Milena: What are best ways to educate young people about non-violence and the prevention of terrorism?
Tiago: The essence of terrorism is the political instrumentalization of fear. The idea is simple; by resorting to violent acts terrorists compel individuals to fear (terror). This absence of certainty (fear = terror) will lead individuals to pressure their governments to change their normal decision-making pattern in order to accommodate the will of the individuals perpetrating violent acts. So the best way to prevent terrorism is not to succumb to fear and instead of “pointing-the-finger-rhetoric” or to find groups to blame. The best way to prevent terrorism is to try to understand the reasons behind the acts and to act in order to decrease the appeal of the cause feeding terrorist believes.
Milena: How does the future of international security look like given the recent events in Canada and other parts of the world?
Tiago: International security seems now more threatened then never but it is only a question of perspective. We had other times in History more troublesome than current times, but since we are the ones living through this era it seems that this era is spiraling out of control. The Future of International Security relies in two fundamental things: History and Human Security.
The first can gives an understanding of our past, preventing us to repeat in the present similar mistakes that will definitively have an impact in our future. We cannot continue to repeat campaigns like Iraq 2004, Libya 2011 or Syria 2013. It simply does not work. Secondly, we need to look to security through the Human Security lens because it gives a broader perspective of the real challenges that need to be tackled to increase security. If we think that weapons and military power are the key to secure our future we are doomed to repeat tragedies and to lose human lives for no good reason.
Milena: How can authorities increase the feeling of security among their citizens?
Tiago: There is no simple answer to this question, but I would say that Canada gave us some good tips on this: 1) do not succumb to fear; 2) do not seek revenge on a violent act, because fighting violence with violence does not work (something that Washington needs to learn fast!); 3) do not blame certain minorities without concrete prove (Moscow and Beijing tend to look to Chechens or to Uyghurs as the “sources of evil” leading to discomfort, that leads to uncertainty that opens the path for violence); 4) try to build a comprehensive macro-communal space in which similarities between all different psychosocial shared identities are enhanced and the differences are respected; 5) move away from Classic Security approach towards a Human Security Approach.