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Stockholm Syndrome

Reader comment on item: Still Asleep After Mumbai

Submitted by Jerry Terdiman (United States), Dec 14, 2008 at 10:09

Dear Dr. Pipes,

There is a condition described in psychologic literature known as the "Stockholm Syndrome". This was originally noted in a 1973 kidnapping in Stockholm, Sweden in which the helpless victims displayed positive emotions towards their captors and subsequently sought leniency for them. This tendency of a helpless and hopless victim towards identification with a brutal oppressor was also seen in the Patty Hearst case when she assisted her captors (Symbionese Liberation Army) in their violent activity.

This phenomenon can also be evidenced in the global psychodynamics of larger groups and cultures. I strongly suspect that it is a factor in the West's resistance (rationalizations, excuses, euphemisms etc.) towards recognition of the true nature of the genocidal threat of Islamism in the face of which we feel helpless and hopless.

Jerry Terdiman

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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