Il terrorista frustrato

Relative Deprivation in the Islamic World – Engineers of Jihad: The Curious Connection between Violent Extremism and Education by Diego Gambetta, Steffen Hertog

I laureati dei paesi islamici se la sono vista brutta ad un certo punto della loro storia recente in poi (inizio anni ottanta)…

… many Muslim countries have suffered development crises and have failed to create decent jobs for university graduates…

Chi studia l’origine del terrorismo in quei paesi deve tenere in gran conto queste frustrazioni…

… We might speculate that political rebellions grow out of the frustrated expectations of the educated…

Alte aspettative generano alte frustrazioni…

… If acquiring a degree in higher education is a reflection of high hopes and ambition, does thwarted ambition produce militants among university graduates?…

***

L’ipotesi che la violenza origini dalla frustrazione ha una tradizione venerabile che risale ad Aristotele e a Tocqueville.

Ma attenzione: parliamo di frustrazione relativa, non assoluta…

… The theory is not about absolute deprivation or poverty as such, factors that are not necessarily linked to militancy (Krueger 2007). It is about expectations of social advancement?both individual and collective?that first are raised and then disappointed…

Purtroppo l’evidenza a supporto, finora, non è stata raccolta in modo sistematico. Autori di riferimento…

… Berman et al. 2011; Davies 1962; Gurr 1970; Salert 1976; Finkel and Rule 1986; Piazza 2006…

Altra precisazione: la frustrazione rilevante riguarda il gruppo, non l’individuo…

… The process might not be limited to individual economic failure but could also involve ?group relative deprivation,? a concept originally proposed by sociologist W. G. Runciman as ?fraternal deprivation? (1966). This occurs when an individual feels that the group he belongs to is collectively deprived…***

I più dotati sono anche i più esposti a delusioni cocenti. L’ Egitto è un posto ideale per un primo test…

… In our reading of relative deprivation, individuals with above-average skills, who have been selected for their university studies on merit, are particularly susceptible to frustration and a sense of injustice when they find their professional future hampered by a lack of opportunities…

Nasser: università di massa e lavoro (statale) per tutti…

… Egypt, where our puzzle first emerged, perfectly epitomizes the story of militancy rooted in frustrated ambitions. During Nasser?s ?socialist years,? from 1960 to 1966, the Egyptian university system was opened to lower-class students and enrollment greatly increased. Nasser offered state employment to all new graduates (Longuenesse 2007: 41)…

La sconfitta nella guerra con Israele e la crisi economica affossarono via via la retorica nasseriana (ma anche quella islamica)…

… When development sputtered and Egypt lost the 1967 war against Israel, students, who had been socialized and mobilized into Nasser?s ideology like no other group, were the most disillusioned. Protests occurred regularly, first dominated by leftist slogans but turning to Islamic rhetoric in the 1970s…

Si formano i primi gruppi radicali, la presenza di laureati senza futuro è preponderante…

… Ibrahim, in his early study of 1970s radicals, noted that most activists in his sample ranked ?decidedly high in both motivation and achievement.?…

Il laureato egiziano è orgoglioso, rifiuta un lavoro modesto per sbarcare il lunario…

… Many graduates preferred joblessness even to relatively well-paying menial jobs, and for numerous young Egyptians marriage became unaffordable. Making a virtue out of necessity, many graduates tried to restore their dignity by adopting an austere Islamic morality to compensate for their material deprivation (Hoffman 1995: 208)…

La classe media è all’angolo…

… The gradual marginalization of the middle classes, previously the bedrock of regime support, became increasingly obvious. The dearth of opportunities was made all the more grating by the corrupt allocation of jobs by the state, whereby elites channeled the country?s few well-paying jobs to their own offspring…

Sono gli islamisti a capitalizzare il malcontento…

… The Islamist opposition was able to provide an organized focus to this discontent, as documented by Wickham in her seminal study of grassroots Islamist mobilization…

In particolare i Fratelli Musulmani

… Muslim Brothers found strong support among lower-middle and middle-class students…

Il caso di Atta è esemplare…

… in the late 1990s Mohamed Atta, the leader of the 9/11 hijackers, wanted to return from his technical studies in Germany to work in Cairo but faced dire job prospects as his family lacked the ?right connections.?3 When he left Germany for good in summer 2000, it was not to return to his home country but to enroll in a flight school in Florida on orders of Osama bin Laden…

In Algeria le dinamiche sono simili…

… Willis reports that the economic crisis in Algeria pushed young men, particularly students, toward Islamist movements in the 1980s and 1990s (1996: 85, 109)….

