28 May, 2022


Why Do “Educated” Youth Join Extremist Terrorist Movements?

By Chandre Dharmawardana

Dr. Chandre Dharmawardana

It is often asked  why educated youth “coming from good homes” join extremist organizations. Simple  references to “brain washing”, or the stupidity of the young are no explanations. There is no scientifically recognized   process called “brain washing”. It is also  naive to assume that  educated youth  join the IS (Islamic state)  to go to heaven and get their 21 virgins! Many youth radicalized in British Universities ended up fighting for the ISIS. At least one of the Sri Lankan Muslim Kamikazi had a British training, had four children, a flourishing business and lived in a million dollar home in Colombo. A British education in a narrow subject like “information technology” not touching any  broad scientific or cultural subjects, given in a British “red Brick” university can have no effect on already acquired belief systems. Don’t our “most educated” ministers go to Tirupathi, India,at the drop of a pin?

These radicals are no different from the young intellectuals of an earlier generation who believed in a simplistic theory of capitalists versus the workers, and how the workers would unite to bring down the capitalists and create a classless society where even state power has disappeared! They believed that “THE END JUSTIFIES THE MEANS” –  so we had  Stalin, Mao Tse Tung,  Pol Pot, Kim Il Sung, countless Left-Terrorist Maoist-Guevarist-Naxalite groups, and Wijeweera’s JVP in Sri Lanka  killing innocents to achieve their “objective”. This objective is given a historical destiny by dialectical materialism formulated as “historical materialism”. Contrary to the predictions of historical materialism, these movements have only produced ghoulish Gulags.  

Similarly, these “brain-washed” young Muslims are educated in the Islamic fundamentalist view of the world consisting of Muslims (good), and infidels (bad).  Many educated Arabs do not believe that the 9/11 World Trade Center attack was done by Arab Kamikazes. They think it was a put-up job by Jewish groups and the Bush government to give them an excuse to attack the Oil Rich Middle Eastern countries on the economic front, and to relaunch  the Crusades against Islam. This is the rationale for the  counter-attack on luxury hotels frequented by Westerners, and on Christian Churches.

Just as Dialectical materialism calls  for a revolution leading to a  necessary final state which is an article of faith of Marxists, Islam defines that history must necessarily lead to the Islamic state after a Jihadic step. The “holy war” replaces the revolution of the Red Comrade. The historical destiny taught to young Muslims by impassioned Arabic Teachers who have come from the Middle East is as simple and clear as the JVP five lessons. Their role is to establish the Islamic State, with everyone practicing the Sharia law which encompasses not only morality, but economic activity as well – a complete ideology is sold.

Just as  many Sri Lankans, or even ministers are over-whelmed enough to readily accept ideas cooked up  in the West, because they are from the West,  these young people are also over-whelmed by “renowned” and fiery teachers from the Middle East who paint a glorious picture of the old Caliphate.  The idealistic young Muslim has a clear jihadist mission, taught to him by these fundamentalist “international teachers”. Achieving  this designated  noble cause,  the Islamic Caliphate  in the name of Allah becomes their mission. Achieving this  END is justified by ANY means whatever. It is a sacrifice that they make, in much the same way as  “rathu sahodarayas” (red comrades) are ready to fight the capitalist army and die in the process of the revolutionary capture of the state by the “working class”.

The young university students who readily absorbed the “five lessons” of the JVP, although almost stupid in content, attempted to overthrow the legitimate government because the message fitted in with their pre-conceived notions. These notions were about  the need to change the economic framework by “hook or crook”,  hammered into the Sri Lankan youth by the LSSP and CP politicians who came prior to the JVP. The tremendous disparity between their power and state power seemed irrelevant to a just cause. 

The early Marxists in Sri Lanka  had fomented  the trade unions to rise in militant “hartals”, hoping to capture power. They were sure of being the “Bolsheviks” who will  replace the “Menshevick”  government of Bandaranaike. So, the LSSP, a revolutionary party  did not worry about  popularity at the polls. Dr. Osmond Jayaratne, and Engineer C. B. Wijedoru, both central committee members of the LSSP assured me that Language Parity  was a policy strategically crafted to the revolution using unions with more than 50% Tamils, and not designed for elections. When they abandoned the “revolution” and joined Mrs. Bandaranaike, they jettisoned  parity and embraced  the majority language, as one language is more efficient for the classless, divisionless, unethnic  communist state. 

