Monday, December 28, 2009

Germaine Tillion's prescription for the eradication of terrorism

Germaine Tillion:
member of the French Resistance, survivor of Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, negotiator for human rights in Algerian Civil War

"We see the United States as deeply worried about terrorism. But effectively fighting against terrorism does not mean increasing the number of military operations; it means fighting against what causes terrorism. If you introduce kindness and gentleness at the place where terrorism begins, you will eradicate terrorism without pain. It is necessary to examine the most sensitive areas of the earth. You can do nothing to stop the seventeen-year-old kid who has decided to place a bomb somewhere. You can do strictly nothing, and any effort against him will just fly back in your face. Countering violence with violence is the most ineffective response imaginable. Instead, we should target the pain, with the goal to alleviate it. I firmly desire a worldwide dialogue, and I would like to see the United States discharged from the monologue. The period of great wars is over. Science has put in the hands of children extraordinary means of death. The greatest error the United States is currently making is to think that international military operations can stop a seventeen-year-old child from acting. The focus should be placed instead on alleviating the pain in the most sensitive regions of the world, beginning with Jerusalem."

Excerpt from “Déchiffrer le silence”:
A Conversationwith Germaine Tillion
by Alison Rice
Research in African Literatures 2004 35(1):162-179

Germaine Tillion
Indomitable French enthnologist who survived the concentration camps to champion human and women’s rights in Algeria
Obituary from The Times
April 24, 2008