I molti talenti arruolati da Al-Qaida

… According to Sageman?who briefly mentions relative deprivation as a necessary condition of radicalization?many Al-Qaida members, although academically gifted, did not have full-time jobs (2004: 92, 95)…

I molti laureati palestinesi radicalizzati…

… Benmelech, Berrebi, and Klor (2010) show that high levels of unemployment enable militant Palestinian organizations to recruit more educated and experienced suicide terrorists, who in turn attack more important Israeli targets…

Palestina: più si è istruiti, più ci si oppone alla Roadmap

… Meyersson Milgrom and Jasso (2004) demonstrate that higher levels of education are associated with lower support for the Roadmap to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, while higher levels of income among Palestinians are associated with greater support…

Altri paesi molto simili…

… Algeria, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, and Yemen…

Conta la crescita economica non la ricchezza assoluta del paese…

… While Middle Eastern growth rates in the 1950s and 1960s had been impressive, the whole region fell behind in terms of per capita income compared to other developing economies from the mid-1970s on (see figure 2.2), exactly the time when Islamist opposition and, in most cases, militancy emerged as a major phenomenon across the region (Yazbeck Haddad, Esposito, and Voll 1991; Hunter 1988; Kepel 2002; Roy 1994)…

Una fonte meritoria quando si parla di frustrazione delle élites mediorientali…

Elisabeth Longuenesse who has written the foremost study of the social and educational history of the professional middle class in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria?provides a rich description of the emerging ?discrepancy between expectations and possibilities? for graduates in the 1970s and 1980s…

Mobilità sociale bassa, un fattore decisivo…

… there are some hard data that illustrate the limited mobility chances of average graduates in 1980s and 1990s Arab countries: private returns to higher education?the amount of extra earnings per year of education?in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, and Yemen were considerably lower than they were in Latin American and Asian countries (see figure 2.3)…

Palestina: college premium a picco…

… In Palestine, the size of the educated labor force increased dramatically from 1981 to 1987 while income differences between secondary school and university graduates fell by half, meaning that a university degree paid off progressively less (Angrist 1995)…

Quanto più una nazione cresce, tanti meno terroristi laureati annovera…

… If mobility closure for the highly educated explains their overrepresentation among militants, then Islamic countries with more successful economies should have fewer radicalized graduates than Arab countries…

L’ipotesi viene confermata mettendo sotto la lente tre paesi

… Singapore, Indonesia, and India have not undergone economic crises as pronounced and protracted as those in the Arab world, and their output of university graduates is also more aligned with their level of development.6 These are the same countries that have the lowest presence of graduates in our sample (22.5 percent). The share is the lowest in Singapore (6 of 31 cases),7 which is the most successful economically, despite much higher levels of education in the population at large…

L’ipotesi è anche compatibile con una regola generale della storia: sono le classi medie a fare la rivoluzione…

… Comparative international research has shown that a larger share of adults who have attained some level of higher education makes democratic revolutions more likely (Kurzman and Leahey 2004)….

***

Che dire degli ingegneri? Sono un gruppo particolarmente deluso?

In certi paesi si diventa ingegneri anche e forse soprattutto per lo status che questo titolo conferisce…

… In the MENA region (Medio Oriente e Nord Africa), a degree in engineering carries more than mere technical status (Cornand 1990; Wickham 2002), and many students choose it as much because of their interest in the subject as because of the prestige it confers (Hanafi 1990: 173)…

In condizioni del genere quando la mobilità sociale si blocca lo smacco è più forte…

… Mobility failure for these students at the top of the educational pyramid must be all the more galling…

L’ingegnere… un simbolo dell’inseguimento all’occidente

… As early as the 1820s, Egypt’s modernizing regimes under the Muhammad Ali dynasty glorified science and industry as a means of catching up with the West (Longuenesse 2007: 174)… Under the Nasserist regime in Egypt and Ba‘athist rule in Syria in the 1960s, the “hegemony of modernist scientism became total” (Longuenesse 2007: 68)… Among Egypt’s Nasserist technocrats, engineers had a heavier and more visible presence than any other category of graduates (Moore 1994: 9, 13,166ff.)….

