|Gentle responses to terrorism - Micro Activism|
by Dr Dayal Mirchandani
In response to the recent terrorist attacks The Behavioural Science Network is starting a discussion group for people interested in doing something positive. Tentatively we are calling this Micro Activism Anonymous (MAA). The idea behind this is that small groups of people can get together and do something constructive in a humanistic way that enables each one to make a positive contribution.
The Behavioural Science Network will provide group coordinators training in a variety of Conceptual, Behavioural, Motivational and Leadership techniques and tools that activist groups have used successfully to bring about positive social change. We believe that no single approach has the key to the truth and any small initiative has the potential to spread rapidly and mimetically, doing its bit to create a better world. Enraged by the recent terrorist attacks there are many people wanting to reform politicians, the bureaucracy, police and even the media.
A few are even advocating war. Hopefully something positive will emerge from this. In the book The Battle for God, Karen Armstrong, an ex-nun, tells of how a massacre by crusaders centuries ago has continued into an ongoing and unending battle. One must choose one’s battles carefully. In the long run we must give creating peace a priority. To do something more enduring we really need people willing and able to step back and look at any peaceful non-fundamentalist initiative that could be transformative. Anger when aroused needs a target and a response. We must try and channel it into positive directions. France and Germany fought two world wars where millions were killed or maimed. With peace they have now merged into the European Economic Community.
Demonstrating the possibility of bring about peace even if it is only economics interests that help bring about peace and cooperation between ex-enemies. We must remember that terrorism from neighbouring countries is only one danger that may pall in comparison to others that we can expect in the near future. One danger especially to the wealthy among us is the grave danger from groups like the Naxalites or others trying to divide people on the basis of caste, creed and linguistic or regional differences. Increasing violent crime, extortion and robberies are others. Then there are global issues: Global Warming, for instance - What will we do if Bangladesh gets submerged due to rising sea levels and refugees start pouring into India. We must pay much more attention to the causes behind terrorism and violence such as poverty, alienation, oppression, child rearing practices, propaganda, and focus on correcting them.
Helping build a civic society where the basics like food, shelter and quality health care are basic rights to stop people feeling disadvantaged and exploited. We would aim at forming small units, each functioning independently and networking loosely with the other. We would eschew leaders or hierarchy. Each cell generating small amounts needed to function from within. Some meetings will happen online other at ground level to prevent it from becoming elitist. Groups would provide feedback to each this we hope will prevent forceful people pushing any harmful agendas and the anonymity and small size keep away publicity or power hungry individuals.
Dr Dayal Mirchandani,
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