Three different topics – I will be uploading one more article tm. Answer question per article.
Brooks, R., Silove, D., Steel, Z., Steel, C. B., & Rees, S. (2011). Explosive anger in post-conflict Timor Leste: interaction of socio-economic disadvantage and past human rights-related trauma. Journal of affective disorders, 131(1-3), 268-276.
Hwang, J. C. (2018). Pathways into Terrorism: Understanding Entry into and Support for Terrorism in Asia.
Student: Sarah Umstadt -Article: Brooks, R., Silove, D., Steel, Z., Steel, C. B., & Rees, S. (2011). Explosive anger in post-conflict Timor Leste: interaction of socio-economic disadvantage and past human rights-related trauma. Journal of affective disorders, 131(1-3), 268-276.
In the article Explosive anger in post-conflict Timor Leste: Interaction of socio-economic disadvantage and past human rights-related trauma, researchers Brooks, Silove, Steel, Steel and Rees explore the feelings of anger manifested in populations that have experienced mass terror or conflict, and then determines the effect of this factor with ongoing socio-economic disadvantage. The article begins by expressing that anger needs to be assessed in terms of its overlap with depression and anxiety. Some of the ongoing effects of this “explosive anger” might include, similar symptoms to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or can be classified with the DMS-IV diagnosis of Intermittent Explosive Disorder, which is categorized as minute, explosive episodes of anger frequently related to trauma exposure (Brooks, Silove, Steel, Steel & Rees, 2011).
It is also important to note that the researchers are focusing their work on the country of Timor Leste. As they explain, Timor Leste is was a Portuguese colony for over five hundred years, before declaring independence in 1972. However, this led to a brief civil war, and then the occupancy of the nation by Indonesian from 1975 to 1999. This was a period of “ongoing military resistance and conflict in which widespread human rights violations were perpetrated” (Brooks, et. al, 2011). Unfortunately, this continued after 1999, when a referendum was filed in favor of Timor Leste’s independence; Indonesia launched a militia campaign of terror and violence with caused severe structural damage and widespread killings (Brooks, et. al, 2011). As a result, Timor Leste only ranked as one-hundred and forty out of one hundred and seventy-seven on the UN Human Development Index and remains one of Southeast Asia’s poorest nations (Brooks, et. al, 2011). In addition to the widespread violence that the people of Timor Leste have experienced, they also face food insecurity due to droughts, lack of infrastructure and lack of developed markets, putting even more stress on the nation’s people (Brooks, et. al, 2011). Combine all of this with limited education and career opportunities, and an unfortunate rise in violence and civil unrest again in the year 2006, Timor Leste has all of the conditions to fit an unfortunate rise in explosive anger due to trauma exposure among its people.
The goal of this research was to determine “whether a general index of psychological distress, including symptoms of anxiety and depression, mediated between experiences of trauma and socio-economic disadvantage in the path to anger” (Brooks, et. al, 2011). To do this, researchers used data collected but the East Timor Mental Health Epidemiologic Needs Survey from 2004, which identified households occupied by adults, some in villages and some in rural areas, that were affected for an elongated period of time during the Indonesian Occupation of 1999 (Brooks, et. al, 2011). The researchers took a total of 546 dwellings in both areas (1544 adults) and sent out surveys to be completed by each individual. There were 1246 respondents, and thirty of the non-respondents were determined to be individuals with severe mental disorders who could not fully complete the survey (Brooks, et. al, 2011). To categorize anger, researchers met with local members of the community to find words in their language which defined general anger and more explosive episodes. “Hirus” and “Siak” were used as qualitative measures of general anger, while “nervusador”, “Hirusador” and “fiu kotu” were used to categorise more explosive anger episodes (Brooks, et. al, 2011). They also measured the frequency of anger attacks. Further, the researchers used the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale to determine symptoms of general distress, and the Harvard Trauma Questionnaire to record symptoms of PTSD (Brooks, et. al, 2011). In addition, the levels of trauma experience were rated by four separate events; health access stress, human rights trauma, witness murder, and earthquake or flood (Brooks, et. al, 2011). All of these events are interesting because they can indicate what kind of stress the individual is under, and can attempt to determine exactly what traumatic event may have caused their current stress or mental state. It was also interesting to find that the researchers had to use indices of unemployment and equation as proxy measures of the socioeconomic status of participants, as they did not want to answer income related questions due to shame. This is an example of the way that the cultural concept of shame can affect individuals within a country which is something we frequently discuss in this class.
The study found that 38% of respondents experienced one anger attack per month and 7% reached the threshold for severe PTSD (Brooks, et. al, 2011). 80% of those who met the threshold for PTSD experienced anger attacks (Brooks, et. al, 2011). The most highly reported source of trauma was experiencing a flood or earthquake (74.7%) following closely by experiencing human rights trauma, at 62% of the participants (Brooks, et. al, 2011). This indicated that feelings of anger in Timor Leste may have emerged as a result of the general emotional distress experienced by the people as a result of ongoing civil unrest, socio-economic hardships or violence. In a more contextual explanation, the researchers state that during times of conflict, the people of Timor Leste were targeted for persecution and discrimination, and later denied jobs or other economic advantages (Brooks, et. al, 2011). This exclusion from resources may have forced families to continue to feel at a severe socio-economic disadvantage (Brooks, et. al, 2011).
This article points out very important long-lasting effects that ongoing violence, civil unrest and natural disaster can have on a nation, especially one that already struggled with human development indicators such as access to education, food security and income. The article stresses the importance of understanding the traumatic history of one nation before assessing the rates of anger and violence among its people.
What events occurred in Timor Leste that led researchers to want to study the effects that trauma may have had on its citizens?
What are the four events that researchers used to qualify trauma exposure?
