| Article Overview:
How do you define Terrorism? Do you know what it is for you?
For your loved ones? Can you state its definition in terms that
will limit Terrorism to a speck of dust instead of giant dark shadow?
You can. Read on.
24, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 530
What Is Terrorism?
Your Definition Is The Answer
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Feb. 24--What exactly
is the definition of Terrorism? And, if we are waging a War on
Terrorism, who then are our enemies?
I was scanning the news this morning
when I spotted a project in the Christian Science Monitor.
The newspaper offered readers an interactive set of questions to help
them define what Terrorism was. Authors of the project
presented their views, but each skewed one direction or the next,
leaving the reader uneasy because Terrorism is like a pile of clay.
It can be shaped by whomever's fingers are molding it at the time.
President George Bush defines Terrorism and
those who harbor it one way. The United Nations defines it
another. Each state or nation offers its tweak to the
definition, and then there are 6.2 billion people on earth, all of
whom may have their particular take on what "Terrorism" means to them.
But the word begs clarity.
this morning's Christian Science Monitor
If the world is
at "war" against "Terrorism," and nations are shaping policies to
either support or retreat from those who lead the anti-Terrorism
parade, then for no other purpose than class-room serenity, the need
for a common definition screams to be scrawled into our common-sense,
universal vocabulary. And, it needs to be simple.
The Monitor's interactive piece (http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/terrorism/start.html)
this morning helped me realize the VigilanceVoice has made a
giant step toward defining Terrorism at the grass roots level.
But to appreciate our simplicity, we need to look at what the world is
doing to complicate the definition, or, not defining it all.
Currently, politicians are in charge of
clay-shaping Terrorism's definition. Their
respective answers depend on their pro- or anti-American position, or
how much twist and turn they force on Terrorism to fit the expedience
of national policy.
There can be little doubt the definition
that France and Germany--two of the biggest critics of American policy
against Iraq--have turned their Terrorism definitions into an object
far different than the one George Bush has spun.
first.....what is Terrorism?
Hussein a Terrorist or simply a despot? Is Kim Jong Il a
Terrorist or a Hitlarian leader seeking power? Is Osama
bin Laden a Terrorist or a religious radical?
Those who go to the Monitor
site and play the interactive game, which leads one to pick a
definition of Terrorism and then apply certain scenarios to see if
indeed those scenarios are "Terrorism Scenarios" or belong in another
category, will end up shaking their heads. Confusion will
replace what one thought was clarity for the very nature of Terrorism
The nature of
Terrorism is mud
Terrorism's great goal is to strike Complacency into its victims,
immobilizing them in a quagmire of confusion. If they step to
the right, it might be more quicksand. If they step to the left,
perhaps that's where the end of the earth begins.
politics of defining Terrorism like being caught in a minefield.
You simply have to freeze.
Because you can't define
or understand Terrorism with exactitude, you feel powerless. The
battles going on in the United Nations over giving Saddam Hussein more
time to disarm is an object lesson in the push-pull complexity of
defining Terrorism. Even though he hasn't offered much
help in disclosing his weapons, the U.N. believes his "intent" is
worth granting him more ticks on the clock until the inspectors can
dig deeper into the sand where many of the weapons are buried.
Then there is the question of
America's intent. Is America simply throwing labels of Terrorism
at Saddam Hussein to depose him and gain control of the rich oil
fields? After all, there is no direct link between Osama
bin Laden and Hussein, and, there is no "smoking gun" yet found that
would suggest Saddam Hussein is planning some great assault on the
world, or wishes to export his weapons to attack innocent people in
It makes one unable to pull his
or her feet out of the muck. It tires one to come up with
concrete answers especially when the founders of Ben & Jerry's ice
cream splash their faces on television and list down the $200 billion
budgeted for war and show the world how it can be used in America to
offset budget deficits, educate children, and provide health care for
It makes you wonder if the
Terrorist isn't George Bush not Saddam Hussein.
of Terrorism's meaning is confusing e.g. Is Bush a
and murk confuse, disorient, intimidate and isolate us from the real
challenge of Terrorism.
We begin to think Terrorism is
some entity outside of us, some "thing" that exists apart of us,
hanging on some thread in the distance spinning in the haze of night
and day, a nebulous ball of wax that is better left to idiot savant
politicians whose whole lives are about making up definitions that fit
policy, rather than policy that fit definition.
If you're not sure about your
take on the issue, stop right now and write out your definition of
Terrorism. If you hedge on it, maybe you're stuck in the same
quagmire most people are--"What Is Terrorism?"
Then, if you think you have the
answer, try explaining it to a child. See if a child can
understand it, for the test of any good definition is its ability to
be understood by a child who sees things in blacks and whites, not in
the grays that muddle adult thinking.
