Lack of hope doesn’t cause ISIS

By SETH J. FRANTZMAN

So the FBI announced a video game to stop kids from joining ISIS.
 
In a debate on TV one woman explained that “hopeless young men promised a future join #ISIS” and that therefore these young men need to be addressed with counter-extremism messages.
 
Why ONLY with Islamist extremism, particularly ISIS these days, is the answer that the “hearts and minds” of young people have to be won by governments?
 
If you’re worried about young white men joining the KKK, does the government try to send them a different message of positivism to counter their “hopeless” life and the “appeal of the KKK”? Oddly, I’ve never heard of such a program.
 
So why is it only with ISIS that the idea is to beg and plead with the young people not to join. There is never a discussion of the responsibility of these young men. If you decide to join a neo-Nazi skinhead group, the onus is on you, right? But if you decide to join a Nazi-like Islamist group like ISIS that sells beheading, mass murder, extermination, genocide, rape and killing, as a “selling point”…then you need “different messages of hope” from the government?
 
So why is it every single other ideology in the world is countered by responsibility, namely “don’t join that, it’s wrong”, but only with ISIS and its fellow extremist travelers is the idea “please don’t join ISIS, please, please.”
 
And that is precisely why people join ISIS, because the societies they come from don’t actually condemn ISIS unreservedly, they instead posit that it’s merely a competition over “hope.” It’s like the main problem with the Nazis was the Germans lack of “hope.” They had to put people in gas chambers, because they lacked hope. They had to exterminate 6 million people because of lack of “hope”?
 
People who join ISIS go half way around the world to join, or they decide just to murder people in their own neighborhood. They don’t lack hope. They tend to be middle class and educated. They have plenty of hope, in fact it is because of their hope that they fantasize about themselves taking the lives of others, raping, and killing. It’s not about lack of hope, it’s lack of responsibility and morality.
 
They have hope and fantasy. It’s not actually true that people without hope join ISIS. There are many millions of people in the most wretched circumstances who don’t join ISIS but have no hope. In fact it is ISIS that took away the hope from millions in the areas it conquered. So how come their lack of “hope” doesn’t force them towards anti-ISIS “radicalization.”
 
Who had more hope, the Nazis, or the people they persecuted? Who had more hope, the “white knights” of the KKK or African-Americans being murdered by them?
 
Organizations like ISIS come from a supremacist worldview. Perhaps in their local environment among some Sunni Muslims their immediate cause was suppression by the central government, but actually their interest was to impose their powerful worldview of hope for their own people, on others, to enslave, massacre and murder and take over the world.
 
Think about it. The Sunni rebels doing the REAL fighting against Assad didn’t all join ISIS. Yet they had a lack of hope. It was people further from the regime onslaught who joined. Indonesians who join ISIS come from a country where they have power and hope. Kosovars who it was revealed joined ISIS didn’t lack “hope.” Converts who join ISIS don’t lack hope. They are hopeful.
 
More Palestinians living inside the Green Line in Israel joined ISIS than in the West Bank. Why is that? Palestinians under military rule in the West Bank actually have less hope, but actually it was those with more middle class rights who join ISIS.
 
You can’t sell someone who worships murder, some other “hope”, you have to ostracize and punish them and tell them how ISIS is evil. Instead people excuse ISIS, and excuse the motivations behind joining it.

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