How does a man with no hands and only two thumbs explain the reason
why Iraqi citizens aren't jumping into the arms of American and
British liberators? Could it be that never having tasted the
fruits of Freedom and Liberty they don't know what they're missing,
and therefore can't express their feelings? And, why is it
Americans protest a war of liberation? Could it be because they
have been abused by their parents, and don't understand liberation
either? Find out!
26, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 560
The Iraqis Aren't Jumping With Joy About Being Liberated
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Mar. 26--John
is a big burly young man. He’s about my size, nearly six-foot four,
weighing in around 250 to 270. He has an infectious smile, similar
to Winnie the Poo expecting a bowl of sweet honey from his buddy
Piglet. John also could be mistaken for a World Wrestling Federation
poster boy but for one small challenge--he has no hands.
born with wrist stumps. At first glance, it looks like someone cut
off his hands at the wrists. But on closer inspection, there are no
scars, no signs of amputation. His affliction is congenital.
On the sides of the wrist stumps sprout two appendages, one
growing on each stump. They look like eyes wiggling out of his
flesh, but they are tiny thumbs. They move about in periscope
fashion, seeming to surveying the world from a perspective only a man
with no hands and two thumbs can imagine.
A child might think the appendages were the antenna of
Martians, keeping a close eye on us earthlings.
John stood next to me at Starbucks in the East Village, one of
the largest in New York City. It is a study haven for NYU students.
The main campus is located just a few blocks away, across from
Washington Square Park.
I use Starbucks as my editorial office. The rent is
reasonable. It costs me the price of a regular grande, plus my
monthly fee to hook up to Starbuck’s T-Mobile wireless connection
service. While sipping coffee and writing, I can go online and upload
and download information to my website
Real estate is at a premium around 4p.m. at Starbucks. A
glut of humanity pours out of the bowels of the 6-Train subway orifice
just outside Starbuck's door. Starbucks sits like a giant green
crocodile with its jaws open facing upstream, letting the coffee
addicts flow between its hungry teeth. Besides the madding crowd of
New Yorkers heading home, there’s a plethora of NYU students hammering
on computers and jamming each other’s brains in gaggles of study
Around fourish in the afternoon, it’s a madhouse. And it’s
not uncommon for one Star buckaroo to hover next to another
Star buckaroo about to vacate a table. John spotted me packing up my
gear and leaned against the wrought iron railing separating my section
from the rest of tables. It was his a flagrant signal to all table
poachers that he had first crack at the spot I was about to empty.
"Hi!" I acknowledged John's presence.
"Hi," he replied, leaning his right arm on the rail.
I looked at John's stumps. He clutched a small computer
briefcase against his chest with his left forearm and used his right
to shift some weight off his feet as he waited for me to exit.
"I'm Cliff, you're welcome to the spot. It's prime."
"I'm John. I know. My favorite too."
John lifted his arm slightly, a movement intended to suggest a
handshake. He didn't extend his stump. I nodded. Our movements were
We were both big men, he much younger than I, but both of us
human battleships on the streets of New York City. There is a Big
Guy Club, a recognition of two oil tankers who pass each other in the
night, each knowing that size conquers most fears. Nature, it can be
said, gives bears and elephants the advantage over the land.
I was running late for a meeting with some friends.
Otherwise, I would have engaged John in a conversation, leading off
with: "How does a man with no hands and only two thumbs fight the
Terrorism of life and keep jovial?"
I knew part of his confidence and aplomb had something to do
with his height and girth.
OK with his physical difference
|John could give the thumbs
of thumbs up
known others like John, born with congenital deformities. One young
woman I knew was born without any arms. She had tiny hands dangling
from her shoulders. She was quite beautiful, vivacious and roller
bladed most everywhere. When asked about her attitude toward her
handicap, she tossed her head and replied, "What handicap? I was born
without arms. I never missed what I didn't have. As far as I'm
concerned, I'm as normal as anyone. Remember, Cliff, you can’t miss
what you never had."
I forgot about my high horse. I often think that those who
don’t have what I have are handicapped, underprivileged, disabled.
That isn't necessarily true. John was just as able and capable as I
with all my digits. He too had his computer and papers. He just
didn't have the eight fingers to go along with his two thumbs, but he
could pound out the words as well as anyone.
As I headed to my meeting, I thought of the people of Iraq. I
thought of the reasons why they weren’t throwing flowers at us when
our tanks roared through their cities, or why they weren’t dancing in
the streets in jubilation as so many expected.
