Teaching peace: The solution to conquering ISIS lies in Syria’s weak education system


A well educated person will not turn to terrorism. It is simple fact and logic. When someone can express themselves thoroughly in heightened words or writing, there is no need to resort to unjustified, violent acts. People who turn to terrorism are those who have no jobs, no opportunity and no hope. People who turn to terrorism are those who have been robbed of a proper education.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria are respectively ranked the top five countries with the highest Global Terrorism Index ratings. It is not a coincidence that these countries all share one thing in common: an education system in ruins.

It is important to look at the correlation between terrorism and education, because sitting in those dirty desks- or rather not sitting in those desks- is the next generation of terrorists, like ISIS.

Syrian children have been out of school for about four years since the country was blanketed in such turmoil. But even before Syria crumbled under the tension, education in Syria was weak. There was a strong emphasis on traditional trades, such as tailors and blacksmiths, rather than more modern professions, like doctors or writers.

But consider this: a young Syrian boy has found his love for poetry. However, he is unable to even complete his education. Drained of passion and motivation, he realizes the world doesn’t stop learning while he is out of school. He is behind. Without even a completed high school diploma, he watches, isolated, as the world progresses around him.

Unable to articulate his thoughts into prose or iambic pentameter, his passion turns to aggression expressed through unjustified acts of violence. He finds sympathy in ISIS.

This is the root of many extremist groups’ distorted perception of Western ideals. Many believe the hate is based in envy, feeling isolated from Western success without a completed education. This is an ignorant answer.

Americans often struggle to grasp the motivation for ISIS’s actions. Like the Nazis, it is hard for people to wrap their heads around this idea of “I am the superior race.” It seems foolish then, that the answer to ISIS’s motives are “they are jealous of our superiority.” However, it is the easiest way to understand the irrational acts.

Superiority or not, the reasoning behind ISIS’s hate crimes are buried in their resentment of Western ideals.

Don’t we all hate things we can’t understand?

We are a nation of big thinkers. We are a nation of scholars. We are a nation of idea people. We are a nation of education.

It takes this education to be able to grasp progressive ideas like equality for men and women. It is this education that separates us from radical organizations like ISIS.

It is this education that keeps America very low down on the rankings of Global Terrorism Index.

And before you jump down my throat about really “how free and equal America is,” think about this: Women are free beings. Women in America can walk freely down the street without the company of a male chaperone. Women in America are free to wear, say, and do what they want in public. Women in America are free to can get an education. Freedom is a gift not given everywhere.

Without discrediting unequal pay, this makes any “cents per hour argument” look petty.

We should not fear ISIS. We should pity them.

They are unable and unfit to grasp such complex ideas we enjoy freely in America.

You can kill a person, but an ideology will continue to live until it bleeds out all together. We need to target ISIS at its roots, and this starts with education.

Don’t send a bomb- send a book.

This is a call to action. Raise your weapons. Sharpen your pencils and uncap your pens. We have a war to fight.