Cliff's Terrorism Diaries  

MONDAY... January 7, 2002—Ground Zero Plus 118


Cliff McKenzie
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

            Yesterday, Christians around the world celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany.  It was the day, according to Christian history, that Christ was manifested to the Gentiles—the Magi who had come from afar, guided by a star.  
            Symbolically, the Magi represent all humanity—people of different races, colors and creeds.   Their message:  God is present in human affairs, regardless of nation or race.  By modern standards, they were United Nations ambassadors.
            I thought about the Epiphany of Terrorism in relation to this holy day of Christian history.   On September 11, Terrorism presented an epiphany to the world.  It manifested itself to civilized, modern society.  Its message was: Terrorism is present in all human affairs, regardless of a nation's race, color, creed or its status in global society as the most powerful nation.
            I found the history of the Christian Epiphany parallel in ways to that of Terrorisms'.  After Christ's death, the Christian movement was considered radical.   They were "religious Terrorists," trying to change the social and political structure.  Hunted and banished, Christians hid in catacombs, deep in the earth, surviving in tunnels and caves to avoid the wrath of those above the ground who treated them as vermin, persecuting them and their ideas.   Like bin Laden and his group of “horror bandits,” Christians held  their meetings and worships deep in the bowels of the earth, next to the bones of the dead, secluded in dank and dim surroundings.
            It wasn’t until the 4th Century that Constantine the Great offered them the right of free exercise in maters of faith and worship.  Christianity came out of the caves, rising to the surface of the world.   Its tenents and dogma began to spread.   Two-thousand years later,  it consumes over one-third of globe, and is the dominate religion of Western Culture.  The following poll was recently published from ABC News.

Religion in the U.S. vs. the World:


United States





No religion



All non-Christian religions




            Terrorism often hides its cruelty behind religious conviction.   It assumes a posture of “righteousness” that often confuses those who try to condemn it.   A well quoted statement from Ronald Reagan regarding the Taliban during their battle with the Russians in Afghanistan illustrates the paradox:  “One nation’s freedom fighters is another’s terrorists.”
            On the day of Christian Epiphany, January 6, much of the world celebrates the concept of “good over evil,” and “right over wrong.”    Paradoxically, Terrorists who cower behind the religious shield of their convictions, claim their acts are of the same order—that they are fighting “evil” as they define it--at the expense of the weak, the helpless.   Unlike the Christian doctrine that the "meek shall inherit the world," Terrorism believes that "terror and violence will inherit the world."
            There is a critical difference in the celebration of the Christian Epiphany and Terrorism’s Epiphany.   The former is based on the philosophy of  “Do unto your neighbor as you would have them do unto you,” and the later: “Do onto the innocent and helpless in hopes we might intimidate, cause fear, and create complacency in them to prove our self-righteous power.”
            Terrorism’s Epiphany—it’s manifestation to the civilized world—came wrapped  in a gift of “horror” that was delivered on September 11.  Terrorism's gift was quite unlike the Magi' to the Christ Baby.  They offered gold, frankincense and myrrh.
            Terrorism's three Magi brought gifts of death, destruction.
            In Christian history, the Magi—the “three Kings who followed the Star of Bethlehem to pay their respects to Jesus’ birth—are claimed to offer testimony that God is present in all human affairs.   Since they weren’t Jewish but rather Gentiles, their cosmopolitan nature symbolizes that God can find believers among all people.  They were "door openers" to a concept of "peace" and "brotherly love."
            The Terrorists of September 11 were Magi of another order.   They brought the message that Terrorism can and will attack the strongest of nations.  And that its virus of hate and fear and horror can infect anyone, anytime, anyplace.   Insecurity and intimidation were wrapped in their gifts.   They told the world the safest among us are no longer protected from Terrorism’s reach.    They reminded us we can ever afford again to think, or believe, or allow complacency that we are “safe” to dominate our thinking.
            There is some good in that message.  Like the Christians of the first three centuries, we must climb out of our caves of safety and security where we have lived in peace and harmony from assaults from without, and join the rest of the world on the surface of Terrorism.  We can no longer rely on the delusion that modern civilization is immune from attack by the uncivilized warriors of hate and envy.“
            In the aftermath of Terrorism's Epiphany, another Epiphany has occurred.  I call it the Epiphany of the Sentinels of Vigilance.
            These are our Magi.   These are the "gifts" we received from the holocaust.
            Out of the twisted metal and rubble of the destruction from Nine Eleven, has come an awareness of Vigilance we can ill afford to let evaporate from our daily lives. As time marches forward, and the desire to “forget the past and get on with life as normal” nags at us, the Magi of Vigilance come to lay gifts at our feet--gifts far more valuable than gold, or frankincense, or myrrh.
            Our valued gifts from September 11 are the Sentinels of Vigilance.   They represent one body, comprising the souls of all those who died that day.  They are a potpourri of humanity--Magi of all different races, colors and creeds.  They are the innocent, the helpless, the mothers and fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles and aunts and loved ones who gave their lives that day to remind us that Terrorism must be fought forever.
             They are our "Sentinels of Security," men and women from eighty different countries who sacrificed their lives so we might never forget to be vigilant against enemies both from without, or within our nation.
            I believe they stand above the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and hover over a quiet field in Pennsylvania.  They peer out toward the horizons, holding a wreath of peace in one hand, and keep their other  hand at the ready of the hilt of their Sword Of Vigilance.
            Their mission is to remind us to constantly fight off the three gifts of horror the Magi of Terror brought when their planes smashed into the womb of America— the gifts of fear, intimidation and complacency--the lifeblood of Terrorism.
            The Sentinels of Vigilance offer us three Shields of Vigilance to ward off Terrorism's attacks--1.) “conviction,” to fight “intimidation;” 2.) “courage” to battle “fear,” and 3.) “action” to drive away “complacency.”
            The Epiphany of Terrorism cannot be neglected.  It manifested itself on September 11.   I laid ugliness and horror at the feet of the civilized world.
          If we turn our backs on Terrorism, pretending it has gone away back to the caves, to the catacombs from which it surfaced,  we expose ourselves, our children, our neighborhoods, our communities and our nations.  We become vulnerable to the next bin Laden; we open the door to his or her Magi of Terror.
            However, if we become Citizens of Vigilance, if we take the Pledge of Vigilance--if we fight to understand the roots of Terrorism within ourselves, our children and our society--we honor the Sentinels of Vigilance who sacrificed their lives for us.  We use the three Shields of Vigilance they gave to us in such a way as to protect ourselves from future harm either to our physical or emotional security.
            Today, you can become part of the Epiphany of the Sentinels of Vigilance.  You can manifest your belief in their presence, and in what they stand for.   It begins by taking a moment to read the Pledge of Vigilance.  After reading it, think about the power and potential its principles offer to help you, your children, your loved ones, and our society combat “fear,” “intimidation,” and “complacency” in our daily lives.
            If you decide to take the Pledge of Vigilance, which I hope you will, you will become a Magi—offering a gift of peace and security to the world.  
          And, you can be assured, the Sentinels of Vigilance will be smiling down upon you.  Go To Pledge of Vigilance

Go To Daily Diary, Jan. 6--Terror Of The GoatSucker

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