The siege of terrorism on all of us

Il Giornale, April 17th, 2013

 Injured in shock, the White House is cautious. And our intellect rejects the intentionality of evil.

2013-04-22 by Fiamma Nirestein

 Injured in shock, the White House is cautious. And our intellect rejects the intentionality of evil.


Only twenty-four hours after the Boston attack President Obama employed yesterday the word “terrorism”:it took him some time even to get to this self-evident definition. As a matter of fact, stating to be at war with terror, regardless of its roots, is a demanding stance for any society, as such an attack moved to democratic societies is unattainable for each of us, as unwelcome as an ectoplasm, as indecipherable as a stele in an unknown language, hungry as a voracious beast and never happy with the budget, the efforts of any , administration, the price of blood and the psychological commitment thrown into its jaws. It is a nightmare impending over each of us; New York City and Washington, beyond Boston, are now under siege, London could hardly face Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, the pope’s events require an inhuman security effort, all airports multiply their commitments. Our world denies terrorism; by the same token it denies the unjustified urge to rule the world with the threat of weapons of mass destruction coming from North Korea or Iran.


Another kind of rationality is ruling the logic of violence. But we’d rather look at what we don’t understand as the burnt sore of a thunder, hurting but casual. If it fell here once, it won’t happen again.


On the contrary, contemporary democratic societies suffer from the permanent scourge of domestic and foreign, ideological but most of all religious terrorism. In the aftermath of the blasts a Bostonian girl told on television that for hours she was awake at night wondering whether it all had really happened, the blood, the blasts, the sirens, the screaming … In the known world, was it really possible that someone had knowingly planned a shower of blood on the collective and defenseless joy of the pacific crowd, that it had set off to tore through the colored crowd united in an innocuous, democratic par excellence, sport event such as a marathon, bringing together kids and elderly people?


In order to realize that this reality does exist, it is necessary to envisage another rational universe existing on the other side, and call it by its name: it is our enemy. Indeed, in this politically correct world, demanding words be used with a measuring spoon, expressions and life styles adopted not to hurt social, sexual, and religious differences, we have an enemy who makes a doctrine out of these differences.


Whoever he is, no matter if Islamic or Christian, he’s our next door neighbor, and he will be such regardless how complaisant we will be. If he’s a white supremacist he will hate us because we violated the law of our fathers, if he is a communist because we exploit our fellows, if he is an Islamist because his mission is to conquer the world to Islam. Whoever he is, the explosive devices used for the two blasts which caused three dead (including an eight year old boy, as tall as the adults’ legs amputated by the bombs) and 176 injured, had been assembled with material that can be purchased at any given paint store, at a farming supply store, at the drugstore … Moreover the devices were filled with nails and bearing balls capable of piercing the bodies of the 23 thousand people running toward the finish line in Boylston Street near Copley Square, where a crowd spectators, wives, friends, kids, was standing: sacrificial victims, too.


Because we are not alone. We enjoy all the time the company of terrorists, linked through a multitude of wires in the cyberspace. Democratic societies, especially the US, have made an immense, albeit uneven, effort to contain human nature from its beginnings: its violent instincts, its inclination to subdue are daily contained with a multitude of good will actions, paeans to peace, irenic behaviors, good words for our fellows. The number of constant, zealous screams of police car sirens,in the US are nevertheless always in motion. Red cars come by dozens for any minor accident.
But terrorism is harder to tackle, because it is outside the horizon of the likelihood. Why do terrorist attack on one or the other day?


The hypotheses so far formulated: April 15 was the deadline to file tax returns as well as Patriots Day in Massachusetts; April 19 was the anniversary of the Oklahoma City explosion. Kabalahs are available. None of them will however save us from the essential truth, that Israel well learnt since its birth 65 years ago: democracies need to be both Athens and Sparta, in their body and soul.

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