Brainwashing and radicalisation don’t explain why young people join violent causes

By Jason Hart

(This blog was oringially posted at – The Conversation)

On the morning of September 24 2014, 15-year-old Yusra Hussien left for school near her home in Easton, Bristol. She then disappeared. News reports surfaced a few days later that Yusra and a 17-year-old friend from London had reached Istanbul, fueling speculation that the two young women were heading for Syria to join Islamic State.

Terms such as “brainwashing” and “radicalisation” were repeatedly and casually invoked to explain Yusra and her friend’s actions. Understandable enough; how else to explain the uncharacteristic folly of a model student who was described by her teachers as “calm and collected”?

The problem is, it’s just not that simple.

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Ayotzinapa and the continuous struggle for justice and equality in Mexico

by Ricardo Velazquez, Oscar Garza and Viviana Ramirez

November 20th is the date when the start of the Mexican Revolution is celebrated. Back in 1910, that day marked the beginning of a 10 year struggle for justice and equality that transformed Mexican society. Despite important achievements obtained during the twentieth century, inequality remained extremely high and corruption was not only not rooted out of the political system, but it eventually grew as the government privileged the capitalist development of the country and private and public interests became intertwined.
Historical social injustices, aggravated in recent decades by neoliberal reforms that have stagnated economic growth and triggered a rise in rates of poverty and inequality, represent the background to the wave of crime and violence that has spread throughout Mexico since 2006. Indeed, these internal factors and the corruption of the political and judicial systems have coalesced with external ones, like the unlimited supply of weapons and demand for drugs from the United States, to trigger a surge in levels of crime and violence that have generated a human rights crisis unprecedented in Mexico’s recent history. Continue reading