Coping with Terrorism/Language as a Tool for Peace


Good day.
Our country has a national hero who is known for his belief that a war is won not with a sword but with a knife. With the current situation of my hometown today I was wondering if language and literary would be enough to send a message out there. How do people cope with violence in their own home? And can language be a possible tool for achieving peace? Thank you for reading my questions.

Dear Lour -

Your question is a little hard to understand - for one thing, did you mean that a war was won with a knife, or with a pen? (There's an English/American expression, "the pen is mightier than the sword.")

The answer, I think, is that messages - including spoken language, written language, and images (still and moving) - are indeed very powerful tools in conflict; and that as more of the world's conflicts are relatively small and involve fewer fatalities, these non-lethal tools become that much more prominent. Low-intensity (or "asymmetric") conflict is, after all, largely a matter of persuasion rather than physical coercion; I often refer to it as "public relations by other means".

Whether language (and images) alone are "enough" is hard to say; I would have to answer that it depends on the situation. I think that most of us would like it to be that way, so that all conflicts could be resolved without the resort to violence. In reality, though, we're not quite at that stage; I don't think we're very close to being able to turn all our swords into ploughshares.

As far as how "people cope with violence in their own home", that's a pretty broad question! There are different answers for every time, every place, and every individual.

I hope this answer was of some help.

Best regards,


Coping with Terrorism

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Don Radlauer


I`m originally from the United States, and now make my home in Israel - after living for some years in Hong Kong and England. In addition to handling general questions about Israeli life and history, I can field questions relating to strategic aspects of terrorism and counter-terrorism, as well as some tactical aspects. As an Associate of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, I can draw on ICT`s accumulated expertise in this area. As the Lead Researcher for ICT`s "al-Aqsa Intifada" Database Project (and author of "An Engineered Tragedy", ICT`s report on the findings of this project), I have become the world`s leading expert (indeed, as far as I know, the world`s only expert) on the demographics of the victims of the phase of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that began in September 2000. Going beyond terrorism per se, I can answer questions regarding pretty much all aspects of the Israeli-Arab conflict.


For over five years, I was associated with the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. My own role there is, to a degree, that of "expert in everything else" - that is, I'm less of a security expert than many of the other researchers there, but I have a broader background in other areas, including banking and finance, general scientific subjects, and so on. I also can draw upon the knowledge of other ICT staff. For the last few years, I've been co-Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Asymmetric Conflict (ISAC); our website is at .

Institute for the Study of Asymmetric Conflict (ISAC):

B.A. in History & Sociology of Science, University of Pennsylvania.

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