"All the news that's fit to print about fighting Terrorism with Vigilance!"


A Ukrainian Podiatrist Speaks
From The Vigilant Side Of His Mouth
Cliff McKenzie

GROUND ZERO PLUS 1186 DAYS,--New York, NY, Saturday, December 11, 2004--"I am not into protesting...I do no protest..."

Such was the opening remarks of my Ukrainian podiatrist.

My inflamed toe seemed secondary after hearing the Ukrainian podistrist's words
My inflamed toe seemed secondary after hearing the Ukrainian podiatrist's words

I had an infected big toe and my doctor comes from a big infected country aching with its own "ingrown political toe nail." The infection in the Ukraine festers between factions from the East and West populations. One leans toward Europe and the Western World, and the other shares its allegiance with Moscow.

"Where are you originally from?" I asked after hearing his accent.

When he replied, "The Ukraine," I immediately perked up. My inflamed toe seemed suddenly secondary as I engaged the doctor in a conversation about the political battlegrounds where two men are vying to claim the presidency of the country in a highly disputed election rife with allegations of voter fraud.

Into the civil strife of the former member of the defunct Soviet Union Empire has stepped a number of nations crying foul over the elections and adding pressure on the existing government to scrub the authenticity of the final vote and call for new elections.

Demonstrators in the Ukraine manifest their "ingrown politial pain"
Demonstrators in the Ukraine manifest their "ingrown political pain" (View additional photos)

The intrusion of "outside" nations continues to spark debate over who is in charge of a nation's sovereignty, the people of it or the world's opinion.

That debate is most enflamed over the U.S. role in Iraq, where, despite a lack of United Nations support, America and a few allies have assumed the role of "world policeman" on the basis that what happens in Iraq ripples to the United States. In Iraq's case, the justification for "intrusion" is to snuff out the Terrorism threat by installing modern democracy in a former dictatorship.

The Ukraine isn't as simple. The threat of Terrorism camps breeding suicide bombers or the potential development of nuclear or biological weapons by the nation of some 50 million doesn't loom overhead and provide supporters of the "intrusion" with a greased path to shove outside noses into the face of the country's thirteen-year-old struggle to right itself from former Soviet rulership.

In a sense, the Ukraine is still a teenager in puberty with all its hormones raging and laden with social, political and economic pimples as it tries to figure out who and what it is.

My podiatrist, I learned, was from Eastern Ukraine, that part most closely aligned with Russia and the penchant toward Moscow. He was against the protests.

"Americans and the world talk about evil versus good. They make the Ukraine look like it's the bad guys from the East against the good guys from the West. It's not like that at all. There is no good or bad, evil and righteous. It saddens me to think that the world is quick to draw lines in my country and decide what is right for us."

He went on to tell me he could not comment on the recent battle in the United States between the "red" and "blue" states. "I am not qualified to comment," he said. "I don't know much about the internal affairs of America. Just as Americans don't know what I know about the Ukraine. If they did, they wouldn't be so quick to jump on one side or the other, or to call the East 'evil' or to say this was a battle for democracy. It's far more complicated than that."

One of the things he noted was that despite all the shouts from the Western World about protecting the Ukraine, the reality was that Europe does not want the Ukraine to be part of its Economic Union.

"We are a poor nation by Europe's standards," he said. "While they are shouting about the evil versus good, Europe doesn't want anything to do with us. They don't want poor Ukrainians crossing into their countries and sucking up their social services and clogging their welfare systems. I think it is ironic they shout about freedom but will turn their backs on us in a second," he noted as he studied my big inflamed toe.

After our discussion I took a second look at the Ukraine's economics. In the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report(WEF), the Ukraine occupied 84th place out of 102 nations surveyed. The report includes 97.8 percent of the world's economy. Of the remaining 100 nations, most are so poor and under developed they represent only 2 percent of the world's economic productivity.

The WEF report considers a number of factors, including public institutions, technology and macroeconomic environments to reach its "competitiveness" rankings. The most competitive nations, according to WEF include in order, Finland, United States, Sweden, Denmark and Taiwan.