In the case of the radicalized young Muslims, they too hope to change what they see is an utterly immoral world. The world must conform to the draconian morality taught to them by the fundamentalist Arab teachers. Martin Luther had found such a moralistic message xplosively successful in an earlier era. These young people find an outlet to their moral and idealistic energy, and an identity thorough these extremist organizations. Their parent’s  society has failed to provide them with valid idealistic objectives suitable to the 21st century, and allowed  extremist teachers to infect them with a new passion. This process is not “brain washing”, but more analogous to the spread of an infection of virulent memes.

The Ilanaki Tamize Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) declared in 1949 that the Ceylon Tamils –  a mere 10% of the population – must have an “exclusive homeland” in Ceylon, and that their struggle is to establish their own Raj where “they will manage their own affairs”. The leaders were wealthy  “upper-caste”  land owners of the North, but living in Southern Ceylon, and in the best parts of  Colombo. They blamed the southern politicians (them excluded) for all the problems of the North. This was an an inflammatory, racist and exclusive ideology crafted to attract the fervour of the youth, with some of its leaders identifying with the Chola empire.  The move towards Swabasha with the cry of Sinhala ONLY became fuel for further  polarization.  By a strange twist of history, Vaddukkoddai, a town named  ‘Batakotte’  till the dawn of the 20th century because it was a Sinhalese garrison town  against Chola invasions,  was the venu of the Vaddukoddai resolution. It called for  separatist  armed struggles to achieve  “Eelam”, the ethnically exclusive Tamil homeland.

Educated Tamil parents with liberal values could not  understand why their well educated children joined violent Eelamist racist movements.  In the end the parents themselves were infected by the same bug, when  the majority reaction  erupted into a  horrific pogrom in 1983, and escalated into  brutal war. Notably, Jeyaratnam Wilson’s political writings had evolved from its empirical approach to a separatist stance  within a dozen years, moving to support a view of Sri Lankan history about Tamil homelands that he would have vehemently rejected in an earlier decade. 

The same phenomenon exists in the highly literate world of Judaism. The young fundamentalist Jews in Israel fight and kill to build Zion. They too are driven by an utterly medieval, jingoist Judaism  that underpins  Likud  ideology. The “moral right” of the Zion or the Caliphate, the dialectical necessity of the communist state, or the rights of an  Eelamist  historical claim, these   overshadow  mere human rights or, say, Palestinian claims to existence. Leaders of Zionist terror organizations like the IRGUN, e.g., Menachem Begin and Benjamin Natanyahu, became prime minsters with US support.  Another terrorist group, LEHI,  proclaimed that the “Armed struggle is the duty of all Israel; every Jew has to be a warrior. Religion … raises the armed struggle to a ritual above any other facet of human endeavour. Hallelujah with machine guns”! The Zionist terror, at first directed against the British, was later directed against the Palestinians who suffer  enormous aggression but remain protected from the UNHRC by the Western powers. A more just British policy could have produced co-existence between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The Palestinians have mounted equally horrific counter-terror  groups like the Hezbollah who are funded by the Arab states. All these terror organizations easily recruit their educated youth to engage in terror. A leader of the LEHI, Yitzhak Shamir served as a prime minister of Israel. The end  justifies the use of violent means for those in the faith.

The Zionist terrorist movements against the British arose during a time when Nazism with its credo of violence  arose in Europe, misrepresenting  Drawinian evolution and using it as a theoretical underpinning. This misrepresentation of Darwin, initiated by literary men like Tenyson who pictured nature as  being “red in Tooth and Claw”, is scientifically incorrect. Darwinian evolution works when a large number of genes and cells  COOPERATE to take advantage of fitness landscapes, and not when acting by competition.  I have discussed this at length in my book “A Physicist’s  view of Matter and Mind (World Scientific), Chapter 3” and elsewhere in that book. 

Dr. Jane Russell, in her ever topical, sadly no longer available  book  “Communal Politics Under the Donoughmore Constitution, 1931-1947 (Tisara Publishers) ” writes that  nationalist leaders like SWRD Bandaranaike and GG Ponnambalam were glowingly referred to as “pocket Hitlers” by their respective  admirers in the two ethnic camps. Prabhakaran with his Child soldiers wearing Cyanide capsules graduating into  Kamikaza cadre was the final product of one such nationalism. Its Hindu ideology,  nourished in ultra-conservative Jaffna Christianity makes Shiva into a  destroyer and the Christian God into a partisan Shiva.

