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As jihadi recruitment has grown even more severe, I believe it is because we have failed to factor in early childhood development. This is where the prologue to violence begins including radicalization and recruitment later on . . . .  

While a lot of money is being thrown at “de-radicalization,” reminiscent of the War on Poverty (and just think of where that has gotten us), we owe it to the public and to ourselves not to be terrified to address childrearing practices in these homes. They are different than in the West. Nevertheless, the Western converts who radicalized share a similar background of shame and troubled early childhoods.

Kobrin, Nancy Hartevelt.  “Ten Years Out – My Advice from “Listening” to Somalis in the Hennepin County Jail Minneapolis.”  Family Security Matters, May 15, 2015.

Related:

Kobrin, Nancy Hartevelt.  The Maternal Drama of the Chechen Jihadi.  IPI E-Books, FREE download.

Other titles by Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin:

The Banality of Suicide Terrorism: The Naked Truth About the Psychology of Islamic Suicide Bombing

Penetrating the Terrorist Psyche

The Banality of Suicide Terrorism: The Naked Truth About the Psychology of Islamic Suicide Bombing

Readers may finding themselves swimming in Kobrin’s sprawling style but with brights applied to sifting thematically while doing so will also develop insight into the building blocks of the “exploding iceberg”, i.e., enraged terrorist cool in personality.

Only once, I believe, has BackChannels addressed the formation of a psychologically teleological path from out of a simple childhood experience (with language): Guilt and Jealousy in Two Lines (September 26, 2013).

Generally speaking, children don’t — because they cannot frame their own case — write dissertations, and adults addressing adult displays of violence approach the same with the combines of hardware and legal tools known to military and paramilitary missions.

Message: quell it first; unravel the motivation afterward.


Posted to YouTube 2/7/2007 (views: about two million).


The mother has tremendous impact on a baby. These are women often isolated from the larger society. I always asked the prisoners about their mothers. Often their eyes would well up because they knew that I knew that they were Mama’s Boys, bullies. Yet these mothers should not be blamed because in a shame honor culture the female is at the eye of the storm. She is THE shock absorber of chronic emasculated male rage. If we do not deal with early childhood development, we will lose this war on radicalization.

Raising a child happens behind closed doors. Neighbors always say about the jihadi that he was such a nice boy without knowing what really went on. To air one’s dirty laundry in public is shaming for a clan culture. Nonetheless childhood development must be factored into a cohesive plan for “de-radicalization” if we want to foil the numerous ticking human bombs.

Kobrin, Nancy Hartevelt.  “Ten Years Out – My Advice from “Listening” to Somalis in the Hennepin County Jail Minneapolis.”  Family Security Matters, May 15, 2015.

While cultural and ethnolinguistic self-invention and experience correspond to the exigencies of living in some place with some people — really: about 7,000 living languages wrap the earth in its humanly conscious expression and reflection — the strength of combined analytical, creative, empathic, and scientific effort in the conflict and crime arenas resides in the promise of the universal applicability of hard won insight, for we are natural observers of ourselves, individually and communally, and, in some part, healers as well.

The crime that is theft — including the theft of life itself — needs no introduction anywhere on earth, but that which programs the criminal and scripts the crime — what gets into a really nasty “piece of work” — begs a good looking over life’s earliest formative experiences, and it needs that examination in a way that produced universally accessible and understood insight.  Kobrin, who in her works shares her own recollections of torment in this regard, lays out what might be called — so I may call it — “the terrorist’s tableaux”: despite the scatter in the writing, one finds in her explications about “exploding icebergs” and “maternal cameos” coherent narratives about the formation of criminal bullying and terrorizing behavior.


The oldest brother of the Toulouse scooter killer, Mohamed Merah, denounces the role of his own father, mother, sister and brother in spawning a “monster” in his new book.

Abdelghani Merah, 36, says the youngest of his four siblings was raised in an “atmosphere of racism and hatred” but also of violence and neglect. He has written the book – “Mon Frère, ce terroriste” (My brother the terrorist) – to try to counter the hero-worship of Mohamed, 23, among some young French Muslims. “I am the killer’s brother but I am on the side of his victims,” he says.

Lichfield, John.  “How my hate-filled family spawned Merah the monster.”  The Independent, May 15, 2015.


Tsarni told reporters assembled on his leafy street that day he had not seen his brother’s brood for years. “I wanted my family away from his family,” he said. It’s not hard to understand why he would distance himself from the two young men accused of engineering that murderous blast, but he insists the whole family is trouble—from welfare scams to bomb threats to jihad—and it all stems from their mother, who fled the United States and now lives in Dagestan.

Back on the phone, still thinking about his brother’s family, he apologizes for his outburst of profanity, and then launches into yet another condemnation of his sister-in-law. “That woman—she created evil spawn. Evil spawn from an evil woman.”

McPhee, Michele.  “Family Matters: Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and the Women in His Life.”  Newsweek, October 16, 2014.

Appearing on the cover in which the above piece lives in the magnetosphere: “Twisted Sisters: As Dzhokhar Tsarnaev awaits trial for his alleged role in the Boston Marathon Bombing, many of the women in his life are still proclaiming his innocence . . . and pushing for jihad.”


Terrorism centers on the inability to mourn loss. It becomes obsessive about the inability to process the concept of death and dying— the persistent denial of death. Terrorists deny death and even claim to love it. In reality they are terrified and taunt death like bungee jumpers who taunt heights because they cannot accept their terror, their vulnerability, and their own mortality. The suicide bomber is the terrorists’ death-anxiety emollient. It is a bizarre kind of counterphobic activity. Terrorism becomes the celebration of death. Terrorists communicate their obsession with death to their children through peculiar rituals. Think of Hamas and Hizbollah and their death parades, dressing children in suicide bomber uniforms. Or selling little doll suicide bombers as toys, making the bizarre practice of killing off one’s own acceptable. Or consider the thousands of plastic keys that the Ayatollah Khomeini ordered from Taiwan to be placed around the necks of Iranian children who went to their death as human mine sweepers during the Iran– Iraq War. The “nice” Ayatollah slaughtered these innocents while telling them and their impotent, terrorized parents that this plastic key guaranteed their entry into paradise. The terrors of the terrorist’s “inner child” are literally and concretely projected into their own children. Terrorists feel dead and want others to feel what they feel. But they cannot put their feelings into words. In the world of terrorism everything is the opposite of what it should be.

Kobrin, Nancy Hartevelt (2013-11-12). Penetrating The Terrorist Psyche (Kindle Locations 482-493). Multieducator Inc. Kindle Edition.

Modern law enforcement may address terrorism as a physical process (e.g., sometimes involving “bombs on two legs”) and try to get in the way of it or forestall an act close to or at its commission.

The detachment, as it were, of contemporary psychoanalytic forces may delve back much, much farther into the beliefs and habits of cultures and families, what may be imparted through the infant’s period of language uptake, how children respond to abuse by way of the formation of “grammatical” or rule-based behaviors , and the ready political systems for culture-wide programming, intake, and operations that one finds with such as Hamas and Hezbollah.  In those forces, which I presume always around (or we wouldn’t have “Officer Krupke” and its inverted psychobabble for entertainment) and always new, Nancy Hartevelt Kobrin has produced the voice of the damaged and injured by terrorism in the family — the exercise of sadistic will in the realm of the intimate — and welled that out into the portion of the human experience now embroiled in related conflicts and the singular and senseless tragedies that come of political terrorism and its inversions.


Posted to YouTube 11/21/2011.

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