THE VigilanceVoice   

Dec. 17, Monday--Ground Zero Plus 97
Yes, Virginia, There Is An Osama bin Laden
And A Santa Claus Too!
Cliff McKenzie
 Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent Team

            “Daddy?   Is there really an Osama bin Laden?”
            “Why do you ask, Virginia?”
            “Daddy…I know it’s Christmas and everything.   And America is trying to kill Mr. bin Laden for what he did to us…for killing all those people in the Twin Towers…and in Washington…but…Daddy…?”
            “Yes, Virginia…what is it…don’t be afraid to ask me anything…”
            “Well, Daddy…Mr. bin Laden…in a way…is kind of like Santa Claus…I mean…a mean and bad Santa…but he doesn’t seem real…like some kids were saying…that Santa isn’t real…”

            “What do you mean, Virginia, not real?”
            “Well…all the time I hear people talking about hunting down Mr. bin Laden.   Like…he’s hiding in caves…and America is bombing the caves…and sending in Marines to find him…and all our planes and bombs and bullets and soldiers are chasing him…but they can’t find him…I wonder…Daddy…I wonder…”
            “Wonder what, Virginia?”
            “Well, I wonder why America can’t find him…if he’s real…I mean…I saw that video everyone talks about…when you were watching it on the news…and…some kids at school said it wasn’t a real video…it was make believe…and other kids said it was real…and two of them got in a fight over it…”
           “What do you think about it, Virginia?”
            “Gee, Daddy…I’m confused…you see…I just can’t figure out why all the power of America can’t find one man…I mean…I know about spies and everything…and like Laura Croft…she can find anyone anywhere…in caves…in strange towns…’cause she’s smart and quick…but…maybe…I’m not sure, Daddy…but maybe the video isn’t real…’cause maybe Mr. bin Laden isn’t real…like he’s disappeared…or maybe…he never was…sometimes I think I’m dreaming…I mean…it doesn’t seem right he can escape our whole country…so…maybe he isn’t real after all…and the tape…well, maybe it was make believe to pretend he was real…kind of a big puzzle to fool us all…”
            “But what about the World Trade Center, Virginia…and the Pentagon…where Mr. bin Laden, as you say, sent his men to blow them up…and hurt and kill lots of people…that was real…wasn’t it?”
            “Yes, Daddy…I know that was real…   I was so sad.  Some of my friends lost their Dads and Moms.  And one girl lost her grandmother.  And another boy’s uncle was killed.  It was terrible, Daddy.   And I sometimes have nightmares thinking about it.  And, when a jet flies over…I get this scary feeling…and I know President Bush says he’s going to kill Mr. bin Laden…to get even…it’s just…just…
            “What, Virginia?”
            “Well, it just doesn’t seem real, Daddy.  I mean, if this bad man, Mr. bin Laden, can make three jet planes crash and kill so many people in America…why can’t we find him?  If he’s real.   It seems like Laura Croft could find him…and the Marines…they’re very tough…they could find him…and our airplanes and bombs…it just seems like magic that he disappeared…like…maybe he really never was…because how could he run away from all of America…and the world…and hide…if he was real?”
            “Well, Virginia, maybe he’s just smarter than we are…for the moment…maybe he has such secret hideouts that we just can’t find them yet…”
            “But, Daddy, we’re supposed to be the smartest country…someone said that at school…that America is the smartest, biggest, toughest nation…so, if we’re so smart, how come we can’t find him…unless….maybe…”
            “Maybe what, Virginia?”
            “Well, like people say, he’s like Santa…not real…”
            “Do you believe Santa isn’t real, Virginia?”
            “Well, sometimes…like…I wonder how he could make all those toys and deliver them all in one night…especially when there’s all the scare about amtrax…”
            “An-thra-ax, Virginia.”
            “Yes, Daddy…anthrax…well, wouldn’t Santa be afraid too…like the post office…I heard they are afraid to open all the Santa Letters…and a lot of kids won’t get Christmas presents because Santa won’t read what they want…so…I wondered if maybe Santa wasn’t really real…because I saw people reading his letters…they had rubber gloves on…and they didn’t look like elves…”
            “What about Santa, Virginia, why don’t you think he’s real…”
            “Well, no one ever really sees him, Daddy…except Coca-Cola.   They have him drinking Coke all the time…but only they know where he’s at…like Mr. bin Laden.  Maybe Coke knows where he’s hiding…if he’s real…”
            “You mean, Virginia, if you can’t find him, or see him, that he’s not real…?”

