Tag Archives: Terrorism

Religion and Terrorism: The Truth of Self-Deception

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From Mark Chironna

Psychologist Tori DeAngelis asserts, “the psychology of terrorism is marked more by theory and opinion than by good science”. Nevertheless, there are researchers in the field of psychology as well as psychology and religious studies that have offered insights worthy of consideration. James Jones, Professor of Religion at Rutgers is also a Senior Research Fellow at John Jay’s College Center On Terrorism. Jones notes that “religiously driven terrorism” has its roots in “shame and humiliation” which leads to extremely violent acts. Forensic psychologist James Gilligan in work done with prisoners asserts that there is a correlative condition that is established with violent acts when shame and humiliation are present. Yet shame and humiliation, while valid in terms of reasons for violence and terrorism do not tell the entire story. Continue reading

Can the Problem of Evil Be Solved Or Only Contained?

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By Deepak Chopra, MD

ISIS and its atrocious acts have thrown the issue of evil into high relief. Once more we are forced to confront a horrifying aspect of human nature and to ask ourselves what can be done about it.  This post isn’t about U.S. policy against ISIS–that’s the business of the President, his advisers, the military, and Congress. But evil itself deserves better, clearer thinking than what it generally gets. If better thinking leads to better policy, all the more reason to find it.

Recorded history contains no time when human evil didn’t exist, although only very recently has it been called a problem. Traditionally, evil was looked upon as something much worse than a problem–the fruit of sin, the work of cosmic satanic forces, a divine punishment, or an animalistic instinct. It has taken thousands of years to get past such thinking, and when atrocities arouse public fear and hatred, the old explanations return. But on the other hand, it has become possible to think of evil in terms of psychology and its insights, which is a mark of progress.

Turning to psychology has made evil our responsibility; it can’t be shuffled off to a supernatural agent, either God or the Devil. Also, by taking responsibility, we can stop blaming “the other” as if a whole class, gender, race, ethnicity, or religion is uniquely evil. There’s enough war, crime, and general violence for everyone to accept the blame, and if we take psychology seriously, blame is clearly not a solution. In times of war, the normal boundaries that keep evil in check are lost, and even the “good” side of the conflict is forced into the fray under extraordinary circumstances. But that’s not my topic here. I’m not forgiving or condoning ISIS; forgiveness has rarely been a practical means of dealing with evil when it shows up on your doorstep.

Continue reading

A Response to Terrorism: 5 Ways to Bring About Change

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By Michael Bianco-Splann

Once again the world is infused with a sense of horror and shock by the heinous attacks on innocent Parisians enjoying a Friday night in the City of Lights. And our collective response sensationalized by the media leads us where? The facts leading up to this attack should in no way be received as a surprise, for the endless stream of human barbarism and war has not receded in millennia. Our contemporary world order looks strikingly similar to many civilizations of the past.

What is an alternative response to terrorism? Merriam Webster defines terrorism as, “the use of violent acts to frighten the people in an area as a way of trying to achieve a political goal.” The heart of terrorism is to get under your skin, churning a sense of dis-ease and fear.

Any response powered by fear demonstrates low frequency, low vibration and has an internal destructive nature that ripples across the collective unconscious. Let us find a better solution than more killing, more savagery and attending to the lowest human frequency.

Here are 5 ways to address terrorism to bring about change. Continue reading

How to Save the World–A Simple Answer

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Around a decade ago, when I first started posting at Huffington Post, one entry considered the world’s four greatest problems. They were over-population, climate change, pandemic disease, and refugeeism. Despite the suffering and fear it creates, terrorism affects far fewer people than these four issues, but if anyone wants to add it to the list, there can be no objection. Compared to a decade ago, all of these problems have worsened. Many observers, along with people in their everyday lives, feel that the world is in total chaos. Continue reading

VOD: Malala Yousafzai Interview on The Daily Show

She risked her life to stand up for girl’s education in Pakistan. She survived a gun-shot to the head for those beliefs. She is a best-selling author. And now, at only 16 years old, Malala Yousafzai is the youngest person ever to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

The incredibly courageous teenager gave an exclusive interview to Jon Stewart and The Daily Show on Tuesday night where she talked about her homeland, the rise of the Taliban and why she thinks that education is too important to stop fighting for. Stewart himself even asks if he can adopt her when Malala explains her thought process after finding out the Taliban were threatening her. This is a must watch interview for anyone that has been following Malala, believes in equal education rights, or just needs a few pointers on how to be a better human being. This girl has a lot to teach all of us.


You can watch the extended interview on The Daily Show website.

