Author Q&A: New Book Lends Insight On Global Terrorism

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.

MumuniGlobal 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.

 

Related: Author Q&A: Embedded Photographer-Turned-Author Shares His Experience In Afghanistan

 

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No “Faults” For John Green

By Cori Cagide, Publicist

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Okay, so you may be thinking I’m late on the John Green train for this one, and I probably am. I first decided to read The Fault in Our Stars earlier this Summer when I found out about the movie coming out starring Shailene Woodley. I was hesitant because, as I’m sure you all know, it’s a pretty heavy topic. It was the start of Summer, and I was looking for a good beach read, not something that would make me burst into tears next to strangers on the subway during my commute.

However, disregarding my gut feeling, I read it anyway, mostly because people WOULD NOT STOP TALKING ABOUT IT. That, coupled with the fact that he brought out the biggest crowd at BookCon immediately following my first BEA conference – I figured the guy knew what he was doing.

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A Look at the Man Booker Longlist Books by American Authors

By Adrienne Fontaine, Senior Publicist

As a part of my summer reading, I read four of the five books written by Americans and named on the longlist for the Man Booker prize. The fifth, Joseph O’Neill’s The Dog, is not yet available in stores.

 

AF_ManbookerI started with We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler (best known for The Jane Austen Book Club). The book is about a young woman named Rosemary Cooke, whose father—a psychology professor—adopts a chimpanzee named Fern and tries to raise it as a second daughter within the family, as part of a research experiment. The experiment goes awry and the chimp is sent away to a lab and kept in captivity for the rest of its life. The banishment of the chimp causes an unbridgeable rift in the family, for the young son takes up the cause of animal activism and takes it to domestic-terrorism levels.

The book shows the complex relationships between humans and chimps, between members of a family, between science and morality, between males and females, and between friends in their adolescence. I like how the book uses a stranger-than-fictional plot at the beginning to later realistically portray and comment on animal cruelty.

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Finn Sets Sail: MEDIA CONNECT Reflects on the Third Annual Summer Boat Cruise

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There’s nothing like being on a boat on a beautiful summer day, circling New York, with Frank Sinatra and Alicia Keys singing their love songs to the Big Apple. A great day!
-Adrienne Fontaine, Publicist

Last Tuesday, August 5th, marked the third annual Finn Partners summer boat cruise in New York City, a summer outing where Finn Partners employees from all divisions came together to spend the day dancing, toasting and dining on Manhattan’s Hudson River.

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It is always nice to get outside in the summer but to see life from the vantage point of a boat is even more special. We got so close to Lady Liberty that I felt like was going to step out of her pose and give me a hug. I think it’s always a good idea to connect with your colleagues outside of work. It makes work seem like anything but.
-Brian Feinblum, Chief Marketing Officer

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Top row, left to right: Adrienne Fontaine, Emily Labes, Cori Cagide, Karissa Hearn, and Anna Patrick. Bottom row: Lindsey Hall, Johanna Dickson, Alexandra Israel

This was my second year on the boat cruise, and it seems like each year it gets better! It’s great to see everyone letting loose and having such a good time. I already can’t wait for next year! -Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist

The boat was a blast, getting to know my colleagues in an entirely different environment was a great experience. I had no idea we had some serious dancers on our team! But joking aside, sometimes with the daily hustle and bustle it’s easy to overlook that we work in such an amazing city, and the 360 degree view of the Big Apple was both humbling and necessary to reignite a sense of mindfulness and appreciation of where we are and the work we’re doing. Looking forward to next summer!
-Anna Patrick, Digital Publicist

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Left to right: Brian Feinblum, Steve Matteo, and David Hahn

It was a great time connecting with other people in various departments. We work in a big office, so oftentimes you tend to pass right by people without ever really getting to meet them, and so the day was a nice way to create relationships. And it’s always nice seeing people outside of their suits and ties just relaxing. Brings the sense of camaraderie closer!
-Lindsey Hall, Associate Publicist

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Left to right: Emily Labes, Anna Patrick, Lindsey Hall, Cori Cagide, Johanna Dickson, Alexandra Israel, Karissa Hearn, and David Hahn

What a blast the cruise was this summer!   Great weather; great food and great dancing!  Especially enjoyed Mick’s historical description of the waterfront!  Nice to have a local historian (and photographer) on the team. Look forward to next year’s outing!
-David Hahn, Senior Partner and Managing Director

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Adrienne Fontaine and David Hahn

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Left to right: Emily Labes, Anna Patrick, Lindsey Hall, Cori Cagide, Johanna Dickson, Alexandra Israel, Mick Andreano and Karissa Hearn

I loved  the sense of camaraderie and community – everyone was excited to spend the day with one another. Since we work in a fairly large company with different divisions it was nice to meet people (and put names to faces) that I see regularly. I am already looking forward to next year!
-Alexandra Israel, Publicist

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Keegan Abrahams, Dave Lieberson, and Dave Rosenthal

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Left to right: Alexandra Israel, Johanna Dickson, Anna Patrick, Karissa Hearn, Cori Cagide, Emily Labes, and Lindsey Hall

I had a great time at the cruise, it was a great group work experience. The dancing surprised me the most. Finn Partners and MEDIA CONNECT have some talented dancers!
-Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist

It’s kind of obvious I enjoyed the dancing segment the best! But I also enjoyed talking to my colleagues and dining with them.
-Dawn Frederick, Receptionist

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Adrienne Fontaine, David Hahn, Anna Patrick and Cori Cagide

 

For more photos, please see our official album on Facebook.

