When Eggheads Go Sour

Recently I read an interview with the President of Niger, the francophone country to the north of Nigeria, about Boko Haram, the Islamist group that kidnapped more than 200 Nigerian girls and threatened to sell them into some kind of slavery. President Mahamadou Issoufou said, by way of explanation, that “poverty is the principal ally of terrorism.”

Is this really so? There are plenty of very poor places in the world that are free from terrorism, so poverty is not a sufficient condition for it; whether poverty is a necessary condition depends on the definition of poverty that you use, relative or absolute, bearing in mind that one is always poor relative to someone else unless one happens to be the richest person in the world. Besides, the President named a few other possible allies of terrorism (by which I Against the State: An ... Rockwell, Llewellyn Best Price: null Buy New $3.99 (as of 11:20 EST - Details) think he meant causes or necessary conditions) that might be just as important.

For example, he mentioned that Islamic “charitable” non-governmental organizations might be funding Boko Haram. He offered no proof, but it struck him (as it strikes me) as likely. Boko Haram’s arms came from Libya, he said, after the Western overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi; the arms, alas, were liberated with considerably more success than the country as a whole. Therefore Boko Haram might even be called Gaddafi’s revenge (or rather, one of his revenges, the other being the war in Mali). Western policy, then, was terrorism’s ally; unwittingly, perhaps, though not therefore unpredictably.

The President also said, “The majority of the recruits [to Boko Haram] are young unemployed déclassés. This group has begun to implant itself in the villages. The first leaders, who were townsmen, had launched an appeal for a Check Amazon for Pricing. return to the land …”

This strikes me as a typical example in the Third World of what happens when an educated class is enlarged at a faster rate than that at which the economy can employ it at the level of importance and remuneration to which it believes itself entitled by virtue of its education, that is to say the level at which the educated of former times were employed when they were very much less numerous and therefore a genuine, though no doubt corrupt, elite. This is all the more so when the education has been bought at the cost of considerable personal or parental sacrifice, as it usually has been. By the way, no real peasant would ever call for a return to the land: only an educated or semi-educated townsman, with little experience of the toil of unmechanized husbandry, would do that. Peasants can manage a jacquerie, perhaps, but not a guerrilla movement. The latter requires semi-education at the least, and usually more than that.

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