Monday, June 22, 2015


On Thursday the US officials arrested one Fareed Mumuni on suspicion that he was a terrorist. The 21 year old college student was linked to a plot to cause terror using pressure cooker bombs.

Mumuni, a US citizen, comes from Ghana and his sister is enlisted in the US Navy. Mumuni does not fit the stereo type of the angry black man, averse to authority and prowling his neighbourhood in gangs that prey on defenceless people.

Closer to home, this week the trial of 13 suspects all young men, for the 2010 bombings at Kyadondo Rugby Club and the Ethiopian Village Restaurant continued in the high court in Kampala.
The previous caricatures of terrorists as crazed, bearded men from disadvantaged families with no options in life is fast flying out the window.

In the western world stories are popping up all over the media of the most unlikely youth heading for the Middle East to join the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), which is destabilising Syria and Iraq.

Improvements in communication mean recruiters are reaching potential initiates much further away from home.

Which has to be every parent’s nightmare. Your child may be an ordinary person in his everyday life but you have no clue what messages are getting through to him from all the media he is engaging with daily.

These groups recruit teenagers and young adults whose life philosophies are unformed making them gullible and malleable to any message.

"Beyond the promises of a life in paradise pampered by a dozen virgins they are forcefed on a cocktail of hate ideology whose logical conclusion is that it is ok to die for the cause...

When I was a kid our parents’ worst fear is that we would become thieves, in addition parents have these days worry about drugs, sexual deviance and now terrorism.

When I was a kid our parents warned us against talking to strangers, but the main fear was of strangers we came face-to-face with. Parents today continue to warn against talking to strangers but now strangers with perverse motives need not be in your physical presence.

And when I was a kid our parents were the main reference point of what constituted acceptable behaviour. But now parents have to worry about the effect of role models like Ben 10, The Amazing Spiderman, Kim Kardashian and even Jack Bauer as the standard of behaviour their children choose to adopt.

It is a brave new world.

"It doesn’t take much effort to conceive a kid but it takes a village to raise it. Unfortunately we have retreated behind high walls, into gated compounds and held hostage by smartphones.  We are no longer our brothers’ nor his, children’s keeper. But the children still have to grow up and they are doing it the best way the can with the available influences around them, not all wholesome and predictive of a bright future...

So these young men before the high court reflect a failure by our society.

A failure to spare time to impart values that would insulate them from crack pot philosophies. A failure in our exposing them to images that glorify, romanticise and sanitise violence. And failure in our refusal to recognise that the world is a different place from one we grew up in and that we need to be more involved in our children’s upbringing.

A parent’s work is never done.

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