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Reflections on terrorism: We have met the enemy and he is the U.S.

 article about terrorism

This article belongs to Terrorism theme.


What is terrorism? I remember back in 3rd grade there was a kid named Bart who was very threatening. He beat down another kid named Frank in the locker room before we were to play basketball for gym period. He walked with an air of "don't mess with me." Based on random beatings we had seen Bart give over the years, we all heeded his cautionary stance. Wouldn't you? Bart was certainly employing tools of the terrorist: intimidation, coercion through force and causing fear. Bart was a terrorist.

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Anyone who is pro-marijuana is automatically pro-terrorism.
As I got older I began to see the word terrorist creep up in relation to an assortment of subjects. Anyone who caused destruction to property was a terrorist. Anyone who bought a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook was a potential terrorist. Subscribing to the philosophy of Earth First made one a probable terrorist. The Weatherman were terrorists, Ted Kaczynski was a terrorist. For the most part, the T word is reserved for home-grown malcontents.

Recently, the Chief of Police in Hawaii, Lawrence Mahuna, said, "anyone who is pro-marijuana is automatically pro-terrorism." What? Pot smokers and those that support them are terrorists? Hawaii needs to chill out.

In the last few decades I've seen the word terrorist begin to be synonymous with anyone that looks slightly Middle Eastern. As if wearing a turban was a sign that you subscribed to jihad. I've met a lot of men who wear turbans and they were all pacifists, I've also met a lot of men who wore three-piece suits who believed violence was the only solution.

I believe that supporting any military action where, routinely, innocent women, children and men are murdered by our bombs and bullets, is not the act of Samaritans, but of terrorists. I find it strangely unfortunate that Americans do not see themselves as terrorists. We are the enemy. Pogo was right.

Recently, while working the cash register during a seasonal retail job, a dark-skinned man in a turban bought a book for $8.40.

"9-11," I said.

"Excuse me?" He looked shocked. I hadn't realized my phrasing might have been off.

"9 dollars and eleven cents is the total. That includes the tax."

"This is bad. Very bad."

"Don't sweat it man, it's just a book. It's just a number. Don't sweat it.

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The fear may come from Osama, but the fear also comes from Obama.
But sweat it he did. The numbers 9-11 now terrorized this individual. Not from any personal guilt, but a fear of being ostracised and run out of town on a rail. And this customer is not the only one who lives under the cloud of fearówe all do. Fear is the prime tool of terrorists and has infiltrated our lives so deeply that most of us are incapacitated in our ability to fight it. The fear may come from Osama, but the fear also comes from Obama: fear of a failing economy, fear of bird flu, fear of our neighbours shooting us, fear of saying hello to anyone with skin darker than our own. The same old fears that inoculated us in our cradle manifest later in our life as "that's just the way it is." This is an illusion. Pull back the curtain. Without a place to breed, fear will die.

In his time, Jesus was a terrorist. Anyone that threatens the dominant power base is a terrorist. I have a cat that is a terrorist and all the other animals know it. Terrorist is just another name for people we don't like. Can't we get beyond the "us and them" redundancy that has torn us apart for so long--because if we don't, the terrorists have won.


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