By Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer
MEDIA CONNECT has promoted thousands of authors and books over the years, but few have managed to educate me the way a new book on the subject of terrorism has.
Global Terrorism and its Effect on Humanity provides an educated, well researched primer on all aspects of terrorism – including its causes, recruitment tactics, methods, and terrorists’ agendas – and concludes with a prescription on how to fight and end the costly war on terrorism. Further, it shows the sociological, psychological, physical, political, and economical toll of the war on terrorism on America and its lasting impact upon humanity and human rights.
Written from the unique multi-cultural vantage point of a global scholar, businessman and political activist, Nigerian native Abayomi Nurain Mumuni brings an international perspective to the discussion about terrorism, having earned numerous advanced degrees and certifications on mediation, conflict resolution, public administration, international humanitarian law, UN peacekeeping operations, global and domestic terrorism, and homeland security from higher institutions of learning in the United Kingdom, South Africa, Israel, Nigeria, and the United States. Abayomi is presently the CEO of a multi-national financial corporation and often travels across the globe. He founded a political party in his homeland of Nigeria and ran for president there.
He concludes: “The US and its allies will win the war only if they fight it in the right way – with the same sort of patience, strength, and resolve that helped win the Cold War and with policies designed to provide alternative hopes and dreams to potential enemies. The war on terror will end with the collapse of the violent ideology that caused it – when Bin Laden’s cause comes to be seen by its potential adherents as a failure, when they turn against it and adopt other goals and other means.”
We had a Q&A session with Mumuni to find out more:
MEDIA CONNECT: In your book, Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity, you attempt to define what terrorism in the 21st century is. Please tell us what your definition is.
Abayomi Nurain Mumuni: What I attempted to do in chapter one of Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity is draw attention to how difficult it is to find a universally accepted definition of terrorism. After the research that produced the book, I am better informed that to respond to this hydra-headed phenomena, scholars must divest it of any form of beatification or coloration and call a spade a spade. It is with this in mind that I concluded Chapter One by defining terrorism simply as a crime—any crime committed against human beings or against humanity. By that definition, I am trying to facilitate an easy identification wherever terrorism exists.
MC: You say that terrorism on its current scale had been foreign to a number of nations and regions, such as Africa. By creating awareness to others about the dangers and reaches of terrorism, what do you hope to accomplish?
ANM: “Creating awareness to others about the dangers and reaches of terrorism” is what I hope to accomplish. In other words, this question is self-answered. Until quite recently, many in the African region did not know what terrorism was until occurrences in Europe and America started bringing it home. In fact, until 9/11, many people in Africa did not know anything about terrorism. Ignorance is a disease; it is not an excuse in law. Terrorism will not stay away from this part of the world simply because the possible/prospective victims do not know about it. The fact remains that terrorism is a global issue. It is not more native to one region than the other. In addition, it is as old as the human race. So, I thought I should write Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity to draw people’s attention to its variation in their midst and the extent of its existence everywhere.
MC: You claim that some countries lack a true understanding of what terrorism is. What don’t they know about the dangers of one group trying to kill another?
ANM: Indeed, some nations lack a true understanding of what terrorism is and as a result fail to recognize it until it is full blown. Many authorities take religious crises for granted, failing (or waiting for too long) to take action when one religious sect rises up to attack another. This failure gives room to impunity and encourages more killings in the name of religion. This is exactly the case in Africa where religion holds sway as a factor in politics. Hence, religious crises are easily politicized. Many countries also fail to recognize religious riots as budding religious terrorism. Another thing that some countries do not understand is that terrorism spreads like an airborne disease. So, when terrorism is taking root in a neighboring state, they look away or pretend not to know about it. By the time the terrorists cross the border to establish a training camp, it will be too late to stop their operation. Unlike nations that have it fully or partly under control (because they have been coping with it for years), these other ignorant and inexperienced governments do not have any intelligence apparatus on ground.
MC: You grew up in Nigeria with a Christian mother and a Muslim father. How did you overcome prejudice or mistreatment as a result of your colorful background?
ANM: My own sense of family, where I come from and what I made for myself is an important part of my life, however, sometimes you have to accept what life offers you and drink from every cup, because love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend; I grew up with this ideology.
MC: You conclude in your book that terrorism is a phase that won’t last, much like a nation vs. nation war or The Cold War. How will the war on terrorism end?
