Identikit del terrorista kamikaze

Chi è il terrorista kamikaze?

Potremmo definirlo un altruista radicale.

Un altruista che attinge a quelle stesse forze attraverso le quali abbiamo posto le fondamenta delle più nobili e più potenti civiltà umane.

E la religione c’entra?

Certo che c’entra, la religione è il mattone fondamentale per costruire la civiltà umana.

Ecco, in estrema sintesi queste sono le risposte che fornisce Scott Atran dopo aver a lungo parlato con loro in Talking to the Enemy: Faith, Brotherhood, and the (Un)Making of Terrorists. In realtà dietro c’è uno studio antropologico e psicologico decennale.

Ecco una riga tratta dal testamento spirituale di un martire, mi sempra esemplare di un comune sentire:

I and thousands like me have forsaken everything for what we believe. MOHAMMAD SI DI QUE KHAN, ELDEST OF THE JULY 7, 2005, LONDON UNDERGROUND SUICIDE BOMBERS

Tra i terroristi la voglia di martirio è sincera, la fede è integerrima e la dedizione assoluta:

I noticed tears welling up in the eyes of my traveling companion and bodyguard, Farhin. He had just heard of a young man who had recently been killed in a skirmish with Christian fighters, and the experiment seemed to bring the youth’s death even closer to home. “Farhin,” I asked, “did you know the boy?” “No,” he said, “but he was only in the jihad a few weeks. I’ve been fighting since Afghanistan [the late 1980s] and I’m still not a martyr.” I tried consoling him: “But you love your wife and children.” “Yes.” He nodded sadly. “God has given this, and I must have faith in the way He sets out for me.” “What way, Farhin?” “The way of the mujahid, the holy warrior.”

Il terrorista non è un nichilista ma un credente a tutto tondo:

The terrorists aren’t nihilists, starkly or ambiguously, but often deeply moral souls with a horribly misplaced sense of justice.

L’obiettivo dello studioso è quello di comprendere questo altruismo estremo che conduce a sacrificare la propria vita per cause solo all’apparenza astratte:

… understand and convey what makes humans willing to kill and die for others…

L’istituzione privilegiata per vedere all’opera l’altruismo radicale dell’uomo è la tribù, ma intesa in senso lato:

It is the larger family, or “tribe,” and not the mostly ordinary individuals in it, that increasingly has seemed to me the key to understanding the extraordinary violence of mass killing and the murder of innocents… There is an extended sense of tribe similar to philosopher Jonathan Glover’s outlook in Humanity, his very disturbing chronicle of twentieth-century atrocities. This broader idea of tribe refers to a group of interlinked communities that largely share a common cultural sense of themselves, and which imagine and believe themselves to be part of one big family and home…

La tribù “allargata” puo’ diventare una comunità immaginaria i cui membri mancano spesso di una relazione  personale tra loro:

the “imagined community,” as political scientist Benedict Anderson once referred to the notion of the nation,6 extends from city neighborhoods to cyberspace…

La cosa non è nuova, già le ideologie novecentesche (vere religioni) avevano realizzato un legame tribale tra estranei:

Nazi Germany imagined itself in terms of a tribe, the fatherland, and pushed the Soviet Union away from pretensions of universal brotherhood and back to a Mother Russia, which, with the Stalin priesthood, in fact mobilized tribal passions for sacrifice in the Great Patriotic War…

Ormai sappiamo che esiste un legame solido tra altruismo e guerra. Niente altruisti, niente guerre. Non a caso rinveniamo spesso un’esaltazione della guerra tra gli altruisti radicali:

War is noble in a true cause that is worth more than life. Fighting for that is a strong feeling, strong.”…

La metafora più sfruttata in questi casi è quella familare:

… It’s no accident that nearly all religious and political movements express allegiance through the idiom of the family—brothers and sisters, children of God, fatherland, motherland, homeland…

I terroristi non sono razzisti: per loro l’uomo è una creta sempre modellabile e la cultura è tutto, un bambino sionista puo’ sempre diventare un eccellente mujahedin:

whether the children of Zionist Jews raised by mujahedin families since birth would become good Muslims and mujahedin or remain Zionist Jews. Nearly all mujahedin, leaders and foot soldiers alike, answered that the children would grow up to be good Muslims and mujahedin. They usually said that everyone’s fitrah (nature) is the same and that social surroundings and teaching make a person good or bad…

Il bene più ambito dai terroristi è la gloria:

Glory is the promise to take life and surrender it in the hope of giving greater life to some group of genetically bound strangers who believe they share an imagined community under God (or under His modern secular manifestations, such as the nation and humanity)…

Difficile non sentire l’afflato religioso spirare da questi sentimenti sinceri.

Nelle parole dei martiri la causa (religiosa) è sempre accostata alla fratellanza, ovvero alla comunità di appartenenza.