Why do you think it is important to study the traumatic events that occurred in one country in order to understand the lives of its citizens?
Brooks, R., Silove, D., Steel, Z., Steel, C. B., & Rees, S. (2011). Explosive anger in postconflict Timor Leste: interaction of socio-economic disadvantage and past human rights-related trauma. Journal of affective disorders, 131(1-3), 268-276.
Student: Steven Wang – Article: Hwang, J. C. (2018). Pathways into Terrorism: Understanding Entry into and Support for Terrorism in Asia.
In the article “Pathways into Terrorism: Understanding Entry into and Support for Terrorism in Asia”, Julei Chernov Hwang composes a body of findings on terrorism in Asia. Hwang “examines two interrelated questions regarding entry into terrorist groups: how do individuals join these groups and why would one support them” (2018). She draws answers to these two questions from literature by multiple authors that specialize in this field. A big portion of the article is dedicated to three important case studies of terrorists on pathways, factors, and support for militancy.
Hwang starts the article by first explaining the importance of examining supporters of terrorists as well as the terrorist groups themselves. Supporters of terrorist groups are an essential part to the survival of terrorist groups. Without the support of these individuals, terrorist groups lose a lot of their backings to continue their mission. The study of Islamic terrorism in Asia is understudied compared to studies in Europe and Middle East, despite the fact that two-thirds of the world’s Muslim population resides in that region making it a very hot area for extermist groups to develop and find supports.
Hwang then examines how “joining a terrorist group is indeed a process of ‘becoming’” (2018), through a study made by Wiktorowicz and an analogy made by Moghaddam. According to Wiktorowicz’s study on a UK based terrorist group by the name of Al Muhajiroun, there are four factors that works together to push someone towards the path of terrorism. The first factor that starts a person towards the path of terrorism is a personal or identity crisis that can come from discrimination or repression that leads them to the second factor of religious seeking in which they encounters some radical social movement activists. This is followed by frame alignment and then a deliberate “culturing” and readjustment into the new worldview. Likewise, Fathali Moghaddam uses an analogy of a staircase to illustrate the “becoming” process of a terrorist. Moghaddam examples that on the ground and first floor of the staircase is the area where individuals feel like that are wronged against and blocked from moving upwards in society. There are millions of individuals who feel this way on those two levels. On the second floor is where an individual shows aggression towards those that wronged them. On the third floor is where that individual looks for others that exhibit like minded views. These two level is where the individual find moral justification for terrorism. On the fourth floor is where an individual joins a terrorist group and on the fifth floor is where that individual is assigned a role within the group. What is important about this “becoming” process is that there are many that experience the first factor and are at lower floors but few of them actually join a terrorist group.
After examining the process of “becoming,” Hwang examines how radicalization can happen and how individuals get associated with terrorist groups through studies made by Sageman, Silke, Osman and Hafez. According to Sageman, radicalization is spread and strengthened through communities. When a community of terrorists gather and express their outrage, individuals who resonate with that outrage are further strengthened and encouraged to live up to their goals. This type of sharing further deepens their bonds with each other thus drawing each other closer. This friendship is the prime driver of radicalization. Similarly, Silke agrees with Sageman that radicalization can happen within young immigrants and study circles within mosques that express grievances of social identification and perception of marginalization, desire for vengeance, and seeking for status that strengthens their bond and commitment to each other resulting in the group to be radicalized together. Osman and Hafez highlights that family and extended family play an important role in the association of terrorist groups, whether it is a point of entry or a reason to be committed to the group. Hwang closes this section off by explaining how support for terrorism tends to be associated with some sort of grievances particularly socioeconomic marginalization.
The first case studies are done by Hwang, Schulze, and Nuraniyah in which they chart the pathways of joining Islamist extremist groups. Hwang and Schulze drew their findings from an interview with 49 members of the Indonesian Islamist extremist groups while Nyraniyah drew her findings from fieldwork with Indonesian female IS sympathizers. Hwang and Schulze found that four pathways of study circles, conflicts, schools, and kinship are what led these individuals into Indonesian Islamist groups. Nyraniyah found that Wiktorowicz’s four part framework played a big part in these Indonesian females becoming IS sympathizers.
The second case studies are done by Riaz, Parvez and Jones in which they identified factors that led individuals towards radicalization. Riaz and Parvez got their findings from a dataset profiling of some 150 Bangladeshi militants while Jones got her findings from exploring the radicalization of the Cotabato cell, a pro-ISIS coalition in the Philippines. Riaz and Parvez found that the four drivers that led individuals towards radicalization in Bangladesh are “relationships, personal cries, social media and external factors” (Hwang, 2018). Jones found that the four factors that led individuals towards radicalization are “changing contextual conditions on the ground, exposure to pro-ISIS propaganda, leadership from Islamist extremist clerics, and social netowrks” (Hwang, 2018).
The third case studies are done by Fair and Hamza in which they explore the reasons for
why individuals, particularly women, would support one militant group as to another. They identified that women were more likely to support Sipah-e-Sahaba-e-Pakistan than Afghan Taliban because the former took an inclusive approach toward women while the latter didn’t. Supporters will lean towards groups that include them and their views.
Hwang, J. C. (2018). Pathways into Terrorism: Understanding Entry into and Support for Terrorism in Asia. Terrorism and Political Violence, 30(6), 883-889. DOI: 10.1080/09546553.2018.1481186
1. Explain Moghaddam’s staircase analogy on the process of “becoming” a terrorist. Do you agree with his analogy?
2. Identify Wiktorowicz’s four factors. How can these factors be applied to Nuraniyah’s study?
3. How does a community reinforce radicalization? Were you ever radicalized by a community?
This question is open to the entire class:
Would the Moghaddam’s staircase analogy apply to countries outside of Asia? What does this model stress (emphasize) the most?