ANM: My conclusion on how the war on terrorism will end stems from the fact that nothing remains the same forever. So I believe that the twisted ideologies that are behind terrorism will change with time as the adherents are confronted by changes in their environments. Secondly, but still connected with my belief in the inevitability of change, I believe that if The Cold War ended and gave way to what we have today, then there will definitely be an end to the present wave of terrorism. Remember how passionate the Russians were about communism and how convinced the West was in its opposition to it. Even then, the change came so fast that the advocates on both sides had no choice but to embrace it. (Next question (8) further explains this.)
MC: Why do you believe that eventually, Muslims will turn against the extremists in their midst?
ANM: I really believe that Muslims will turn against the extremists in their midst. First, due to technology—the cable news and social media environment for instance, many hitherto closed societies are opening up, or are being exposed. As a result of technology, the whole world has become a global village and it is shrinking further. Such openness is bound to expose the contradictions between the teachings of Islamic fundamentalists (who sponsor or champion the cause of terrorism) and their lifestyle. More Muslims are getting to know what is happening outside their boundaries and are beginning to question lies told to them about perceived enemies. This is already happening as we see in the ‘Arab Springs’ that removed Gaddafi and Mubarak and currently challenging authorities in Syria and Iran.
MC: You have an interesting chapter about the motives of terrorists and what drives their actions. Beyond religious reasons, what other types of terrorists are lurking?
ANM: As you mention, there are many motives that drive the terrorist, including religion. Every human being with a spirit wants to lean on one form of religion or the other. Religion, therefore, is a primary factor in what determines a man or woman’s actions. Apart from religion, other convictions that motivate the terrorist include social and political factors. And there is nobody who is free from all of these. These convictions determine a man’s satisfaction or dissatisfaction with his society. When there is dissatisfaction, various innovation spring up for change. Unfortunately, some people have seen terrorism as one of such innovations.
MC: Why do you support negotiating with terrorists?
ANM: This question is being addressed further in my up-coming book, Demand by Terror. It is becoming obvious that without negotiation, not much can be achieved by authorities in their fight against terrorism. So far, the only option I have identified as alternative to negotiation is military strike, and by which authorities will end up being accused of one crime or the other. Take Nigeria government’s efforts to destroy Boko Haram for instance. Out of eagerness to strike the terrorist group, collateral damages touched many civilians to the extent that the Civil Rights Organization accused the Nigerian government of a massacre in Bama village. Violence begets violence. In the new up-coming book, Demand by Terror, I am coming out with the conclusion that any response to a terrorist’s demands should not ignore negotiation. Negotiation has achieved more than military strikes, especially in hostage taking situations.
MC: You ran for the senate, presidency and Governor in 2011 in Nigeria, for the opposition party. What do you believe can strengthen democracy and the election process in nations where there is instability?
ANM: Especially in the Third World Nations Democracy opens new vistas and opportunities. We should take the advantages that Democracy offers to correct the past mistakes.
MC: How has terrorism impacted America—financially, psychologically, legally, and physically? Terrorism has impacted not only America, but the whole world financially, psychologically, legally and physically as you mention. Financially, in cases like America where statistics are available, the budget for security and anti-terrorism programs has increased tremendously. Much of that could have gone into development programs both within and outside the US. Psychologically, the trauma of security check points in and outside the airport are immeasurable, not to mention the fear at the back of everybody’s mind that terror might strike anywhere, at any time. Legally, civil rights organizations have continued to question America about the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. And physically, in new infrastructure, security blocks defacing the landscapes of our cities worldwide. Indeed, terrorism has impacted America and the whole world tremendously.
MC: You say that the U.S. needs to define a clear vision for what a victory in the War on Terror would look like. Why?
ANM: Without such a vision, the US will fight the war in the wrong way and expend or wear out its resources. This is exactly what terrorist organizations like Al Qaeda expect to happen—drag an unsuspecting US to a battle ground like Afghanistan and get them bogged down in another ‘Vietnam.’ This is my message in the concluding sections of Global Terrorism and its Effects on Humanity with sub-titles like ‘What Victory will look like,’ ‘The Right War,’ etc. It is interesting to note that the US seems to get the message judging by the Obama administration’s refusal to be drawn into perpetual war campaigns in Iraq or Afghanistan. American should envision a victory like, i. destruction and prevention of a global Al Qaeda organization capable of the 9/11 style by, for instance, killing or capturing their leaders, ii. blockade of terrorists’ financial resources and interruption of their communication network. If America can continue to do and sustain these acts, they should consider the war won even if smaller and ineffectual splinter terrorist groups still exist. This means that even if anti-terrorism programs continue, it will no longer dominate her foreign policy.