Waithood, Terrorism, and Business

Recently, I bumped into a TED Talk: The link between unemployment and terrorism, which made me think about the link among the promise of cities, the desperation of waithood, the gateway to terrorism, and the hope of business.

In the talk show, Mohamed Ali from Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, tells a story about how a young man who is from a very poor town wants to seek opportunities in big city and ends up being a suicide bomber. He was waiting a chance that pulled him out of waiting and being poor, and the terrorism was the first thing that he bumped into. This thing repeats itself in urban centers around the world among poor and unemployment youth who want something other than waithood. Another story is about Mohamed Mohamoud, who had nothing to do after graduation but became the first florist in Mogadishu in over 22 years (people seldom see real flowers).


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Unemployment is about not only economic recession but also how youth suffer in waithood, which may lead to terrorism. When we see terrorism, we should see like an anthropologist by not only caring about the serious result but also exploring what causes it. Furthermore, I also know that business in different societies means different. We cannot compare the flower store with the stock market, just like we cannot compare Mogadishu with NYC. Besides representing money and richness, business also brings hope and creates a social impact, and more importantly it helps youth escape waithood and even terrorism. Anthropologists prefer to see things not separately but as a chain. In this story, this chain means a lot to the poor youth in Mogadishu.


One thought on “Waithood, Terrorism, and Business

  1. As what I read in another book: Three cups of tea, one way to prevent the youth becoming terrorist is give them better education. Because in these kind of area, people think getting into terrorism will offer them income to support their family. So maybe it’s better to let them know that there are other ways to get life support and they don’t need to be terrorist.

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