For 530 days, and at the
expense of more than a million words(1,000,000), the VigilanceVoice
has proffered its definition of Terrorism.
Unlike the political
pundits who seek to define Terrorism as the "state of a nation," or
the "state of a band of gangsters who should be driven from power,"
the VigilanceVoice has sought to find the definition of
Terrorism from within each and every human being who currently exists,
all who have trudged on this earth before, and all who will walk in
our footsteps in the future.
It is our belief that
Terrorism is as clear as our fingerprints, as defined as our faces,
and as real and vivid as the sun's rising and the moon's setting each
and every day.
Anything less than such a
definition of Terrorism would serve Terrorism's primary
goal--Complacency. It would deny the average person access to
recognizing it, and through the disguise of confusion, would allow
Terrorism to slip in and out of detection as Osama bin Laden has over
the past 530 days.
lack of defining Terrorism would also make each citizen on earth
vulnerable to accepting the politician's definitions, which, like the
tides, ebbs and floods as the geo-political situations shift.
Worse, it would deny a
parent, grandparent, or loved one the right, duty and opportunity to
explain to a child what Terrorism was, how the child can recognize it,
and how the child can defend himself or herself against it.
Terrorism, we believe,
has three primary components that need little definition: Fear!
The three elements are
bonded as any element. Water, for example, is two parts
hydrogen and one part oxygen, thus; H20. Terrorism equal
Fear, plus Intimidation, plus Complacency.
One of these cannot exist
without the presence, in part, of the other three elements.
Complacency ultimately is the result of Fear and Intimidation--it is
the giving up, the abdication of effort to resolve or face an issue.
Fear, the thought of losing something, and Intimidation, the sense of
not being able to achieve a satisfying result, force Complacency to
take many forms such as "who cares," or "that's not my business," or
"so what can I do about it," or, "leave it to the experts."
Terrorism, in its final
form, is powerlessness.
Terror = Powerlessness
It is the sense one gets that the ball of wax is so large and unwieldy
that no matter how one tries to shape it, the form never takes the
shape one wants. Take one's life for example.
Nothing one tries seems to work, so stop working to change it.
Fall into a rut. Be the victim, the doormat, the cog in
the wheel. Fall into the mainstream. Go
along. Accept what is because nothing can change the
tides. Go to work. Pay your bills. Go to
sleep. Wake up. Go to work. Pay your bills. Go
Whatever you do, don't
dream. For when you do, your dreams will be smashed by the
hammer of reality. After all, we're all nails and the
world is a hammer.
Average people, the mass
of humanity, want average lives. They don't want war.
They don't want conflict. They want to live in peace and quiet.
They want to exist free of the arrows that fly, the bullets that crack
overhead, the economies that rise and fall, the governments that come
and go, the leaders who rise to power and are replaced by other
leaders, ad infinitum.
But the world is no
shout 'gotcha' to America
Terrorism has changed that.
The world is at war
against Terrorism, and can't define it, or, at least struggles to find
its definition in the morass of issues plaguing the world today.
Never before has the
world waited for the next Terrorist to attack.
Never before has the
world tuned into CNN to see when the next weapons of mass destruction
might be unleashed in a subway, at a school yard, in a remote village.
That's why the definition
of Terrorism is so critical today. It's a vital part of
everyone's life because Terrorism can pop up on the most unsuspecting
doorstep, in the most non-strategic location imaginable, making any
and all potential victims of its wrath.
A few months ago in a
resort in Africa an SUV filled with explosives drove into a tourist
compound and blew up people there on vacation. In
Bali a bunch of young people at a nightclub were bombed--Paradise was
fears random Terrorism as well as targeted attacks
world saw the destruction on television, examined it on the Internet,
shivered at the thought they could be just as subject to the
indiscriminate, senseless attacks as anyone on earth, for Terrorism,
by its nature, does not target strategic objects as much as it does
seek to blow up the psychological security of the average human being,
turning everyone into scared rabbits.
The United States, one of
the most powerful nations in the world, recently radicalized its
government structure and created a cabinet post for Homeland
Security--an anti-Terrorist bureaucracy designed to make Americans
feel more secure.
States created Homeland Security to try to make Americans feel
Russia, Cultural Theater attendees out to enjoy a new musical
were held hostage and hundreds killed as the government sought to
neutralize the Terrorist threat.
Last weekend the United
States issued a Second Degree Terror alert, driving citizens in fear
of a biochemical attack to the local hardware stores for duct tape and
plastic sheets to secure their windows.
And yet we have
difficulty defining Terrorism.
Terrorism has a distinct
It is the face of the
Beast of Terror.
It is the sum of our
primal fears, our primal natures.
It is the Freudian Id,
that elusive part of the human mind we try to bury and distance
ourselves from as we pretend to be "civilized."
