Choose: A Joint Search for Mutually Satisfactory Solutions OR A War of Wills and Ego

However you might feel about the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag and the larger movement, I think we can widely agree that "no parent should ever have to explain to their kids how to talk to the police so that they don't become an innocent victim someday".

If we put together all of the people that agree with that assessment, it is my opinion that we would have a clear majority in America.

Yet, much of the language that I see in the discussion of this is expressed in the language of a war of wills. Those-of-us-who-do chant the hashtag will continue to do so defiantly until those-of-us-who-do-not all give in. Or something...

We don't really know what the end game is. We don't know why we're arguing. All we know is we are labelling more and more people racist. (Once upon a time you actually had to do something against someone to be racist. Now all you have to do is take a nuanced position.)

I'll hazard a guess on the endgame if we continue down that road. A war of wills turns into a war of ego. No one likes to give in and they remember it in resentment when they do. (Yes, this is nearly verbatim from "Getting Past No." Wisdom doesn't have to be original... just true.)

The time for a program of awareness has come and gone. The people who care to be aware have overwhelming evidence that something strange is going on and it's going to be hard work to change it. The time is now ripe for a shift from awareness toward the joint search for mutually satisfactory solutions.

We need ideas. Specific ones. Ones that condemn neither Black Americans or Police Officers as being inherently wrong or at fault. Ones that don't attack white people for having been born white. Ones that don't condemn people who mean well but aren't sure what to do.

Condemning is cheap, lazy, and seductive. Do you have it within you to propose instead?

With specific proposals, we can leverage that majority that I think exists. We can name specific action. We can lead.

None of us chose this situation. No human being would. But it is in the nature of life as human that we must rise to take responsibility for things that are "not our fault".

Maajid Nawaz at Oslo Freedom Forum

Notes and Quotes from Maajid Nawaz at Oslo Freedom Forum:


  • #Islamism is the desire to impose any version of Islam over society. (distinct from Islam, the faith.)
  • #Jihadism: The use of force to spread Islamism
  • There is a misdiagnosis about what we are dealing with. Today, we are dealing with it like an organized crime gang: take out the leader and deal with the gang.
  • We cannot kill/shoot/legislate our way out of this problem.
  • You cannot kill an idea. (Killing Osama bin Laden did no more to kill jihadism than killing Malala did to kill her ideas.)'s not new and has support within the communities

  • How on earth is it possible that 6000 born-and-raised European citizens go to join the worst terrorist group that history has ever known if not for the fact that there was level of support within the communities for this ideology?
  • This ideology has been propagated for decades in Europe.

...and we have to give ourselves permission to talk about it, even though we fear being labeled bigots

  • The solution is to give people permission to have this conversation. (The danger lies in not wanting to appear as an anti-Muslim bigot, or a racist, or an Islamophobe.)
  • The alternative to talking is violence and conflict as we have seen for the last decade and longer.

...we can challenge intolerable acts whomever we think we are, and we don't need to be Islamic scholars to do so

  • You do not need to be black to challenge racism
  • You don't have to be gay to challenge homophobia
  • So none of you should be told that you cannot condemn stoning a woman to death or throwing gays off of tall buildings or chopping off body parts.
  • You don't need to know anything about the Quran... nor the Hadith to condemn stoning a woman to death

...and now that we are free to talk about this, here are some things we need to come up with:

  • Let's work together to build these 5 things that the civil society needs to push back against this theocratic ideology: Ideas, Narratives, Symbols, Leaders, A Goal. (The violent jihadists have all of these.)


Here's how to talk about Islamist extremism without invading countries or pretending it doesn't exist, freestyled in 10 mins at the Oslo Freedom Forum

#Solidarity #Tyranny