            “Well, kind of, Daddy.   Some kids were fighting the other day over God.  One said there wasn’t any God because you couldn’t see Him.   And, if there was a God, he wouldn’t have let the Twin Towers crash and kill so many people.  Or let letters kill people.   And the other boy, who was dark-skinned…some people say he’s one of the evil ones kids…he got mad and said that God made those Terrorists fly their planes into the Twin Towers…because they were on a mission from God….and there was this big fight…and one of the girls whose Daddy was killed picked up a rock and threw it at the boy with the dark skin…and called him names…and the boy laughed…and told her that Mr. bin Laden was magic…and God was protecting him from us.  And made the girl really cry.”
            “So how does that make you not believe in Santa, Virginia?”
            “Well, Daddy, if America is good, like Santa…and Mr. bin Laden is bad…then why can’t we find him?   If the boy is right…and God is protecting Mr. bin Laden…why would God protect a very, very bad man?   And why couldn’t America, who is good, find him?   I just got so confused, Daddy.”
            “I know, Virginia.  It’s very confusing sometimes.   Sometimes I wonder if Mr. Laden is make believe.   I too, wonder why we can’t find him.   But, Virginia, that’s what Terrorism is all about.  It’s sneaky.   It’s very, very sneaky.   It hides everywhere.   Sometimes, it’s just around the corner, and you don’t even see it.”
            “Like those Terrorists in Israel, Daddy?  Who just appear and blow themselves up and hurt innocent people?”
            “Yes, Virginia.   That’s part of it.   Terrorism is like a shadow.   Remember in Peter Pan, how he tried to catch his shadow?”