John helped remind me of the facts: “They can’t miss what they
For countless decades, Iraqi citizens have lived under the
rule of tyranny and despotism. Freedom and Liberty are foreign
idols. Iraq’s petrol-state has created a dictatorship of authority,
not unlike most of the Middle East where the rich and powerful are
divided from the poor with no middle ground.
Saddam Hussein has kept the Iraqi people far distanced from
the fruits of democracy. To leap for joy as American and British
troops enter Iraqi towns and villages requires them to remember how
sweet Freedom was. But the people of Iraq were born with the
deformity of tyranny and oppression. The hand of Liberty had been cut
off at birth, as well as the hand of Freedom. Only the thumbs of
tyranny and oppression were left.
Liberation implies knowledge of Liberty. In World War II,
allied troops gave back the liberty Hitler had stolen when he occupied
But Iraq is a different world.
Children In Iraq Are 15 or Younger
Half its 25 million citizens are 15 or under. And prior to Saddam’s
23 year Stalinesque rule, there was neither “liberty” nor “freedom” as
we know it. With the exception of Turkey, the Middle East (excluding
Israel) is fundamentally non-democratic.
How can, then, any nation’s people possibly understand the
jubilation of liberation if they have nothing to compare it to?
My TerrorHunter brain gnawed at the question. Another
question red flagged my thoughts: “Why did so many Americans oppose
the liberation of Iraq? Didn’t they know how important Freedom was?
Weren’t they the ultimate benefactors of Liberty? And if so, why
would so many rail against America’s ultimate goal of freeing
An odd answer came on the heels of he question.
America’s social fabric has been torn apart in the last
generation by a decay in family units. Over half of American
marriages result in divorce, and obvious emotional trauma for the
children within those families.
On top the cleavage of American family units has risen a
national awareness of child abuse, ranging from psychological ills as
seemingly mundane as “my mother or father were cold and indifferent
emotionally,” to flagrant acts of violence against children.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in
2000 that 5 million children were recorded as abused and brought under
the wing of the Child Protection Services.
These were the most egregious cases.
Child abuse takes many forms. At its simplistic level, it
can be a parent so busy with his or her work that he or she misses a
child’s school play or soccer game. If repeated, the absences turn
Many American children grow up in abusive homes, with one or
more tyrannical parents who may beat and molest them, or emotionally
torture them. Most learn to adjust to their environment. They find
ways to accept the tyranny of their homes, saying nothing, accepting
life on life's terms. Some even exhibit love, however twisted it
might appear to the outside world, to those who abuse them their
fundamental human right of personal dignity and self respect.
A parent can
be a Beast of Terror to a child
"I wish you were never born," is a statement many non-reported abused
children hear from a mother or father. The effect of this kind of
Verbal Terrorism is that the child feels as alienated as one of
Saddam's prisoners in a dank prison. N "Why are you always
bothering me! Leave me alone!" Words such as these, angrily shot at
a child seeking love and attention, can turn its heart cold. In the
child’s eyes, the parent becomes an enraged Beast of Terror.
Confusion sets in, for sometimes a parent opens his or her arms to the
child, and then, just as suddenly, can snarl and hiss, driving the
child into a cowering state of Fear, Intimidation and ultimately into
a shell of Complacency.
In my own childhood, I cowered in constant Fear of my
step-father’s wrath, especially when he drank. I crawled deep in the
covers in hopes his rage would not find me, and used the darkness as
clings like a frightened child
Abuse, leveled at children by intent or by default, is a form of
Terrorism not unlike that in Iraq. Worrying if one of your parents
will lash at you with either tongue or hand, fearing what will await
you when you open the door to your own home, is a chilling feeling.
It is not unlike walking into the Beast of Terror’s cave and hoping
you don’t awaken him. Many American children know these feelings,
and as they grow into adults, they carry with them shells of
Complacency. They deny involvement in other’s lives because no one
came to rescue them. They were powerless, and so were their friends.
Then there was the issue of sovereignty. Who had the right to come
and tell someone how to treat their children? No one wanted the
neighbors to know what was happening. No one wanted the police or
state to start dictating how parents should act toward their
So, as the abused child grows into an adult, why attack Iraq?
Why try to change the lives of others when our own lives are screwed
Iraqis can't jump for joys they never knew. Neither can many
Americans tout the values of liberation when they still live in caves
of Terror, still suffer the pains of their own childhood tortures.