“My son didn’t die just for the sake of a cause, he died also for his cousins and friends. He died for the people he loved.” And my puzzling over that sentiment then became an overarching theme of study for this book…

Ma, almeno nell’uomo moderno, la scienza puo’ rimpiazzare fede e altruismo radicale? No. E non deve quindi meravigliare che molti terroristi non siano affatto estranei al mondo della scienza, o per lo meno della tecnologia (è nota tra loro la preponderanza di ingegneri). La scienza fallisce invariabilmente nel momento in cui vuole proporsi come base morale per una vita appagata:

Some of my fellow nonreligious scientists believe that science is better able than religion to constitute or justify a moral system that regulates selfishness and makes social life possible. In fact, there doesn’t seem to be the slightest bit of historical or experimental evidence to support such faith in science… Neither do I think scientists are particularly well suited to provide moral guidance to society… As Noam Chomsky put it in response to my criticism of “new atheists” who claim to replace faith-based morality with science-based morality: “On the ordinary problems of human life, science tells us very little, and scientists as people are surely no guide. In fact they are often the worst guide, because they often tend to focus, laser-like, on their professional interests and know very little about the world.”…

Dai tempi di Dukheim sappiamo che la religione e solo la religione fonda la convivenza umana (la laicità nasconde quasi sempre una religione moderna che si oppone a quelle passate, ricordiamoci che lo statista laico per eccellenza fu Hitler):

“God and society are one and the same…” French sociologist Émile Durkheim famously conjectured…

In nome della religione e dell’altruismo noi compiamo sia i gesti più nobili che quelli più infimi. L’empatia è alla base dell’ecatombe come della umanità. I genocidi più efferati sono stati compiuti spesso da chi ha sacrificato la propria vita e la propria famiglia alla causa e non certo da avidi egoisti in cerca di un sordido tornaconto personale:

…religions sanctify and incite fear (which is the father of cruelty) but also hope (which is the friend of happiness). Between the Hecatomb and Humanity, religion’s polar products, the destinies of civilizations continue to evolve…

L’idea religiosa regala all’uomo “senso” e “socializzazione”, due beni primari:

Humans and other primates have two preoccupations in life: health and social relations. Actually, they’re often the same: socialize to survive… This belief that our world was intended for the committed community is what I call the Cause. It is a mystical thing, a product of our biological evolution and history that gives spiritual purpose to our lives…

Con la socializzazione e il “senso” del proprio agire arrivano le motivazioni e  arriva presto anche  la civiltà:

… this illusion [Atran è un ateo convinto] came to drive humanity and make itself real in the creation of cultures and the religious rise of civilizations..

Il libro risulta disturbante proprio per il sottile legame che istituisce tra terrorismo e civiltà. Ecco lo scopo dell’autore dietro questa mossa ardita:

It’s about attempting to demystify terrorism, lessen our fears, and reduce the dangers of violent overreaction…

Jihadisti e umanitari hanno molto in comune, quasi ci si confonde:

jihad fights with the most primitive and elementary forms of human cooperation, tribal kinship and friendship, in the cause of the most advanced and sophisticated form of cultural cooperation ever created: the moral salvation of humanity…

Dal punto di vista psicologico e antropologico il terrorista è un tipo normale:

Anthropologically and psychologically, terrorists usually are not remarkably different from the rest of the population. There are a few cruel kooks and some very bright individuals who go in for violent jihad, but most terrorists fall in between. Small-group dynamics can trump individual personality to produce horrific behavior in ordinary people…

Ecco un profilo:

demographic and social tendencies exist: in age (usually early twenties), where they grew up and where they hang out (neighborhood is often key), in schooling (mostly nonreligious and often science oriented), in socioeconomic status (middle-class and married, though increasingly marginalized), in family relationships (friends tend to marry one another’s sisters and cousins)…

Il concetto centrale che il libro vuol far passare: non ci si sacrifica solo per una causa ma per una comunità. Gruppo e sopravvivenza vanno a braccetto cosicché la psicologia evoluzionista viene chiamata direttamente in causa:

These are tales and studies in the wild about how and why people come naturally to die and kill for the Cause—people almost never kill and die just for the Cause, but also for each other: for their group, whose cause makes their imagined family of genetic strangers—their brotherhood, fatherland, motherland, homeland, totem, or tribe… Now I see that friendship and other aspects of small-group dynamics, such as raising families or playing on a team together, trump most everything else in moving people through life. But I also see religion, and quasi-religious nationalist or internationalist devotion such as patriotism and love of humanity, as framing and mobilizing that movement with purpose and direction….But I think I’ve come to understand that without groups, and without sincere love of them by some, our species probably wouldn’t have survived… A person alone can analyze history but can’t make it without others…

Ricordiamoci sempre qual è la chiave del nostro successo evoluzionistico:

The key to this astounding and bewildering development, it appears, is mushrooming cultural cooperation and creativity within groups, in order to better compete against other groups…

E naturalmente la religione è l’ingrediente fondamentale di questa ricetta:

The story of humanity has been the religious rise of civilizations, however secular in appearance the recent chapters of the story appear…

In particolare i monoteismi, che hanno dato vita alle civiltà più estese (grandi dei, grandi civiltà):

The formation of large-scale cooperative societies is an evolutionary problem, because evolutionary theories of reciprocity based on kin relations or quid pro quo (scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours) cannot account for the fact that people frequently cooperate with strangers of unknown reputation whom they will never meet again and whose loyalties they cannot control. But religious beliefs and obligations can reinforce cooperative norms by conferring on them sacredness, and with supernatural punishment or divine retribution for breaking with those cooperative norms. Supernaturals are the unimpeachable authors of what is sacred in society… Sociologists and anthropologists argue that sacred beliefs and values authenticate society as having existence beyond the mere aggregation of its individuals and institutions… A reason for these divine beings: to make large-scale cooperation possible between anonymous strangers. Historical and cross-cultural analyses indicate that the larger a society’s population, the more likely it is to have deities who are concerned with managing morality and mitigating selfishness.

