Terrorism and philosophy

Days after another horrific terror attack in England, the world continues to seem as if it is a place in significant flux and awaiting strong and conclusive leadership. The question is exactly what does strong and conclusive leadership look like and what are the inputs necessary to get it.

The first thing that good leadership demands is direction. In order to lead anybody to a destination, that destination must be clearly defined and there should be some type of plan of how to affect the journey. Although the conditions may change along the route and indeed sometimes, the route itself, there should always be a sense of constancy to ensure that the individuals taking the journey do not lose hope or begin to feel as though the leadership is inept.

This quality of leadership seeming assured and coordinated is another fundamental pillar of functional leadership. Oft times, however, instead of building this image by explanation and fostering willing buy-in, leaders resort to using the power and control which comes with their office.

The downside of this is that power and control imposed on individuals without their willingness to conform creates conflicts which eventually lead to the reordering of those with power and control and those under power and control. A fundamental component of mapping a direction in which to lead people is a philosophical underpinning to facilitate the journey to be taken.

By the time you read today’s offering, the general election in England will be freshly completed.  It is no surprise that terrorism and Theresa May’s plans to curb the attacks on England featured high as a campaign issue in the just concluded exercise. Indeed, the issue of immigration and security also underpins the very reason May called an election in the first place – to get a mandate for the Brexit vote.

The Brexit vote result was highly fuelled by the issues of security and immigration. In other words, May is still facing the same question she and England faced pre-Brexit and one which will become even more in need of answer at the conclusion of Brexit. That question, simply put, is what model of governance and society will effectively move England forward in the next century?

The question, to my mind, has arisen because capitalist-based globalization has failed in its ability both to deliver life changing results for the majority of the world’s population generally and more specifically it has failed to deliver an overarching philosophical direction for effective leadership.

After spending time to dismantle the culture and domination of Empire, the far flung former subjects seem to be too close to its unsavoury memory to simply be overpowered by the condition of big country over “small” again. This cling to nationalism and nationalistic ideals has been a perpetual bugbear for the philosophy of capitalist globalization.

So those in the political elite of England must now present a clear path for where they are trying to lead the English. Even as Brexit is negotiated and the heavy hand is applied to terrorist cells, if this question does not find an answer, the displays of violence will not be obliterated.

In the case of England, the violence being exhibited when put in a historical context can be seen as a type of “Holy War” just as the Christians would have fought for their right to freely express themselves and occupy certain land spaces over the centuries. Of course, this new “Holy War” has elements of world politics embedded and a new type of rhetoric which seeks to divide it, forms its proper historical contextualization.

I concede that there is perhaps an unprecedented level of radicalization in play as well. We know that there are other types of unrest across international land spaces. Diasporic Americans are battling the fall out of Trump’s pro-white policies. The humanitarian crisis caused by the Syrian civil war is far from resolved and closer to home, several people still live affected lives in the Venezuelan impasse.

Interestingly, this impasse has also been obscured in language.  It has not been given any kind of name or assignment and this keeps the vision of it blurred. This is what happens generally when people desire a realignment in the relationship between the governed and governors. Innocent people are hurt and there is disquiet and unrest.

The Caribbean cannot feel itself insulated from the general world current. Certainly, we face the same absence of a philosophical mooring because we too are a part of the capitalist globalized model. Brian Meeks wrote an interesting treatise which examines how Caribbean people have interfaced with the notion of agitating for the realignment of power between the governed and the governors.

The book, Narratives of Resistance, provides a historical analysis to some of the events in Caribbean history, such as the Grenada revolution and the rise of Rastafarianism, and their symbolism in the readjustment of political and cultural power. It also links the events into their wider international actions and occurrences which were ongoing. It paints too an analysis of the ways in which Caribbean people traditionally organize themselves.

No amount of “big stick” action in itself is enough to stop fragmentations and realignments in a society once people feel that leadership is absent.  The only way to keep a people coalesced and moving in a singular direction is with a sound philosophical base that is then manifested at the level of leadership.

(Marsha Hinds Layne is a full-time mummy and part-time lecturer in communications at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus. Email: mhindslayne@gmail.com)

4 Responses to Terrorism and philosophy

  1. jrsmith June 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm

    You are forgetting Barbados has reach the 50 year mile stone of (Independent Dependency ) but still the 1% of our nation with out force control the black masses ……. ……………………….
    This is done through the free hand , which is given by the white man….. and is now adopted by our black crooked politicians allowing the black masses not only in barbados all around the world , instead of manufacturing business they have this vast manufacturing of fancy name religious organizations, viciously by all means possible robbing our black people blind and confusing they minds that if they walk the right path , when they die their are going to heaven and individual reverends/ pastors is making themselves very wealthy…….
    I had the chance of an invitation to visit one of these organizations , with a white american friend in the (UK) and he said these people are being hypnotize seeing them as if they were in a different world , space with they hands raise to the ceiling of this old polished up ware house , where money is collected in plastic buckets………. and the pastor driving a top of the range white range rover, value £77,000 ………………………….
    Please try changing that ……….

  2. Ras June 9, 2017 at 4:21 pm

    Joker Smith you can open a Church and drive a Range Rover valued at £100,000, get a plastic tub to collect money also, nobody stopping you
    You can be a decent Politician nobody stopping you
    You can make yourself wealthy also nobody stopping you
    Instead of trying to hypnotize and confuse yourself.

  3. Othneal June 9, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    @jrSmith, I haven’t read the article in its entirety. However your comments interest me. You made your point and validated it with example. The evidence for your assertion can be seen in North America and indeed, the Caribbean.
    I think the role of Religion in the history of the African Americans and African Caribbeans is worthy of consideration.
    For centuries, slaves looked up to the skies for deliverance from their wretched existence. After four hundred years, we are still praying. We are still adversely affected by the terminal legacy of slavery, namely racism, this terminal disease of mankind is detrimental to antagonist and victim alike and will ultimately contribute to the demise of the human race. Quite a challenge for a Leader eh?
    @Ras, your comments are a mystery​. Sarcasm I suspect.

  4. tsquires June 10, 2017 at 11:03 am

    Brethren it is important to inner-stand the pre-slavery plans, that are controlling us to this very day! When your language is hidden you are ripe for the plucking? Karl Marx said Religion is the opium of the masses, and the Jews tell us of Jesus of Nazareth we know nothing, they refer to Jehoshua ben-Pandira who was stoned to death, then hung on a tree for the birds to pick flesh from his bones, do remember Pharaoh Akhenaton said God was the ‘Atum’, in all human and other forms but never made man?


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