Americans can't throw flowers for fruits they haven't tasted
or smelt, just as Iraqi’s can’t.
I know, for example, a woman who was molested by her father
for years. She has lived in constant fear all her life of those dark
days, and built shells around her that have taken more than six
decades to crack. It is hard for her to shake the Fear, Intimidation
and Complacency of her past, for she still lives in the Shadow of the
Beast of Terror.
No one can march through her mind and liberate her. She can't
walk out of a psychological session and leap up in the air like an
Irish Spring commercial and shout: "I'm Free! I'm Free!"
Freedom from abuse is a long, painful, and often impossible
task to achieve, whether that abuse be political, social, ethnic,
sexual, emotional or religious.
Iraqi people face fears in all these areas. Suspicious Iraqis
may believe the Western "liberators" are trying to steal from them
their culture and belief systems. In the past, the West has abused
their lands. Many fingers on the hands of Iraqis have been cut off by
Leaping into the arms of the "infidels" may not be on the agenda,
and Americans who expect that to happen need to think about their
abusive neighbor down the street who beats his wife. If someone were
to rush in to "save" the woman being abused, she just might turn on
them and attack the "rescuer." Police report that most attacks upon
them result from domestic disputes when one of the spouses turns on
the police who are trying to arrest the abuser.
Children of abuse may not look upon their abuse as crimes
against them, but rather accept them as a "way of life." Society
may view the abuse as cruel and indifferent, but a child or spouse may
not. The bond between the elements may be stronger than the abuse,
and in so many cases it is.
It is important that I remember this state of mind. As a
TerrorHunter I am inclined to think that Vigilance can overpower
Terrorism with one swing of the Sword of Vigilance.
There may be no single death blow that kills Terrorism.
Terrorism is insidious by its nature. It seeps into the
souls of its victims, grafts itself to their being, clings like a
frightened child to its host, more unsure what the world of Vigilance
is like than the world of Terrorism it is has learned to coexist
Fear, Intimidation and Complacency of abuse and live in the
sunlight of the spirit
"If This Is
Love, What Is Terror," asks the child
An abused child grows up never
knowing what real love is like, and therefore shies from it, having no
benchmarks for existing within its confines. Sometimes, it
refutes such love even when it is offered, and will retreat back to
its levels of comfort.
Vigilance may not be something
Iraqis wish to swallow. It is also something that
Americans may shun. For many years, Americans have
wallowed in the Complacency of accepting their way of life as being
the "best." As the quality of life has been passed
from one generation to another, more and more Complacency has grown.
Part of that Complacency
has been invincibility.
Nine Eleven smashed that
Shocked, America faces
today the brutal truth that Terrorism is as much a part of its world
as it is in Palestine, or Israel, or Iraq, or North Korea.
don't want to share their fingers and hands
Fighting it is just
as hard for Americans to accept as liberation is for Iraqis.
Why do so many
Americans, nearly half, not want America to unilaterally remove Saddam
Hussein from power and liberate the people of Iraq?
The answer is
Americans don't want to share with the world their fingers, their
To do so,
costs America its security, it costs America its prosperity, it costs
America its stature in the world.
be forced to face their own Beasts of Terror
It also means Americans will be forced to face their own
degrees of Terrorism. It means Americans will be
asked to face their Beasts of Terror, to become Sentinels
of Vigilance, to replace their own Complacency and sovereignty
with Right Actions for the Children's Children's Children.
America has many fingers and many hands. Perhaps
far too many for its own good. It has ignored
the defense of others who suffered under Terrorism for
years. Now, Americans are fighting against
Terror, against the parental abuse of the children of
a land who may not want to be liberated.
Not because it isn't right, but because they don't know
what it is like.
Americans also need to be liberated.
Their liberation needs to come from Complacency.
Americans need to sign the Pledge of Vigilance and take
a stand against their own abuse of themselves and their
children. They need to face the fact that
Terrorism is an inside not an outside job.
Only when Americans liberate their own children from the
abuse of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency of their own
children, will they truly be able to liberate other nations.
You can start today.
Take the Pledge of Vigilance.
Liberate yourself from Complacency. Forget all your
fingers. Just think of having only two thumbs.
Mar. 25--62 Million Friends Of American
- 2004, VigilanceVoice.com, All rights reserved -