The big question people always ask is whether there is a difference between preventing violent extremism (PVE) and countering violent extremism (CVE). There is a difference and it’s important to understand.
PVE looks to prevent radicalization from ever happening in the first place, while countering CVE looks at the end of the conveyor belt to see how radicalized individuals can be redeemed, integrated and even activated in the fight against extremism.
The conveyor belt example is key here.
Think of radicalization as a journey across a conveyor belt of experiences from birth to death. In the radicalization process, key experiences from childhood, followed by indoctrination, radicalization, and even martyrdom strike at critical points across the conveyor belt.
Unfortunately, in most cases, it’s almost impossible to know who is on the conveyor belt until they are actively radicalized. In some cases, one cannot even know radicalization has taken place until the act of violent extremism has been committed.
This is the problem with CVE: it can only help people once they’re on the conveyor belt. However, PVE looks to prevent individuals from ever getting on the conveyor belt of extremism.
A simple way to think about this is to reference an iconic episode of I Love Lucy, a popular vintage American show starring comedian Lucille Ball. The episode “Chocolate Factory” perfectly illustrates Western CVE efforts. While the right solution is both CVE and PVE, the emphasis to date has been on CVE. It’s time to focus on PVE.
Clarion Project’s PVE program is a robust initiative that helps safeguard children from ever being put on the conveyor belt in the first place. That starts with parents and educators gaining the tools they need to protect our children.