***

Quando le cose filavano lisce l’ingegnere si guardava bene dal far politica: lui era un “tecnico”…

… Arab engineers were apolitical for most of their history, primarily focused on serving governments in the interest of technical modernity (Longuenesse 2007: 60, 101). Compared to their dominant role in post-1970s Islamist militancy, they are strikingly absent from previous political movements. Early nationalist and socialist leaders and even early Islamists overwhelmingly came from other professions; many of them were lawyers and teachers… Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Din al-Bitar, the two founders of the secularnationalist Ba‘athist movement in Syria, were teachers, as was Zaki al-Arsuzi, the leader of a parallel movement that joined forces with the Ba‘ath in 1947… Engineers appeared later, as functionaries, not revolutionary leaders… Springborg (1978) describes the political mobilization of the lawyers’, doctors’, and journalists’ syndicates from the 1950s to the 1970s but does not mention engineers… Professionals were already present in Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood in the 1940s and 1950s,13 but most of the leading Islamist activists in the 1950s and 1960s in Egypt and North Africa came from second-tier faculties like education…. Among early Islamists, teachers had the leading positions that engineers occupy today: the prime mover of twentieth-century Islamist organization, Hassan Al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, was a teacher at Dar Al-Uloum school in Cairo… Isam Attar, leader of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood after 1957, was a teacher of Arabic literature. The Shabiba Islamist movement in Morocco was set up by an educational inspector in 1972, a job also held by the leader of the Moroccan justice and charity movement, Abdessalam Yassine (b. 1928, d. 2012)…

***

Furono le crisi economiche a radicalizzare la categoria.

L’ingegnere fa politica ed è tra i più lesti ad imbracciare il fucile

… But as cracks in the modernization projects widened from the 1970s onward, engineers began to show up in Islamist movements—notably in the early Egyptian militant groups studied by Ibrahim but also among the peaceful Islamist opposition in Egypt (Wickham 2002: 116, 184; Moore 1994: 208). The militant “Fighting Vanguard” group that led the mass insurrection in the Syrian city of Hama in 1982 was led by a civil engineer, Adnan Uqla (who had succeeded a dentist in leading the organization)…

Il timing tra crisi economica e ingresso in politica è impressionante…

… It seems hardly a coincidence that previously apolitical engineers appeared on the political scene precisely when development in the Islamic world started to wane and when the status of new cohorts of graduates, who were perceived to be their nations’ technical vanguard, was progressively undermined…

La sorte dell’ingegnere: da scienziato a burocrate. E tutti sanno che il burocrate è quasi sempre un disoccupato mascherato. Di sicuro c’è un crollo nel prestigio e nello stipendio…

… “In less than half a century, the [Arab] engineer went from the status of a senior civil servant to that of a rank and file technical or bureaucratic employee, becoming a hindrance to administration and public enterprises” (2007: 81).17…

Anni ottanta: il prezzo del petrolio collassa. E’ l’inizio di tutto…

… The employment situation for those in the engineering field in the 1970s worsened palpably, but it still compared favorably to that of other disciplines, not least due to heightened labor demand from the Gulf. A further dramatic deterioration came with the collapse of the price of oil after 1982…

***

La frustrazione è doppia: come persone (da scienziati a burocrati) e come nazione (l’inseguimento all’occidente è fallito)…

… Given their vaunted status as their nations’ pioneers, Muslim engineers were likely frustrated both individually and collectively, not only because of their personal labor market failures but also because of the technological and developmental failures of their societies…

Chi ha studiato all’estero è particolarmente facilitato nel fare confronti imbarazzanti…

… Moreover, Muslim engineers who studied in the West, itself a sign of an even greater ambition and willingness to make sacrifices, should have felt more deprived, both individually and collectively…

L’odio di Atta per i grattacieli

… Mohamed Atta often bemoaned Western influence in Arab cities (Holmes 2005): According to Dittmar Machule, his thesis supervisor at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg in Germany, Atta hated skyscrapers because in the Syrian city of Aleppo, on which he wrote his doctoral dissertation, tall buildings stole the privacy of the traditional Arab homes in whose courtyards women were once able to remove their veils unseen by strangers (Rose 2004)…

***

Frustrazione implica terrorismo. E’ il caso di provare test ulteriori dell’ipotesi.

Forse che i meno ambiziosi sono anche i meno inclini a radicalizzarsi? Sì, i meno ambiziosi sono più pacifici…

… if being an engineer indicates that one is hard-working and ambitious, and if these traits lead to particularly deep frustration when development stalls in one’s home country, then we should expect the less well equipped and ambitious to be much less represented among militant movements. This is exactly what the data presented in chapter 1 seem to show: courses of study that are associated with less prestige in the Islamic world—the arts, humanities, education—which also typically have less stringent admission requirements, are strongly underrepresented in the sample…

I primi frustrati del mondo islamico sono stati gli insegnanti (che infatti predominavano nelle prime formazioni) poiché il loro status si è deteriorato causa l’istruzione di massa e la moltiplicazione del numero. Cio’ ha fatto sì che la crisi non li colpisse in modo particolarmente duro (erano già a terra)…

