January 21, 2008
Interestingly, both the activists themselves, in their public and private statements, and those watching them tend to describe a similar phenomenon and factors leading to radicalisation and eventual violence. Recruiters are not "the preachers of hate" but older brothers, respected peers, charismatic strong characters. Many militants are "self-starters", not brainwashed recruits. The images that bombard us all are important - not just clever propaganda. Yes, frustration, alienation, a sense of injustice, a search for adventure, a need for recognition is all important but so are "small group dynamics", who you happen to meet and when. Increasing isolation within the group is essential for the progressive dehumanisation of "the enemy" and the hardening and maintenance of psychological readiness to die "for the cause".