I thought it fascinating that a medical doctor who has been in the United States for five years would be so frank as to say he could not comment on the American elections because he wasn't qualified about the internal nature of the country to make a valid comment, and yet the world was eager to leap into the issues of the Ukraine and label the battle one of "evil" versus "good," and "democracy" versus "tyranny."

It made me aware of the painful nature of Vigilance.

Vigilance can be likened to a sore toe. You want to ease the pain quickly and forget about it.

Vigilance can be like a sore toe
Vigilance can be like a sore toe

In America, we want to hand over the policing of Terrorism to the government and hope that we don't have to deal with the pain of patrolling it ourselves. After all, we say, we pay taxes. Isn't that what the government is for?

Ignorance is a form of denial of duty. We ignore the facts of many things so that we don't have to assume the responsibility for them. We find it easier in our lives to "leave the protesting" to others while we go about our daily lives of living as non-confrontational as possible.

So it is easy for us to ingest and digest the facts we hear about the Ukraine that the Eastern Forces are "evil" and the Western Forces are "good," and that we owe it to the Ukraine to "show our support" for "what is right."

All the quoted words, obviously, are loaded with emotion and open to interpretation. They are "denial" words because by making the situation "black and white" in our minds, we only have to say we're on the side of "good" and assume that anyone who isn't is evil.

My podiatrist seemed like a sharp, bright, caring man. At least, my toe felt he was. When you're talking with someone from the other side of the fence, you find yourself being forced to think through the denial and assumptions you've made that right is right and wrong is wrong.

I found myself in that situation with the podiatrist.

Is Terrorism in the U.S. all about an "evil" person strapping on bombs and stepping on a bus?
Is Terrorism in the U.S. all about an "evil" person strapping on bombs and stepping on a bus?

Similarly, the issue of Terrorism in the United States needs to be examined in the same way. Is Terrorism in this country all about some "evil" person from some "far off land" strapping a bomb around his or her waist and stepping onto a bus or subway?

Or, is Terrorism in this nation about our personal degrees of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, and how we deny dealing with these Triads of Terrorism in our own lives and in the lives of our children?

Do we shovel off the issue of Internal Terrorism into a dark room of denial? Do we abdicate our duty and responsibility to pledge ourselves to fight the Beast of Terror solely because we do not see him, or because we don't want to?

I find myself often wanting to turn my head to the Beast of Terror and ignore his presence in my life. I don't want to think that I must do what is necessary to clean up my own house before I start on someone else's.

In a way, we are opined about the Ukraine as we are about our personal Beast of Terror. We prefer to leave its management up to others, and to look in the mirror and not see that on our shoulder is hunkered our Beast of Terror, hissing and whispering in our ears those thoughts and feelings that strike Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into us, or, reinforce the foundations of those three elements that already exist.

But, rather than fighting for the rights of the Ukraine, we can stand up and fight for our own rights.

If we are wise, we will see what my podiatrist sees--a complicated internal tension between two forces that needs to be resolved by the members of that community.

Inside us there are two forces--the Beast of Terror and the Sentinel of Vigilance. We need to find ways to bring them both out of hiding and let them work out the solution to our most happy and prosperous lives, and the most happy and prosperous future for our children and their children's children.

That requires duty and responsibility for ourselves, and a high degree of self-government and selfless government.

Become a Sentinal of Internal Vigilance first
Become a Sentinal of Internal Vigilance first

If we are to better our internal lives we need to think about bettering the lives of future generations as part of that duty. That means we must reconstitute ourselves on a daily basis to the Principles of Vigilance or we will fall victim to the quagmire of Complacency.

So, if you have an opinion about the Ukraine, you should take a moment and ask yourself how much of an opinion you have about Vigilance for yourself and your family.

You might start working on the battle within before you battle without.

You can best help the Ukraine by helping yourself. Become the Sentinel of Internal Vigilance first, and then become an external one.

That way the Ukraine and the world will ultimately prosper, because once you become a full-fledged Sentinel of Vigilance, you'll pass on that know-how.

Start today. Take the Pledge of Vigilance now.


Go To December 9 Story: "Why The United States Needs A Vigilance Bill Not An Intelligence Bill"



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