 

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Should You Attend Writers Conferences?

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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer

 

I recently attended the Willamette Writers Conference where I spoke before 50 eager self-published authors, talking about how one can make his or her book marketable and how to promote books to the news media. The conference was in Oregon, a state I’d never been to, but I realized that after going some 5500 miles round trip the community of writers is not only alive and well, but it is one that replicates itself across the country.

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7 Life Lessons I Learned From Children’s Books

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By Dee Donavanik, Publicity Director

There has been lots of discussion about why YA books are gaining popularity among adult audiences, especially as several blockbuster adaptations are hitting the theaters. We’ve accepted that YA books have mass appeal and are not just for “young adults,” but what about the books from our childhood? Maybe it would serve us well to go a bit farther back and revisit the stories we loved as kids. When life gets hectic and we start to get cynical, we can think back on some classic tales to remind us of the bigger picture.

Here are some of my personal favorites and the lessons I learned (though there are many interpretations). Also SPOILER ALERT if you’ve never read any of these classics.

 

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Kindle Unlimited: Critics Weigh In On Amazon’s New e-Book Subscription

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By Nicole Martineau, Publicist

 

Last week, Amazon announced the launch of Kindle Unlimited, a new e-book service that allows customers to read as many books as they want from a digital library of over 600,000 titles and thousands of audio books. The service is available for $9.99 a month and works on all Kindle devices and any device with a Kindle Reading app.

While this may sound like a great deal to consumers, many industry professionals have been very critical of the service in recent days, especially with two successful start-ups already on the market: Scribd and Oyster Books.

According to Associated Press technology reporter Anick Jesdanun, Kindle Unlimited beats competitors in several ways, however, Scribd and Oyster both offer better value for avid readers of popular books:

“It turns out that the library of 600,000 is a bit like a small bookstore with a few current titles such as The Hunger Games, attached to a block-sized bargain bin of obscure stuff mixed with Robinson Crusoe and other classics that are in the public domain and available for free online anyway… Though Oyster has only 500,000 books and Scribd has 400,000, both offer extensive libraries from two of the largest publishers, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Kindle Unlimited doesn’t.”

That brings us to another weakness of Kindle Unlimited: the absence of several top publishers. This topic was hard to ignore as media outlets began to report the absence of the ‘Big Five’: Penguin Random House, Hachette, Macmillan, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.

While this absence is most likely due to the on-going feud with Hachette, Darrell Etherington of Tech Crunch  explained that it could also be due to several on-going negotiations between Amazon and top publishers:

“The biggest publishers ask for a large (read: at least seven figures) up-front fee, and services have to pay each time a user reads a book, plus new releases are kept for traditional sales methods. Amazon is likely looking for a better deal from publishers, or for greater access to current titles, which could be why they aren’t included in these test pages.”

Other critics of the service were quick to point out that Kindle Unlimited is yet another way Amazon is taking advantage of self-published authors. In his recent post on Digital Book World, publishing veteran Michael Sullivan compares Kindle Unlimited’s roster of self-published authors to ‘second class citizens’:

“What Amazon is offering traditional publishers (full wholesale price without exclusivity) is a pretty good deal… But the self-published authors can be had for much less. They have been conditioned through several years of Select and those in Select are more than willing to give up other venues for higher visibility on Amazon. I can’t help but think I’m Jimmy Stewart in It’s a Wonderful Life, trying to tell people at the Bedford Savings and Loan that Potter isn’t offering them a deal; he’s buying them cheap.”

Dino Grandoni of Huffington Post points out that you can already rent e-books from your local library, just like from Amazon. He argues that Kindle Unlimited is just “a $120 glorified library card.” Chances are you can probably find several e-books at your local library that Kindle Unlimited is unable to offer, but if you are still curious to check it out without signing up for a subscription, Amazon is offering a free 30-day trial.

 

 

Related: Meet our MC Team: Nicole Martineau

 

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5 African Writers You Should Read Now

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By Johanna Dickson, Digital Publicist

 

There was a time in my life when the only books I read were by African writers. I was an African Studies major in college, and in addition to my coursework on campus I spent a semester living in Cape Town, South Africa and traveling throughout the country and its neighbor Mozambique. When I returned for my senior year I took a course on African literature that introduced me to many phenomenal writers.

Here are five to check out if you are new to African literature:

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Getting Support For Your Book

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By Brian Feinblum, Senior Vice President and Marketing Officer

 

To promote your book you need time, money, ideas, a good book, a market and support. Who will help you become a book marketing machine?

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Summer Reading Requirements: Why It Shouldn’t Be Just for Kids

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By Cori Cagide, Associate Publicist

As kids most of us were assigned the dreaded required summer reading list sometime towards the end of the school year. I remember choosing which of the three uninteresting books I wanted to read, and preparing to procrastinate as long as possible before having to read and do the assigned project that went along with it. Actually, that’s a lie – I was a goody-two-shoes and always finished my summer reading project within a week after the school year ended, and didn’t think about it again until the first day of school. However, I know at least 90 percent of my friends held off until the very last minute to get it done.

Shouldn’t that say something about the required material? Particularly with the younger generations. If we want them to read, we have to give them some incentive. I’m not sure how much things have changed since I was in grammar school, but I remember having very few options to choose from, and having to get extra creative in the project portion of the assignment in order to peak my interest.

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