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Saturday, August 5, 2017

Protect our children from idolizing terrorists

Idolizing terrorists is somewhat new to the Philippines, at least by kids in town. Some of the children displaced by the fighting in Marawi see Islamic State (IS) group fighters as heroes (“Displaced kids view Marawi terrorists as heroes,” News, 7/28/17). That is what the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC) discovered after it recently hosted a games for peace last month in Iligan City, where many displaced Marawi residents fled after fighting between government forces and IS-inspired terrorists erupted in May.

Definitely, this issue will not only be limited among Marawi children whose minds are being taken captive by the IS-linked Maute group in the context of propaganda. This exploitation is somewhat an effective strategy by the terrorists using the Robinhood act of generosity to impress those in need that they are the protagonists and the government is ineffective. Food and money can blind people without asking what lies behind.

Moreover, this is not just about the influencers (Maute) but of a long history of hatred. Children’s attitude can be traced to centuries-old hatred and anger toward colonizers (Spanish and American combined), as well as the military and government in general.

It may spiral further from that area to another where actual recruitment may take place. Aside from this, millennials, as frequent users of social media, are highly susceptible to the online psyop of the terrorists.

On the other hand, it may seem to be nothing but we believe that it is part of their protracted warfare strategy. Aside from the actual combat intrusions to lengthen the war by implanting seeds of kindness, this will be passed through generations until such time their plan of massive recruitment will be realized. After this Marawi siege, it will be silent for a while but because emotions of these children have been tapped, we will never know when exactly will be the next stage of attack. And that is more dangerous.

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