            “That was funny!”
            “Well, Terrorism is sometimes like trying to catch a shadow…sometimes it has no face…at least one you can’t really see…and people chase the shadow.  And Mr. bin Laden is like a shadow…that’s why he’s hard to catch…shadows can disappear so fast…but they are real…even though they don’t seem to be real…it’s a trick…to confuse us…Virginia…to make us think that Terrorism is something we can’t capture.”
            “You mean Mr. Laden is trying to trick us?”
            “Yes, Virginia.   He’s making it very very hard to find him so we will get frustrated and confused, and start to believe he’s made of magic…so people will wonder if maybe he’s got more power than we have…it’s like good and evil…Virginia…  Sometimes bad things happen and everyone blames God because how could He let such terrible things happen…like when your hamster died…and you cried…because you didn’t understand why God would let your friend die.”
            “I remember, Daddy.   I was very sad.”
            “Evil, or bad, likes to make us sad.   It likes to make us think things that are real are not real.  Evil tries to confuse us.   It likes to make us fight each other like the two boys who were fighting at school.   It likes to make us sad, like the little girl who lost her father in the Twin Towers.   It likes us to think hurting other people is just and right if God says it’s okay.   Mr. bin Laden believes it is okay to kill people who don’t agree with him.   He’s like a shadow, Virginia, who likes to scare people.   He likes to make little girls like you afraid.  And fear is real, Virginia.   Remember how afraid you were after the attacks on September 11th?  Remember how you cried and wondered if they were going to fly a plane into our building, and kill us?   Do you remember that?”
            “Yes, Daddy.   I was so scared. So was everybody.”
            “Terrorism, Virginia, is about making people afraid of their own shadows.   Like Mr. bin Laden is doing.  He’s trying to make us all afraid he’s bigger and tougher than America by hiding from us.    You know how bullies work, Virginia?”
            “Yes.  They pick on kids smaller than them.  And they make them afraid.”
            “Well, that’s what Mr. bin Laden believes.   He believes that if you can scare enough people, you’ll be bigger and stronger than they are.   And, after he bullies people, he runs away and hides—just like bullies do.   And he doesn’t care who he hurts.  He doesn’t care if the little girl loses her father or mother…and, he doesn’t care if he kills the little girl…because he’s mean…and thinks he’s right and we’re wrong…so he says he’s doing all the mean things because of God…he’s hiding behind God…trying to make himself right.”
            “Then how come we can’t find him if he’s wrong and mean, Daddy?”
            “It’s kind of like a test.   Do we believe more in right than wrong?  If we believe we are right, we will keep hunting him until we find him.    We won’t give up.   But if we give up, then he wins.  It’s like when people don’t stand up to a bully, Virginia, the bully gets bigger and bigger.  But, when people fight back, the bully gets smaller.”
            “Like at school.  When the kids called the boy with the dark skin a traitor and a rag head…some of us got mad and made a circle around him…and told the other kids to stop picking on him.  And they did.”
            “That’s right, Virginia.   People can only take so much evil and bad.  Then they have to stand up for what they believe.  When you and the others made a circle around the boy, you showed the others you weren’t afraid.   And they stopped.  Well, Terrorism will fight and fight to make us afraid.  Only when we stand up and fight back can we stop Terrorism.  It’s like when you were learning to swim.  Remember how scared you were of jumping in the water?  You were afraid you would drown.   But, finally, you jumped in.  And then you started to swim.  Now, you just jump in and don’t think about it.   You would still be afraid if you hadn’t jumped in.   You overcame your fear.   And fear, Virginia, is very real.   It makes people doubt, hate, run, hide from the truth.”
            “What about Santa, Daddy?  I’m not afraid of Santa.  Does that mean he’s not real?”
            “Well, Virginia, the opposite of fear is courage.   Fear makes us believe something awful or terrible is going to happen.  Like when you were afraid to jump in the pool.  You were afraid you might drown, right?”
            “Yes.  I thought I was going to sink and nobody would save me.”
            “Courage, Virginia, is about belief.   You can’t see belief.  You can’t touch it.  You can’t smell it.  But it exists more powerfully than fear.    Fear, you can taste and smell and feel.  It makes your hands sweat.  It gives you goose bumps.  It makes you cry sometimes.  It makes you feel alone.   It makes your teeth chatter.   But Courage, now courage is truly invisible, Virginia.   Courage is what made the firemen run up the stairs of the Twin Towers to save people even though they knew the building was going to fall and maybe kill them.  Courage is the police and emergency workers who stood helping 25,000 people escape the World Trade Center while the building was falling.  They didn’t care about their own lives, Virginia, as much as they did saving other people.  Courage is invisible.   It’s something inside all of us that makes real the unreal.  Like Santa Claus, Virginia.”
            “Santa Claus?  I don’t understand, Daddy?”
            “Well, Virginia, Santa Claus is the opposite of fear.   He makes you feel good, and happy, and loved.   He’s like the sun on a cold day, or a warm blanket when you are chilly.  You know that good, warm feeling you get at Christmas?”
            “Yes, it’s my favorite time of the year.”
            “Well, we can’t see Santa, but we can feel the goodness, the joy, and the happiness he brings.   Remember how proud and good and happy you felt when you jumped into the pool and swam?  Remember how you jumped up and yelled and screamed how great you felt you could do it?   That was Courage, Virginia.   Courage to believe you could overcome your fear.   It brought happiness to you, didn’t it?”
            “Yes, Daddy.  I was so afraid that day.  And so happy when I found I could swim.”
            “You learned to believe, Virginia.   Belief is the result of Courage.   Fear is the result of Intimidation.   Mr. bin Laden wants to intimidate the world—to make the world afraid of him and his plans and plots to destroy innocent people in the name of God.   If he had Courage, Virginia, he would stand up and walk out into the open and tell the world that he is responsible for crating fear in people, and willing to take any punishment for it.   But he doesn’t have Courage, Virginia.   Terrorism doesn’t operate out of Courage.   Bin Laden's afraid to face the consequences of his actions.    The firemen and police who died saving others—they had Courage, Virginia.  They were willing to jump into the deep end of the pool and overcome their fear.  And many lost their lives because they believed the lives of the innocent were more important than their own.  If Mr. bin Laden believed what he did was more important than who he is, he would surrender himself and take the consequences.  But he’s a coward, not a hero, Virginia.  He hides behind the shadow of Terrorism, and the skirts of God, claiming he’s a hero, but is afraid to pay the consequences.   That makes him a very bad, mean man, Virginia.”
            “And Santa isn’t afraid to deliver presents, or open his mail, Daddy?”
            “That’s right, Virginia.  But what’s important is to believe in Santa’s goodness.   Even if you can’t see him, or feel him, or smell him.   Just look at people’s faces, Virginia.   When they think of Santa, they think of joy and happiness.  They think of life.  They think of good things.  Believing in Santa takes Courage, Virginia, the same kind you had when you jumped in the pool.  If you stop believing in Santa, Virginia, all that is left are the bin Laden’s of the world to believe in.   Believing in Santa is belief that good overpowers bad, that Courage is more important than Fear, that right overpowers wrong.”
            “Then, Daddy, do you think Santa could find Mr. bin Laden?”

Cliff McKenzie, Editor, VigilanceVoice News

Go To December 15 "We Can't Kill Terrorism, But We Can Destroy It"

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