It lives in the mind of
every child who is afraid of the "closet monster," or the "thing under
It grows within us when
we look in the mirror and see ourselves as "not worthy enough," "not
pretty enough," "not smart enough," "not happy enough," "not
rich enough," " not loved enough."
inside our thoughts, eroding our constitutions as human beings,
telling us that we are "powerless to change," that we are just a
"Voice in the wilderness," that we are only a "grain of sand on the
It disenfranchises us from our
dreams, it marginalizes us to "be nobody special," and to "resign
ourselves to our lots in life."
Our Beasts of Terror are all the
If we all dumped them in a pile, they
would be brothers and sisters, all cut from the same cloth. They
would be the sum of our Fears, our Intimidations, our Complacencies.
When someone asks you to define
Terrorism, you might want to consider not trying to use Saddam
Hussein, Kim Jong Il, or Osama bin Laden as the symbols for your
They are only the manifestations of,
not the definition of, Terrorism.
Terrorism is far more insidious than
the global people who represent it.
The Terrorist is us.
We are all Terrorists.
We all are capable of issuing unto
others Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. We are capable
of that because we are all victims of it.
No human being, from the Pope to the
Pauper, is void of the presence of the Beast of Terror.
But we do have a choice in whether we
want the Beast of Terror to live in us unrecognized, unexposed,
unmanaged, or, we expose the Beast of Terror and remove his hiding
place within so he can longer haunt us as he has for eons.
We can do this by becoming Parents
and Citizens of Vigilance. We can take the Pledge of Vigilance
and vow to not allow the Beast of Terror roam within us unchecked.
Parent of Vigilance and break the bonds of servitude to the Beast
break the bonds of servitude by looking the Beast of Terror in the eye
and holding up our Shield and Sword of Vigilance, announcing to him:
"I know who you are, where you live, and what you want. You are no
longer safe within me, my children, my grandchildren or my love ones.
I am going to war against you, Mr. Beast of Terrorism. I am
going to drive you back into the caves where you belong, and keep you
from infecting my children, or my Children's Children's Children."
Sound too simple?
Profound things are
Terrorism is very
profound, for it is extremely simple--create Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency in others. Watch others scramble in confusion
trying to counter it. Laugh at them. Enjoy the power.
Recall the tape of
Osama bin Laden eating with his brothers and finding out that the Twin
Towers had fallen. He was elated. He wanted to strike
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency into the heart of America, but
delighted in the fact it resulted in far more than he expected.
Osama had a goal with his Terrorism, however cruel and indifferent it
there is the parent of the child who has no time to "love the child."
He or she is "too busy," and tells the child, "I love you but I have
other more important things to do than to play with you."
retreats into the Fear of being unloved, into the dark, dank corners
of loneliness, emptiness.
parent who looks at a child and shouts, "Don't bother me, can't you
see I'm busy!" Or, worse, the one who grabs a child by the
shoulders and screams, "I wish you were never born.
Know the true
meaning of Terrorism
and share the Vigilance with your children
Or, the parent who turns to the child and spears its heart with,
"You're just like your no-good father, or no good mother."
child feel Fear? Intimidation? Complacency?
Has the Beast
of Terror struck as hard against the child as Osama bin Laden's planes
struck the World Trade Center, or the Pentagon? Has the
child's Ground Zero been decimated once again?
Vigilance are those who recognize the presence of their own Beast of
Terror. They have the Courage, Conviction and take the Right
Actions necessary to admit to themselves that the Beast is Within, not
bite the head off the Beast. They subscribe to the Principles of
Vigilance that ask them to act in behalf of the Children's Children's
Children by sharing their Fears, their Intimidations and their
Complacencies with their children.
They build bridges
of trust between themselves and their children, teaching their
children how to combat Fear with Courage, and Intimidation with
Conviction, and to shove Complacency aside with the responsibility to
act to the benefit of future generations--for the Children's
and Loved Ones of Vigilance wake up in the morning and redefine their
Pledge of Vigilance daily, aware that if they don't the Beast of
Terror will sneak out of his hiding place and work his way once again
into the pilot seat of human thought and actions.
The Tree of
Vigilance blooms after the roots of Terror are dug up and exposed
So when someone asks you to define Terrorism, you can
look them in the eye and say, "How I treat myself,
my children and the Children's Children's Children."
When they say, "What do you mean?" you can reply:
"When I teach my child or loved ones how to overcome
Fear with Courage, how to battle Intimidation with Conviction,
and to shove Complacency to the side by taking Right Actions
for the Children's Children's Children, I'm Vigilant.
When I don't, I'm a Terrorist."
When you have mustered the Courage, Conviction and Right
Actions to make these statements, or ones like them, you
will have defined Terrorism at the grass roots.
You will have dug up the roots of the Beast of Terror
and sent him scurrying.
Feb 23--The Ugliest Side of War:
Lone Wolf Terrorism
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved -