April 16, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 217
Scream Of Terror
"The Absence Of Vigilance"
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, April 16--I often wonder how
to express the Terrorism of the Soul in terms that one can instantly
understand. Edvard Munch did it best with paints and
a brush in 1893 at age 30 when he painted the epitome of internal
The Norwegian artist, often called the Father of Expressionism,
lived another 50 years after he painted "The Scream,"
and died in 1944. But he left behind a trail of paintings,
all underpinned by the torment he felt within his psyche, and
perhaps to those who view his works, a primal archway into the
caves of Terror that are hidden in us all.
In one of his paintings, "Self Portrait
During The Eye Disease," Munch takes us into the artist's
eye-ball, peering around a blood clot at his reflection in the
mirror. (Munch's photo on left,
Tormented, he lived alone, painting the
angst of his inner soul, bringing out the Beast Within with such
force and power that people around the world have taken his most
famous paintings such as "The Scream" and used them
to emblaze the image of "inner self" on coffee cups,
t-shirts, and other memorabilia.
America's current War On
Terrorism, symbolized by the "hunt for bin Laden," seems
to me to be precursor of a much larger war. The bigger
war is that within ourselves. It is the war with our
own emotional Terrorisms, the one that Munch so gloriously depicted
in "The Scream." It is about us hunting
down the "bin Laden's Within" with same ferocity that
George W. Bush has vowed to hunt down Terrorism abroad and within
the boundaries of the United States.
Even the Pope is worried
about the war of Terrorism within his shepherds. Yesterday,
the Vatican summoned American cardinals to Rome next week to discuss
the battlegrounds that endanger the Church's foundations.
Previously, the Pope had turned a cheek on the issue, calling
it an American problem. His Complacency was replaced
with Vigilance as the scandal has grown, and the impact of sexual
Terrorism has shaken the earth under Peter's Rock.
Reverend Thomas J. Reese, editor
of America, a Jesuit magazine based in New York, said "the
calling of the U.S. cardinals to Rome on such short notice is
unprecedented." In the U.S. there are 13 cardinals
overseeing the Catholic Church. The last time they were
summoned by the pope was in 1989 to discuss tensions between the
Vatican and Catholics in the United States over birth control
and remarriage for divorced members of the Church.
Cardinal Law of Boston, besieged
by reports he covered up sexual abuse cases, had previously met
with the Pope.
Terrorism of the Cloth is
only one element in the current Emotional War being fought against
the brush strokes of Munch's portrait "The Scream."
In a world ravaged by discontent, Terrorism seems to be popping
up in all sectors.
The Israeli-Palestine conflagration
is one that might appear to be a physical war, battling over land
and rights of ownership, but the real issues run through the blood
of the warriors. It is fueled by thousands of years of hate
and resentment, stirring within the souls of those who fight it
such animosity that children are encouraged to strap bombs on
their bodies and sacrifice themselves to the greater glory of
a god that allegedly will reward them in Paradise for their attacks
on the innocent, the helpless.
At home, here in America,
while the world casts stones at priests who molest their flock,
there are fathers, uncles molesting their children, relatives.
There is rampant divorce, abortion, crime, drugs, alcoholism.
If one were to raise the
Flag of Terrorism only on soiled grounds where tormented souls
were broadcasting to others their pains and twisted visions of
the world, such a flag could find a home in just about any crack
or crevice--even in the most hallowed sanctity of a church, or
in the bedroom of a frightened child fearing the footsteps of
her father who came nightly to abuse her.
Munch's "The Scream"
is not an anomaly.
His works are on display in Atlanta,
Georgia at the High Museum of Art. It seems an appropriate
time for the world to look upon one man's rendition of the soul's
torment, to study the strokes of madness, and to see from within
the Caves of Terrorism what seeds might lie within us all, waiting
to be brushed onto the canvass of our own lives if we are not
Vigilant in restraining them.
I know that Terrorism of
the Soul can be battled.
Vigilance was created to
keep the Terrorists at bay--not only those of the order of Osama
bin Laden, but those which Edvard Munch so poignantly display
in his array of paintings from "within the dark corners of
the human psyche."
Suffering within is the result
of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency. We Fear our
demons, we are intimidated by them, and, we often turn our cheeks
as the Pope initially did on the sex abuse scandal.
Vigilance, on the other hand,
requires that we have the Courage to face Fear, and the Conviction
to stand up to it rather than let it Intimidate us.
Most importantly, it requires us to take Action rather than to
wallow in the Complacency of our primal nature, safely hidden
in the caves of our own portraits of "The Scream."
I believe those who
died on September 11 are bringing to us messages far more important
than the mere killing of bin Laden, or the extermination of al-Queda.
the Sentinels of Vigilance want us to paint a happy face on Edvard
Munch's "The Scream," not as a band aid or camouflage
to our problems, but as we address them with Vigilance.
Each person who
takes the Pledge Of Vigilance and lives by its principles will
help paint that smile a little deeper, a little wider, into the
pigment of humanity.
In the interim,
"The Scream" stands as our symbol of what we can change.
Go To April 15--The Torture Warrant