Are you inspired by Malala’s story and interview? Or do you have a video you’d like us to share in our Video of the Day column? Tell us in the comments below! 

Happy Malala Day! Honoring the Young Activist the Taliban Couldn’t Kill

Malala-Yousafzai-05Last fall, Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman who apprehended her on a school bus in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. She was 15 years old.

Miraculously, Malala survived the attack, and today, she turns 16. The United Nations has named July 12 “Malala Day” in honor of the young activist’s astounding courage in the face of violent forces that would try to silence her. What, you might ask, is the teenager’s cause and why would the Taliban feel threatened enough to prey on one so young?

Malala is not your typical high schooler. She has inspired the Taliban’s rage by publicly advocating girls’ education and generating a mass petition calling for fully-funded, compulsory education for all children in her country and around the world. Because of her efforts, Malala was included in Time magazine’s list of the most influential people in 2013, and today she gave a speech at the UN reaffirming her cause.

Watch Malala’s inspiring speech here:

Are you inspired by Malala’s words? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Photo credit: Rizwan Khatik

The Mom Who Stood Up to the London Knife Attackers

screengrab-mom-editedWednesday’s grisly murder of a British soldier by two knife-wielding attackers has left many wondering – Why? How? In broad daylight? With witnesses standing all around?

Many sources are referring to the incident as an act of “terrorism,” reporting that the men may have been motivated by radical Islamic sentiments. As with all so-called religious terrorists, only a heinous misreading and distortion of sacred texts will lead to such violence. And this incident appears to be no different. The murderers remained on the scene even the attack, their hands bloodied and clutching knives and meat cleavers, waiting to confront the police forces that would arrive some 20 minutes later. In that interim, 48-year-old Ingrid Loyau-Kennett, a mom and cub scout leader, quickly got off her bus in order to aid the dying soldier. “Being a cub leader I have my first aid,” Loyau-Kennett told reporters. “So when I saw this guy on the floor I thought it was an accident. Then I saw the guy was dead and I could not feel any pulse.”

Then she noticed the man with the knives approaching her, telling her to step away from the body, and she took stock of the situation she’d just stepped into. Instead of running or breaking down as many might have done, the woman calmly confronted the man in the hope of de-escalating the situation. Here’s how she describes the exchange, as reported by the National Post:

I asked him if he did it and he said yes and I said why? And he said because he [the dead man] has killed Muslim people in Muslim countries.

He said he was a British soldier and I said: ‘Really?’ And he said: ‘I killed him because he killed Muslims and I am fed up with people killing Muslims in Afghanistan. They have nothing to do there.’

He was not high, he was not on drugs, he was not an alcoholic or drunk. He was just distressed, upset. He was in full control of his decisions and ready to do everything he wanted to do.

I said: ‘Right, now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose, what would you like to do?’ He said: ‘I would like to stay and fight.’

Watch Loyau-Kennett describe her experience in an interview with The Guardian:




Loyau-Kennett wasn’t the only one to step in. A witness reported another young woman and her mother supporting the soldier who lay dying. The mother reportedly held the man’s hand as he passed away, bravely paying more heed to the victim than to the attackers who were of course still in the vicinity.

The scene ended in gun shots, with the police immobilizing the two murderers before taking them into custody. But the courageous women who put their lives in danger to help the dying soldier and calm the belligerent attackers go down in this story as true heroes. It is so heartening to know that in moments of real crisis, some individuals will step up in the spirit of peace and community solidarity.

Image source: Twitter

Why Last Monday Changed My Life: A Boston Marathon Mom’s Story

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By Christine Cronin

Monday started as a happy, exciting day. The day had arrived, a day we had been waiting for, for months. We would see our son Ryan cross the finish line of the famed Boston Marathon. After hours, months, miles and the soreness and tiredness of training, this was IT! We were texting with him as he made his way by bus to the starting line in Hopkington; he was feeling good; this was going to be a glorious day.

Boarding the train in Beverly with our daughter, we were glad to see so many enthusiastic people off to see the race or going to the Red Sox game. The train was packed, everyone was jovial and exchanging banter with each other and the conductor. This was off to a great start!

