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Monday, January 12, 2015

Motivational Monday: In The War Against Terror, Hashtags & Rallies Are Just the First Steps

Thought for the Day: Last week's massacres in France, followed by the powerful images from yesterday's Unity March in Paris and the parallels to the rallies following the end of World War II have been on my mind all week. I was not alive when Hitler was defeated. However, I have seen movies depicting the war and the liberation of France. During World War II, many people turned a blind eye to the atrocities perpetrated against the Jews, Gypsies, and the disabled. Americans were reluctant to enter the war until it landed on their soil and did not want to see that Anti-semitism and prejudice fueled the Nazi regime. The rally in France was the largest since it was liberated from the Nazi Germany. Unfortunately, today anti-semitism along with anti-democratic sentiments are fueling the terrorist movements. In the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Elsa Cayat, 54, the only woman killed in the attacks, was a psychiatrist, psychoanalyst and columnist who wrote a bi-monthly column, Le Divan. Cayat was believed to have been singled out because she was Jewish. The attack on a Kosher supermarket was also an intentional act of ant-semitism. Sadly, history is repeating itself. This time the world has an opportunity to do something to stop hate crimes.
     Yesterday's march was in many ways a victory. It was a victorious statement of victory over fear. There has been an outpouring of support around the world on social media with hashtags #JeSuisCharlie leading to massive responses on twitter & social media. The rally attended by over a million people and leaders from around the world are a show of support for freedom, but I fear that it is too soon to celebrate. Sadly, it will take more than rallies and hashtags to win a war against extreme terrorists who want to wipe out modern civilization along with the freedom of speech and religious diversity. Read on to see why...

     Terrorist organizations and extreme religious cults, grow and fester like mold in the dark shadows of poverty. They feed upon people who feel disenfranchised, alienated and discriminated against. Psychologists, educators, businessmen, as well as politicians must join forces to help counter the impact of these cults with effective interventions and educational programs that will help prevent youth from being attracted to these organizations. If there are less disgruntled youth it will be harder for terrorists to find people willing to kill and be killed for a cause that threatens society as we know it. The battles will not be won unless prejudice and propaganda are countered by educational programs which foster enhanced economic and social opportunities for people from all races, religions and socioeconomic levels.
      It is important to do more than rally behind our freedoms, we must find a way to show young people that we are able to help build a better life for them and all people though an open society which encourages diversity and mutual respect.  What can you do to help fight the battle to wipe out ignorance, prejudice and discrimination? If you are a teacher, psychologist or social worker, what can you do to help make a difference? If you work for a corporation, how can you advocate for the corporations to help finance creative programs? What can you do as a citizen to push your congressmen and senators to pay attention to the socioeconomic, educational and psychological programs that are needed. Hashtags and rallies are only the first step. What can you do to make a difference? I would love to hear your ideas and projects you are working on which might help.

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