… Frustrated expectations also seem to explain why teachers played a much larger role in all forms of militancy in the early years of political Islam. Before the age of mass higher education, when many towns and villages were proud to send even one young student to university, a degree in education carried some prestige and was a vehicle for upward mobility…

Per gli avvocati il modello è il medesimo…

… The story for lawyers—hardly present in our sample at just 1.8 percent—matches that of teachers: in early twentieth-century Egypt a law degree was considered very prestigious (Longuenesse 2007: 56), but later it became one of the least regarded degrees (Moore 1994: 46). Lawyers were among the leaders in the early nationalist struggle (Longuenesse 2007: 57). In the 1950s, the lawyers’ syndicate still led the opposition to Nasser, playing a more active political role than either the doctors’ or engineers’ syndicate up to the 1970s (Springborg 1978: 281; Reid 1974: 46)…

Il costo opportunità della conversione al terrorismo è crollato nel corso della crisi economica soprattutto per gli ingegneri…

… Benmelech, Berrebi, and Klor (2010) and Lee (2011) explain the presence of highly educated militants in stagnant economies in terms of opportunity costs:26 As economic opportunities dwindle, highly skilled individuals incur smaller relative costs by becoming militant…

***

C’è un’eccezione: l’Arabia Saudita.

Pochi ingegneri nel terrorismo saudita…

… Saudi Arabia, a country with only 1 engineer among 10 graduates in our main sample, no engineer among 14 graduates in the Sinjar sample, and only 1 engineer among 11 graduates in Thomas Hegghammer’s sample mentioned in chapter 1. This is true even though the proportion of engineers in the Saudi population is comparable to that of other Arab states…

Ovvio: in AS l’economia ha sempre “tirato”…

… What is special about Saudi engineers? Most obviously, they have had much better labor market chances than their peers in any of the non-Gulf MENA states: the Saudi market has been able to absorb virtually all university graduates with prestigious technical degrees… Job market chances for the technically educated have further improved in recent years as the government has been exerting pressure on companies to hire nationals instead of foreigners… There have been signs of scarcity of engineers during the recent oil boom (Saudi Gazette, 21 May 2006, 3 December 2006; Bahrain Tribune, 21 April 2006; Arab News, 12 April 2007; Khaleej Times, 21 June 2007)…

Ancora oggi, gli uomini che fornisce AS al terrorismo sono i meno preparati…

… Compared to the other Arab cases, the Saudi contingent in our Muslim world sample appears quite unaccomplished, with lower education levels and less prestigious courses of study among those who attended university… According to official sources, the main threat in Saudi domestic militancy comes from individuals who have dropped out of education, not elites (Saudi Gazette, 4 January 2011)…

***

Riassumiamo i fatti che avvalorano l’ipotesi della frustrazione come molla del terrorismo islamico…

… the weaker presence of graduates among extremists from countries with better labor market opportunities (see also chapter 3); •  the prominent role of engineers in Islamist radicalism from the 1970s on in countries undergoing economic crises, and their absence among opposition movements in earlier decades; •  the absence from Islamist movements of engineers in Saudi Arabia, a country where they retain excellent labor market chances; and •  the waxing and waning of the role played by other professions, such as teachers and lawyers, in opposition movements in Islamic countries over nearly a century…

Fenomeni che l’ipotesi non spiega: perché gli ingegneri e non i medici?…

… there are facts that do not fit into the relative deprivation explanation even if we consider only the educated militants: among the extremists we find some graduates who should not be there and do not find some other graduates who should be there. As for graduates who, according to the relative deprivation hypothesis, should be there and are not, consider the doctors who, compared to engineers, are significantly less overrepresented… proportional terms, medical faculties expanded almost as dramatically as those of engineers,36 leading to a surplus of doctors and, consequently, unmet expectations (Longuenesse 2007: 67)…

Prima ipotesi: l’ingegnere lavora fondamentalmente per lo stato. In tempi grami il medico puo’ trovare soccorso nel privato…

… There are two ways in which relative deprivation could explain this anomaly. First, engineers’ greater dependence on the state could have made them more vulnerable to budget cuts and to the downward mobility of bureaucrats from the 1970s on. It is arguably easier for doctors to practice even in a struggling economy than it is for engineers who rely on large projects or firms to employ them (Longuenesse 2007: 96)…

Seconda ipotesi: gli ingegneri partono mediamente da gradini più bassi della scala sociale, un blocco della mobilità impatta in modo particolare su di loro…

… Second, if engineering students came from lower social backgrounds than those in medicine did, they would have incurred greater relative costs for their education and entertained expectations of higher social advancement…

Ma le due ipotesi non ricevono supporto empirico…

… we have found no evidence to support it…

Bisogna pensare ad altro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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