has a degree in psychology and spent time in California as an IT specialist. Rifia Ahmed Taha, an Egyptian terrorist and a co-signatory of bin Laden’s 1998 declaration of war against America, is by training an accountant. Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, another top al Qaeda official, studied electrical engineering in Iraq and went on to a successful business career. And even bin Laden himself studied economics and later spent time working at his family’s giant construction business.

No es la pobreza, sino la ambición de poder.

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