In yesterday’s Federalist, I have a piece called “Love in the time of Terrorism.” I focus on the case of “Black September” the most feared terrorist group of the 1970’s. They were the scourge of the 1972 Munich Olympics, where they kidnapped and killed 11 Israeli athletes and a German police officer. Maybe you’re familiar with this iconic photo.
In the essay I explore how and why some men become so violent and single-minded about pushing their will on others. I can’t say anything that you don’t already know in your gut: Without strong family ties and without a sense of purpose, many young men have a tendency to channel their natural aggressive instincts in destructive ways. They easily sow chaos. So great is their need to be viewed with awe by others, especially other men. But you must read the story of the taming of Black September to see how utterly true this is. I believe it closes the case entirely on any other “theory” about the causes of such violence. It all stems from being cut off from relationships.
People need strong and healthy relationships, particularly a sense of family to feel grounded and at peace. This proved very true in the case of Black September. Please read the story of how the members of that terrorist organization were tamed by PLO intelligence operatives after the PLO, led by Yasser Arafat, saw their behavior as a political liability. Arafat told them to basically “switch it off.” What did the PLO do? They found a way to marry the men off to the most beautiful Palestinian women they could find, and then they provided the men with non-violent jobs, nice apartments, and a huge cash incentives to start families. The men became so content with their new lives that they refused all offers to go abroad on official PLO business for fear of being arrested and hence separated from their families.
It’s an amazing story with huge lessons for understanding hierarchies, human motives, and the utter need we all have for strong relationships. The story also flies in the face of modern feminism and gender theory. I hope you’ll read it.