Medea Benjamin was born Susan Benjamin. In college she changed her name to Medea, after the complex figure from Greek mythology.
She has a Master's Degree in both Public Health and Economics, and has spent over twenty years advocating for human rights all over the world. Benjamin worked for ten years in Latin America and Africa as an economist and nutritionist for such organizations as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, and lived for five years in Cuba.
Benjamin and her husband Kevin Danaher co-founded Global Exchange, an organization dedicated to promoting "fair trade" practices where environmental concerns and fair wages for the production of goods take precedence over corporate profits. She has fought against sweatshops, particularly in the garment and shoe industries, and with Global Exchange persuaded corporate giant Nike to investigate and monitor its overseas factories to ensure safe working environments and living wages.
It was after the attacks on September 11, , however, that Medea Benjamin's activism took on a different tone and color — pink.
So what would it take? Is it true, as Foreign Policy suggested recently, that when it comes to fighting terrorism, the international community is out of ideas?
Satya Dec 05/Jan Interview with Nancy Krikorian of CodePink
Or, with ISIS steadily losing territory in Iraq and Syria even as it lashes out at the West, is the current campaign to some degree working? Historically speaking, terrorism is rare, and mass-casualty terrorist attacks rarer still. In terms of the sheer number of individual attacks committed in, for example, the United States and Europe, terrorism has actually declined significantly from its s peak.
At the time, left-wing and right-wing terrorist groups were active throughout Europe; the United States had a particular problem with Puerto Rican nationalists.
The U. Overall the death toll from terrorism in the United States from to , the most recent decade for which data was available, was 56, far below the toll of the s, when people died in terrorist attacks in the United States, of them killed in the Oklahoma City bombing of Still, the number of terrorist incidents worldwide, and the number of fatalities they cause, has jumped alarmingly in recent years, driven largely by events in just five countries—Iraq, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Syria. If terroristic violence became really sustained and extensive in an area The key difference now is ISIS.
Al-Qaeda was scary, but they never had their own quasi-state.
How Should the World Respond to Terrorism?
For a terrorist group to rule this much territory is unprecedented. In what way?
As a government, ISIS is not the first to impose brutally harsh rule on the people under its control—the Taliban in Afghanistan was known for many of the same practices, including beheadings and public executions, and the current government Saudi Arabia uses the tactics too. ISIS has shown an ability to export violence to civilians beyond its territory—countries from Iran to Cuba have done the same.
And there is even recent precedent for a government based on a cult-like figure claiming divine qualities and intent on global domination.
As the terrorism scholar Brian Michael Jenkins pointed out recently:. The Mahdist State ended at the start of the twentieth century, its global ambitions never realized. One thing ISIS does excel at is amplifying the perception of the threat it poses to Westerners, and Americans in particular.
Actually killing Westerners is only a small part of how it does this. In , suspected Libyan intelligence agents blew up Pan Am Flight over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing people onboard and 11 on the ground. More recently, al-Qaeda has pulled off mass-casualty attacks in Europe, including the Madrid train bombings of , which killed people, and the London transportation bombings of , which killed If we do want to protect the West from terrorist attacks, we need to tackle terrorism at its root—in the Middle East.
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