Forse la religiosità non è un istinto innato ma di sicuro emerge direttamente da istinti innati:

Religion, for example, is neither a naturally selected adaptation of our species nor innate in us. But we are biologically primed by evolution to be on the lookout for potential predators, and especially guard against intelligent and cunning agents like ourselves. So hair-trigger is this survival sensibility that we see enemies in clouds or hear them in the wind. It’s only a short step from imagining invisible agents to believing in their supernatural existence—a step motivated by fears of death and deception, and hopes of success and salvation. I’ll show evidence that this tricking and tweaking of our species’ innate and universal sensibilities is what creates religion from cognition…

Un parallelo (provocatorio, esagerato ma eloquente) potrebbe essere fatto tra pornografia e altruismo radicale:

From an evolutionary standpoint, imagined kinship isn’t all that different from pornography: It too involves manipulation of naturally selected proclivities for passionate ends that may be very far removed from evolutionary needs but create a cultural reality of their own….

Atran ha studiato a lungo l’origine della religione. Per lui, questo istinto naturale di far gruppo tra parenti ha isolato alcuni strumenti particolarmente efficaci a fungere da collante, tra questi il più affidabile è appunto il pensiero religioso (la religione emergerebbe così come effetto collaterale di questa esigenza):

When imagined kinship combines with team spirit, amazing things are possible: like winning battles against all odds, achieving civil rights, or you and your buddies blowing yourselves—and your perceived enemies—to bits…

Il concetto di Nazione è essenzialmente un concetto religioso:

In Imagined Communities, Benedict Anderson describes the birth of the concept of the nation as basically a reformulation of religion and the imagined kinship of ethnicity…

Ci sono una miriade di religioni moderne che noi non siamo abituati a considerare tali:

Secularized by the European Enlightenment, the great quasi-religious isms of modern history, as political philosopher John Gray calls them—colonialism, socialism, anarchism, fascism, communism, democratic liberalism—harnessed industry and science to continue on a global scale the human imperative of cooperate to compete… Even the idea of human rights is an outgrowth of monotheism, brought down from heaven to everyone on earth (in principle) by Europe’s Enlightenment.

Oggi le comunità sono virtuali e spesso staccate dai territori. Difficile allora pensare ai conflitti come a “scontri di civiltà” perché questa deterritorializzazione segna una crisi delle civiltà tradizionali – essenzialmente territoriali – e l’emersione di nuove civiltà:

As French political scientist Olivier Roy astutely notes, religion and politics are becoming increasingly detached from their cultures of origin, not so much because of the movement of peoples (only about 3 percent of the world’s population migrates),18 but through the worldwide traffic of media-friendly information and ideas…contrary to those who see global conflicts along long-standing “fault lines” and a “clash of civilizations,” these conflicts represent a crisis, even collapse, of traditional territorial cultures, not their resurgence… Many made giddy by globalization—the ever faster and deeper integration of individuals, corporations, markets, nations, technologies, and knowledge—believe that a connected world inexorably shrinks differences and divisions, making everyone safer and more secure in one great big happy family…

Molti giovani sono in cerca di “senso” e lo rinvengono in queste comunità virtuali che pur veicolando valori tradizionali sono spesso staccate dalla tradizione vera e propria e nel contesto contemporaneo offrono qualcosa di originale e in grado di marcare l’identità:

Many, especially the young, are increasingly independent yet interactive, in the search for respect and meaning in life, in their visions of economic advancement and environmental awareness. These youth form their identities in terms of global political cultures through exposure to the media…

Ora ci appare chiaro l’errore preoccupante che si annida nelle analisi più superficiali:

Politicians and pundits assure us that jihadism is nihilistic and amoral, with no real program or humanity. Yet charges of nihilism against an adversary usually reflect willful ignorance regarding the adversary’s moral framework


Al netto dell’ateismo dell’autore – fatto emergere anche laddove del tutto irrilevante – le tesi del libro sembrano convincenti. D’altronde, una certa sovraesposizione ideologica è giustificata: l’autore vorrebbe forse rassicurare della sua fede di fondo i “quattro cavalieri” dell’ateismo militante (Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens e Dennett) visti i duri scontri precedenti. Ricordo solo che i “quattro” sostenevano come al fanatismo islamico andasse contrapposto un non meglio precisato “pensiero scientifico”. Il commento di Atran: “barzellette”. E da lì sono state legnate pesanti come solo tra atei puo’ succedere.

Shaykh Abu 'Uthman Ibrahim   




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