At North Station, we decided to walk toward Boylston Street. The weather was beautiful, and we just followed the crowd heading in the same direction. Walking through the park, we paused to soak it all in. We had decided to settle in as close to the finish line as possible. Shannon, who is a photographer, had packed her best equipment, and we were hoping to get as many great shots of Ryan, and his running team mate Paul, as possible. It was getting really busy, and people were already five or six deep as the first wheelchair athletes were coming down the street. Everyone was cheering them on and we happily joined in. We found a great spot on the right side of the Marathon Sports Store, against the wall next to LensCrafters. It was a perfect spot! We could see the runners, yet we were not in the thick of the crowd. We knew we had quite a few hours until Ryan would be there, so we settled in, chatting with the people in the Marathon Store enclosure, which was reserved for their employees and guests. I was envious of their wooden benches and thought how great it would be if we could climb on one of them when Ryan came through to get a better view. Maybe I will ask them, I thought…

The elite runners came through, and the rest of the pack was starting to cross the line in earnest. We were tracking Paul and our son and knew that they should be arriving roughly between 2.45 and 3pm. We had been standing there for more than two and a half hours, eating the lunch we had brought and cheering on with the crowd, when Shannon asked if we wanted to go with her to the Nike store around the corner. My husband was not particularly interested and wanted to stay put. The two of us started to leave when I turned back and reasoned that we should all have a coffee, find a bathroom, and be ready to follow Ryan as soon as he crossed the line. And we did just that, going to the Starbucks on Newbury street. Walking back, we decided to take a right down Boylston instead of going back where we were, as the crowd was a little less dense and we hoped for a spot at the barrier. Within a few minutes, we spotted Paul coming down the street. I was cheering and capturing the moment on my phone for him. I knew that Ryan was right behind!

The next 60 seconds changed all of our lives.

The loud explosion left us stunned and wondering what could possibly have happened. Brendan thought the Jumbo-tron had exploded, maybe some massive electrical malfunction had occurred. It sounded like a reasonable explanation, except the smoke was a little ways past the large screen and it just did not seem likely. Before we could have another thought about it, the second blast ripped through the air on our right, making the ground shake and fear took a grip on our hearts.

What came next is better left untold. Cameras were rolling and captured the mayhem for the world to see, and the images that are imprinted on my brain are better left alone, to hopefully fade as time goes on. Shock set in, as well as a deep visceral need to find my son, see him and touch him, to know that he was unharmed. He managed to call us about 15 minutes later on a borrowed cell phone, as we were trying to make our way towards the Marriott Hotel, where we eventually reunited as a family over 2 hours later. He had been stopped at the 25.8 mile mark.

The last few days have been a roller coaster of emotions, the very high highs of knowing we are all safe and the very low lows of knowing so many are not. The feelings of disbelief, looking at the pictures and the reality of what took place where we had been standing just a few minutes before the blast. The immense gratitude and thankfulness, but the “why them and not me” questions that keep coming. The lack of control over the emotions, and the surprise crying fits that still come on at random times, the amazing support that friends, colleagues, neighbors or perfect strangers have shown to us.

The Day AfterAs a family, we have resolved to deal with this by being open, by sharing our feelings with each other and by practicing love and not hate. There is always a lesson in everything that happens, and the real tragedy would be to move on and not acknowledge that collectively, as a society, we need to change. The capture of the suspect last Friday brought some closure, but with it came more heartache, other victims, and the realization that this was not a nightmare, the horror had a face and it was a 19 year old…two years younger than my own son.

As a holistic practitioner, I help my clients deal daily with many different issues, stress being one of them. This past week has brought me to a place I had never been before, having to use all of the tools at my disposal to just get through the day. It has been humbling and an incredible learning experience, one that cannot be learned in a book.

My wish today is that we try to remember to be kind and gentle with ourselves and others, that words do hurt and that the spirit that made strangers reach out and help others is a sign of what we are capable of, even when there is no crisis looming. Hopefully the images will fade to allow sleep to be peaceful once again, but the memory of this day will not. The victims will need support for years to come, long after their story will fade from page one in the newspaper and collectively, we can step up to the plate and help them in a million different ways. We can take care of each other, and we need to take care of them, in a small or a big way, everyone can do something.

We cannot heal until we can have peace in our hearts. From today on, I choose to focus on good, healing, healthy, and peaceful thoughts for myself, my family, my community at large and I hope you can do the same.

Namaste.

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My name is Christine Cronin, and I am the owner and founder of Satya Wellness. In Sanskrit, Satya means the truth and I pledge to always tell my clients the truth.

I was born and reared in a small ski resort in Switzerland with a community that valued natural and healthy foods. I later moved to South East Asia with my husband where I became interested in natural health and the many properties of local herbs and foods.We lived in Bangkok, Macau and Singapore where my daughter was born.

I have been helping people achieve great health through good nutrition and healthy lifestyles for many years. I am certified by the Chopra Center for Well Being in Carlsbad, CA, as an Ayurvedic Instructor in Perfect Health, and I hold a PhD in Natural Health from Kingdom College of Natural Health.

