“A strategy needs to be something that can be sustained!” President Obama on fighting ISIS
How are we as a society failing our twenty-some year old young men? The shooters in San Bernardino were living the life the men I talk about below wanted. Where can we find a life of hope and purpose for these young men? How can they be encouraged to connect to the world around them?
This is a blog I wrote after the Paris terror attack:
Today I am writing about the young men I met on a recent trip, and I am calling on the wealthy, big corporations, the United Nations, and the World Bank to help them by creating jobs.
My husband and I have just returned from Albania, Kosovo, and Macedonia. In the past few years we have also travelled independently to Serbia, Bosnia, Romania and other Eastern European countries. These countries are democracies, but are still struggling after Soviet domination for many years. The message we hear from the frustrated twenty-some men is, “We have NO hope!” These English-speaking locals approach us as we wait for buses, ride ferries, trains, or are looking at a map on the street. Unemployment is very high and most we talk to are unemployed or a few are in a low wage jobs. They have no confidence in their governments, and feel hopeless about their futures They say they have to pay bribes to get jobs, and to get into the military. Some of these young men are Muslims, and some are Orthodox Christians. They think the only solution is to move to Western Europe, Canada or the United States. What is upsetting is the place and time and people change in these discussions, but their message stays the same! I need to leave to find a better life!
Their frustrations are so enormous that it frightens me they will take any avenue to escape their situation. Clearly, the answer is not with their governments. Kosovo can’t account for all the funds NATO has given them to rebuild from their recent war.
The solution needs to exist inside their own countries. If companies are looking to expand, don’t forget Eastern Europe. Large corporations expanding and creating jobs in these countries could make a big difference! The men we speak to appear to be educated and have good communication skills, and say they are willing to work hard.
It is such a waste of human energy to have energetic minds struggling for a future! The roots of terrorism are very complicated and my ideas are simplistic, but how can these individuals feel they are important, that their lives matter, and that they can contribute worthwhile things to society? What are some sustainable jobs and industries NGOs or private business can start or create in Eastern Europe?
Much needs to be done, but as I ride buses through the countryside these are the things that could be win-win for Europe and the entire world:
- Solar is a natural for this area. Wealthier areas have solar water heaters.
- Recycling is lacking and plastic litter is an enormous problem. How could these plastic bottles and bags be made valuable?
- ECO Tourism. Albania is on the Adriatic Sea and the ancient and historic sites make for some fabulous tourist attractions.
You ask me, “Where are the girls and women?” I can’t answer that question. Sometimes on the street you see a hundred men to one woman. Some women do have jobs, and girls are going to school, but overall this is a place where the men seem to dominate.