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Posted on June 14th, 2012, by

Naomi Shihab Nye’s letter To Any Would-be Terrorists is a very noteworthy and highly emotional message which targets at a very specific audience which views and beliefs the author wants to change and, what is more, the rather creates a warning message in which all people are warned about the real image of terrorism. In fact, the author uses very skillfully high emotional arguments to emphasize that her position is absolutely correct and she wants to prevent people from joining terrorists.

Basically, Naomi Shihab Nye develops a very convincing argument. From the beginning of her message she clearly identifies the audience, the would-be terrorists. This means that the author attempts to draw the attention of those people who are on their way to become terrorists. In all probability, these are those radical Islamists to whom the author applies because she also is an adept of Islam, but she is not a terrorist and will never be one. On the contrary, she is a convinced opponent of terrorism. This is why she appeals to more radical people who could join terror organizations.

It is very important that appealing to this very specific audience the author attempts to be polite, if not to say friendly. It should be said that the audience to which the author appeals is really specific because these people are apparently desperate and probably had some serious problems or tragedies in their life that made them think about terrorism as the only means of struggle. Nevertheless, the author from the first line attempts to excuse herself for calling people would-be terrorists. On the one hand, she attempts to show that she want to be friendly and perceive these people as normal, good people. On the other hand, she shows that she cannot stand even the word terrorist that means that she has an extremely negative attitude to terrorism.

Furthermore, the author builds her argument basically referring to the emotional sphere of would-be terrorists that is also very important because this helps her to establish the emotional contact with the audience and then convince them in her righteousness in relation to terrorism. In this respect, the reference to her personal experience and detailed description of her own family may be viewed as an attempt to evoke trustful feelings of the audience. In other words, she wants her audience to believe her and, what is more, she wants to convince the audience that she is just like them, her family also had a difficult life and suffered a lot. After that the author appeals to the personal feelings and emotions of would-be terrorists. She reminds them about their own families, fathers, mothers and she argues that they would not really want their sons and daughters would become terrorists. Moreover, she underlines that she and her family shares the same religious views as her target audience and she lays emphasis on the fact that Islam does not support terrorism. In such a way, the author appeals to religious feelings and emotion of the audience.

After such a preparation of the audience, Naomi Shihab Nye eventually presents her own vision, her program which would-be terrorist should accept and agree with. In such a way, the author skillfully manipulates emotions and feelings of her target audience in to convince it in her righteousness.

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