Additionally, I hold an education degree conferred by Ecole Normale de Lausanne, Switzerland,  I am a certified personal trainer, a member of the International Association of Wellness Professionals and of the National Center for Homeopathy.

I live on Boston’s North Shore with my husband and my dog, Sparkie. Our children live nearby:  our daughter Shannon who is a wedding photographer and our son, Ryan who will graduate in May 2013 with a degree in Hotel Management and loves to run!

6 Steps to Renew Your Faith in Humanity

slide_292525_2349011_freeBy Dawn Gluskin

In light of the recent events in Boston, many of us are walking around with heavy hearts. We search for answers. Why? How can such evil exist in our world? We grieve for the lost lives and suffering felt by our one human family.

While me may never get all of the answers we seek, and despite the senseless tragedy, it’s important to keep our faith in humanity and our spirits lifted. Yes, while some people out there have lost their way, we are all generally good at heart and this goodness far outweighs the bad. Now, more than ever, it is important that each of us do the work to be the change. Only light can drive out darkness. You matter. We all do. Everything in this world around us is made of energy. You better believe yours affects the world around you. Even seemingly simple actions can help raise the vibrations we emit around us, and thus contribute to collectively raising the consciousness of the world.

Here are a few suggestions that can help us be responsible for the energy around us in a positive way:

1) Limit the amount of news we intake. Yes, it is important to stay informed, and we all want answers and updates. However, our media tends to focus on the very negative. Balance your need to know with your need to keep your own spirit lifted. Instead of focusing on gruesome details reported over and over by the hyped-up media, seek more uplifting and heart-warming stories (yes they do exist!). In Boston, many put their own safety aside to run towards the explosion to help others. Think about our brave first responders and how selfless they are every day of their lives. Make a conscious effort to turn the channel or surf to another page so that you can fill your mind with more of the goodness that surrounds us all.

2) Mellow out. We can all get overstressed at times, which tends to bring out our very worst. Maybe it manifests in laying on the horn in traffic and giving a one-finger salute to a fellow driver, or perhaps it’s a grumble and a furrowed brow at the grocery store when somebody gets in line a split second before us. In any case, it feels so much better to just be happy and is also better for the world around us. Try some proven funk-lifters:

  • Practice deep breathing, which sends a message to your brain to calm down.
  • Go for a walk and soak in some nature. Exercise is a natural mood-lifter and being close to earth helps you to feel more grounded.
  • Do yoga!
  • Jam out to your favorite music.
  • Laugh it up. Call up a funny friend or watch a silly video. Studies show that laughter reduces stress hormones.

3) Let it go. When we bottle up our emotions, the pressure builds up inside. If we don’t let off some steam… it’s not going to be pretty! A journal can be your best buddy to confide in. Let all of those toxic emotions out via pen or keyboard before somebody else feel the wrath of them. Just the act of outwardly expressing our feelings can help to heal the hurt.

4) Practice random acts of kindness. Even something small can have a huge impact as the ripple effect ensues. When you do something nice for someone, they are touched and want to pay-it-forward and do something nice for someone else and so on! Here are a few kind gesture suggestions to incorporate into your routine.

  • Stop to hold the door open for someone.
  • Make a point to smile at everyone in your path
  • Let someone in front of you in traffic
  • Buy a stranger a cup of coffee or pay for the order of the person behind you, if you are feeling generous and have a little extra cash.

5) Power of Prayer. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be religious, there is a great power in surrender, the acknowledgement that there is a force beyond us all. Whatever your beliefs, it can’t hurt to take a few moments to visualize sending your light, love, and blessings out to those who need it. Ask for guidance on what you can do to help make your own positive impact on the world.

6) Be love! This can manifest itself in so many ways. Call an old friend out of the blue, let your loved ones know how much you care, reach out to someone in need, hug your family a little tighter and be totally present for them – turn electronics off and really be with each other.

These are just a few suggestions. I’d love to keep this list growing. What are some of your thoughts on keeping the vibrations ringing high? Please share some of your own ideas in the comments below!

Photo credit: Getty images

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Dawn GluskinDawn Gluskin is a multi-passionate entrepreneur and author. Despite her experiences as the founder & CEO of a technology firm that has experienced rapid-growth and national press recognition, her definition of “success” is not defined by these accolades, which have oftentimes come at the price of high-stress and misalignment. Instead, she believes in listening to the whisper of our souls which gently tug us towards our life’s true purpose. She finds much joy in her writing and coaching, sharing her journey and truth with others. She feels blessed to be “mommy” to two sweet little girls who teach her so much and she lives with her loving family in sunny Florida.

Why Tragedies Like the Boston Marathon Bombing Inspire Greatness

Screen Shot 2013-04-17 at 12.56.54 PMWhy? That’s the leading question from many when they think about the Boston Marathon bombings earlier this week, especially since there still remains much speculation around the reasons for this event. What possible level of anger, madness, or beliefs could justify inflicting such horrible pain and harm on innocent people? Though we await answers to some confusing and difficult questions, one thing we do know is that in the moments after the explosions, our best as human beings showed.

We are programmed with a fight-or-flight response when presented with danger or change; it is there to keep us safe. But on April 15, more people disregarded this impulse and, instead of running away, ran toward the explosion to help the brave first responders. Badly injured victims had strangers holding their hands, talking to them, crying with them. From the darkness of tragedy can come greatness. We find our courage. We stay instead of run.

Americans are tough. Though we may get upset and raise our voices, we quickly forget ourselves and focus on the ones in need when one of our own is hurt, challenged, or needs help. We run to the scene, not from it. We become selfless, responsive, and more aware of others. We show up. We find our grit and resolve. This is who we truly are.

In tragedy we unite. It was that way on 9-11. It was that way when the tornado destroyed much of Joplin, MO. It was that way with the shootings in Tucson, Columbine, Aurora and Sandy Hook Elementary. It was that way with the
Boston Marathon bombings. At our core, we Americans are amazing, selfless and compassionate people.

But why does it take a tragedy for us to step into our greatness? We are obviously capable of this response on a daily basis. We can choose to respect and care for one another, even when their house hasn’t been destroyed, their limbs damaged, or their loved ones lost. We have the ability to be powerful, bold and courageous in dealing with differences and challenges without first needing a tragedy to compel us to a greatness response.

Regardless of our backgrounds, we are connected; we are Americans. And as Chad Finn, Boston.com Columnist wrote, “No, we are not all related. But in times of trouble you’d better believe we are all family.” As a family, we instantly come together to lessen the pain and help in any way possible. Our collective effort, genius and spirit response can be epic. So how can we rally with this same energy, focus and passion in our everyday lives?

Last week, I spoke to 120 teens at a Rotary Youth Leadership Assembly. I shared how these teens could start to find their personal greatness road in life – to show up as a leader of their own lives. Start young to strike out violence and hatred as the automatic or conditioned response. Start young to care more about others, in every moment. We can choose to build a world that solves its issues and challenges through discussion, mutual respect and ideas, not bombings, violence and vitriol. They truly saw this as a possibility.

Boston, my college town and home to many family members and friends, and the determined athletes and enthusiastic spectators are the latest victims in a violent world. A violent world considers violence as a legitimate solution to challenge and conflict. This behavior fills our television shows, movies, video games, and Internet. This is how many see the world because this is much of what we see in our world.

Explosions At 117th Boston MarathonIn response to violence and tragedy, we impose few limits on our support. We find the energy, the strength, the courage, and the commitment to stay, help, inspire, and deliver – we bring our A-game. In many of the daily events of life we show up with our B-game – our petty, small-minded, and selfish responses. We fight with each other. We blame and attack each other. We forget we are family.

In moments of tragedy we see how capable we are for empathy, effort, tenacity, support, love, compassion, and resilience. Without tragedy, I know we are still capable of the same powerful emotions. We can learn ‘daily greatness’ responses from life’s tragic circumstances. We have it in us. We can choose to always bring our A-game, to all events in life. The result can be a more compassionate and responsive world. I want it to be possible. I believe it is possible. I know it is possible.

The horrible events at the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15 will never be forgotten. They’ll change the way everyone thinks of this historical day in Boston, and next year, as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said, the marathon will “be bigger and better than ever before.” Bostonians banded together. Americans came together. Our greatness showed. We weren’t heroes; we were just family, doing what families are capable of and what they do best. My thoughts and prayers are with the runners, their families, spectators, volunteers, the first responders, and all of us who watched in horror from other parts of the country. May we all heal from this pain, and unite in our commitment to support each other more often as family and commit to creating a more peaceful world.

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Jay Forte is the president and founder of The Greatness Zone, an organization providing practical tools, programs and resources to help us know ourselves, find our fit and transform our world. He writes and speaks on living our personal greatness and is an advocate for raising the collective consciousness about and the responsibility for showing up to our work and life with passion and purpose.

Photo credit: Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Photo credit: Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

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