Societies that fail to provide for the idealism and rebelliousness of  youth through opportunity  in adventure, in the  arts, sciences and professions become the theater of extremist ideologies. Just as  young plants need protection against insects, weeds and extremes of weather during their early growth, young nations need  protection. Even flourishing “open societies” cannot allow subversive forces supported by external money  to crush the traditional structures in their societies.

Sri Lanka had evolved a compassionate society that gave refuge to all faiths since Asokan times, with near equality to women and “lower castes”, when compared with other ancient societies.  No heretics were burnt. The END, however desirable, could  not justify  THE MEANS used to achieve the end, since the righteous path was the essential element of Buddhist and Jain doctrines, and in forms of  Hinduism that evolved under teachers like Nagarjuna.  Lanka’s  rulers  gave asylum to Catholics and Muslims in the face of Dutch-Lutheran repression. More recently, the nation’s ancient  wholesome  values were jettisoned  in favour of virulent  doctrines coming from the political left, and from the political right which uses religion to anchor  its claims.

The Irish and Tamil diaspora fed and fomented  the Irish and LTTE violence. The US and its NGOs feed and foment disaster capitalism in young nations and interfere with their elections by propping up US favorites. In such operations, the  ‘manifest destiny of the US’  overshadows all human rights. Similarly, the fundamentalist oil sheiks build Mosques, Madarassis and push fundamentalist agendas causing dissension in Myanmar, Sri Lanka or elsewhere, while heaping the blame on the  “intolerance” of the majority community.  These ideologies   reject dissent and  open discussion. They  threaten  to eliminate the other by force.  

But many politicians, tempted by money and  influence, allow the camel into the tent,  and then it is too late.

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Latest comments

  • 0

    The American mission spelt the name of the place as Battikotte and surely pronounced it as such becaue although inglish is not exactly phonetical, it does make the sound of B.
    If it had been “V”, the dutch would have rendered it as such or with a “W” in their maps if they wanted to preserve the sound. In Portuguese there is no problem with “B” as “B” exists as a sound. So both the Dutch and the Portuguese have no problem with B.
    Please check what Baldeus writes.
    In Tamil there is a problem with the B sound, and we can have Balachandran pr Palasanthiran.
    If it were wrong, their students who were Tamils, and Alumni who were pro-active enough to get Jaffna college built when Batikotte seminary closed would have surely corrected the name and changed it to Vattikotte or Vattakotte. People like K. Velu Pillai who wrote the Yalpana Vaibhava Kaumudi would have commented on such things too if the American seminary usage was wrong.

    • 1


      Let Sinhalese use any name that makes sense to them. It shouldn’t bother others. However people should be alarmed when Sinhala/Buddhist racists make changes to place names, constitution, security policy, language policy, right to sing national anthem in their chosen language, land policy, religious policies, ……

      Like Chandre Dharmawardana his fellow racists have their own hidden agenda to complete based on sham history, sham etymology, sham archaeology, sham literature, ……………. in order to hit the bottom.

      These racists will never let the people live in peace.

      How about using some common sense, etymology, tradition, usage, ………………. for example what is the difference between Bandakka and Vendakkai (lady’s finger or okra).

      How did Vendakkai become Bandakka or Bandakka become Vendakkai? By the way Okra is known as Vendakkai in Tamil Nadu as well. Do you think the vegetable and its name originated from this island, taken to Tamil Nadu by the itinerant Sinhala/Buddhist monks, and the name evolved from Bandakka to Vendakkai over long period of time?

      The moral of the story is don’t listen to the racists with a fascist agenda.

  • 0

    One can hear the HLD Mahindapala’s pen in Chandre reference to Battikotte or whatever.
    Plagiarism is rife in ‘Academia’. Pre-determined research output is available if the payment is good enough.
    What does one call a submission written by someone else?
    There is a name. Watch this space.

  • 1

    Old codger

    I am not sure whether Chandre is capable of imitating Jay.
    On the other hand many don’t treat what Champers prats seriously.

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