Racially and Ethnically Motivated Violent Extremism
Racially and ethnically motivated violent extremism (REMVE) is a new term that encompasses people who see governance as illegitimate and are looking for some form of alternate government structure.
When taking a deeper look at these issues, there is a profound overlap of poverty, conflict and war––circumstances like these create a space for violent extremism to exist. People who feel unheard advocate for change, and unfortunately, sometimes resort to violence. They are looking for a way that their lives can be improved by some other system rather than the one that is currently in place.
The Borgen Project spoke with William Farrell, a professor at the University of Maine and a Principal Consultant at Swordfish Consulting International. “Violent extremism and conflict are manifestations of people who are frustrated and looking for a last resort,” says Farrell. “It’s not typically what people would jump to first.”
Farrell and the team at Swordfish are working globally on situation analysis, strategy formulation, impact articulation and influence mapping in fragile and transitional countries. Farrell has worked in support of emergency response in Sudan and has conducted field research in large parts of the Sahel, Caucasus and Central Asia for concrete ways in which development assistance can be used in countering violent extremism, building stability and supporting national cohesion.
Global Terrorism Index
According to the World Population Review, as of this year, the six most impoverished countries are Burundi, Somalia, Mozambique, Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
The Scope of Concern
“As the world divides even further in this tension between Russia and the West, you are seeing those countries in between picking sides, and you’re seeing the kind of elements within those countries that are potentially fractures in society,” says Farrell.
Attempts at Countering Violent Extremism
In 2019, government assistance aided in lifting 23.4 million people out of official poverty and in 2020––the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic––government assistance drew 29.6 million people from official poverty.
Making a Change
“It’s about will––the will of the government, the will of the people––to make a change. I think if the change is already kind of happening and you can add resources to catalyze that or speed it up or improve things even further, then great,” says William Farrell. “If you’re trying to start something from scratch, then that is much harder.”
– Stella Tirone