Various leaders have started to label the Islamic State conflict a fight for a generation. The reactions to this phenomenon, which grew up under the watchful eyes of those who embarked on a unilateralist imperialist venture in Iraq, have been varied and have invoked much criticism. The question is, what to do?
While it is true that many of the problems of this world today can trace their roots back to the times of imperialism, where lines were drawn on maps, dividing families, ruining societies, selling men, women and children into the Holocaust called Slavery, pressing the same button, calling the same names and blaming the same perpetrators a hundred years later does nothing to set right the wrongs and solve the problems.
True, the imperialist venture undertaken by Chief Poodle the United Kingdom and its bedmaster the USA, totally destroyed a sovereign nation outside any rule of law, and rendered millions of Iraqis to the grave or into misery. Women's rights were the first to follow children's rights, hundreds of thousands of babies were born dead or deformed as a direct result of depleted uranium dropped by NATO aircraft. The seeds were sown for radicalism to appear as a means to earn a living.
Back in the west, a few thousand miles away, exactly the same reason is sending hundreds, if not thousands, of young men to Turkey, to cross over into Syria to be Jihadis or to put themselves forward as the wives of Jihadis. Those trundling across the desert in Toyota pick-up ratmobiles are not only Iraqis or terrorists sent by the Gulf Cooperation Council states to help their western masters topple President Assad and grab the Russian Mediterranean base at Tartus. They are British, Finns, Germans, French, Dutch, and outside Europe, Australians, Americans, psychopaths and sociopaths from the four corners of the Earth looking for adventure, looking for a thrill, looking for a cause and looking for a salary.
This does not mean that all those without a course or without a job are going to spend a thousand dollars on a ticket and spend their days slicing the breasts off Syrian women, ripping the hearts out of Syrian soldiers trying to defend the population and attack this scourge, sodomizing boys, burning people alive, cutting people's heads off while they have their hands and feet tied, or throwing homosexual men off buildings and then stoning them to death in the street.
But in the European Union countries, between sixteen and sixty per cent of the young people are either unemployed, or out of school, or both. That is one in five young people at best and one in two at worst. Or worse. Of the five million young Europeans without jobs and without hopes, without the possibility to start a life, buy a house, buy a car and get married, constitute a family and contribute meaningfully to their careers and to the society in which they are inserted, there will be a few that are prone to radicalization.
I have not seen, neither am I remotely interested in seeing, an Islamic State recruitment video but I understand they are appealing. And the type of person such propaganda appeals to is someone without an alternative. How are Europe's youth supposed to get jobs when managers run their companies looking at an Excel sheet, and call a lay-off "an investment"? How are Europe's youth supposed to acquire studies when the education system has been turned into a business, in which degree courses cost an arm and a leg, in which Masters courses cost a fortune and in which a Doctorate degree is today unthinkable for the vast majority of would-be candidates? How are they supposed to save up to buy into these courses if they cannot obtain a job because the job market has become too small?
And why are these vulnerable people, with the power to take and destroy lives, now considered a "generation-long threat"? Because societies are based upon a socio-economic model that no longer exists, which can neither produce jobs for all, nor valid pensions at the other end of the timescale. And along the journey, there are multiple failures.
For instance, the young man today wielding a knife in Iraq cutting off people's heads can in no part of the world be considered stable. Probably he kicked a kitten to death when he was four, placed a hamster in the microwave at seven, beat his grandmother senseless at ten, set his dog on a toddler when he was fourteen and at sixteen, had kicked a girl to death because she was dressed as a Goth, but was considered too young to prosecute.
And where was the system during this journey? Perhaps a chat with a psychologist who said it was normal because his parents had split up, his Mum had tried to extort a fortune from his Dad who turned his back and went elsewhere, upon which his mum said "You see? Your father doesn't like you any more". Mum takes two jobs to pay the bills and the rest is inevitable. By the age of eight, it is probably too late.
If societies invested in a meaningful program of psycho-analysis for everyone from the age of four upwards, and paid special attention to children from divided homes, such potential flashpoints could be identified before they happened.
"Nice idea but where is the money?" is the question with which the Establishment likes to confront any idea that could provide a solution to the mess they made. The answer: Let's pretend we are speaking about bailing out a bank, in which case billions appear from nowhere and let us remember that these same western countries spend collectively one point two trillion USD each and every year on weapons systems and military budgets.
The point is in a world in which the rich are getting richer, and in which the rich wield the knife and hold the power, there is no incentive to change. Wait a few more years and the seeds of Revolution will sprout, and let nobody say they were not warned.
*Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey has worked as a correspondent, journalist, deputy editor, editor, chief editor, director, project manager, executive director, partner and owner of printed and online daily, weekly, monthly and yearly publications, TV stations and media groups printed, aired and distributed in Angola, Brazil, Cape Verde, East Timor, Guinea-Bissau, Portugal, Mozambique and São Tomé and Principe Isles; the Russian Foreign Ministry publication Dialog and the Cuban Foreign Ministry Official Publications. He has spent the last two decades in humanitarian projects, connecting communities, working to document and catalog disappearing languages, cultures, traditions, working to network with the LGBT communities helping to set up shelters for abused or frightened victims and as Media Partner with UN Women, working to foster the UN Women project to fight against gender violence and to strive for an end to sexism, racism and homophobia. He is also a Media Partner of Humane Society International, fighting for animal rights.