OP-ED

The Role of Culture in Attacking Extremism and Terrorism

By Tamjid Alkohali 

A father left his home but doesn’t know if he will come back or not because of the lack of security and stability.

Unfortunately, this has become the situation in Yemen. Everything has become worse than before in all aspects: economic, political, and social. This indicates a lack of awareness among people. They join political parties and encourage political conflicts.  

Who would help people to realize that all these political conflicts aim to destroy the country and to make the leaders achieve their interests? Who is responsible to change the people’s wrong beliefs and ideas?

No one denies the role of culture in facing extremism and terrorism that has spread around the county. A culture of peace and security needs to be established among people to reveal the existence of unjust thought. This can make communities return to dark ages.

 

The critic Abdalrgeib Al-Wosabi said that culture plays a major role in developing the communities that produce cultural thought that aims to face extremism and terrorism and remove this phenomenon. “Through the writings of intellectuals and producing theatrical and cinematic works, we can make people aware of the dangers of terrorism that destroy the relations between us and other communities,” he added

Writer Munir Talal explained that the problem of culture in Yemen belongs to cultural concepts. Neglect of culture leads to many young extremists who carry ideas counter to coexistence and social peace as well as takfiri concepts and old inherited concepts that are against noble human values. “The existence of terrorism in Yemen is a result of a problem of cultural and intellectual structure. This problem is created because of the distance between culture and youth.” He added.   

            

Talal emphasized that the country must prepare a culture against extremist media on satellite channels and Internet sites through drama, media, and national song. “Unfortunately, during the past half century the political system in our country didn’t work to create a real national identity that was based on tolerance and love of others. It cares only about appearances and big titles, which makes a national identity unclear for people and encourages extremist concepts,” he said

 

Moreover, narrator Antasar al-Saary believes that culture has an influential role in changing youth’s negative ideas. “Through cultural events, seminars, drama, and all art, we can show the bad results of the extremism and terrorism. Therefore, people should realize that terrorist acts harm only citizens. Terrorism deprives people of security, stability and decent living,” she said.        

According to Theater director Mabkhoot Alnuerh, drama is from the most effective means to combat extremism and terrorism and to educate youth and society in general.   

On other hand, writer Alwan Al-Jilani believes that country must rely on culture and intellectuals in order to help them to get rid of terrorism. “We are wondering what does this country do for intellectuals? In fact, they are suffering of marginalization negligence, which makes tens of artists leave creative work looking for any work that ensures them a decent life. Therefore, now we lack the main source that confronts terrorism,” he said.

 

Artist Radfan Al-Mohammadi is the most conscious person of the dangers of extremism and terrorism in the country. He added that any country that pays attention to culture, doesn’t suffer from terrorism. If there is terrorism, it is from outside.   

The Director General of the Cultural Office in Ibb province, Abdulhakim Moqbel, emphasized the importance of cultural among people. “In the Cultural Office in Ibb province, we decided since 2004 to implement cultural events in different fields such as attacking extremism and terrorism through holding more than sixty literary, religious and artistic events about this dangerous phenomenon. In fact, hard work has made many people in Ibb realize the meaning of extremism and terrorism,” he said.