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Terrorism and the Survival of the Species Essay

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Terrorism and the Survival of the Species

 

Terrorism is simply a violent form of political communication. The message of September 11, 2001 ran as follows: America, it is time you learned how implacably you are hated. The airplanes used were the terrorist's version of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles aimed at Americas' innocence. That innocence, the terrorists loudly declared, was a luxurious and anachronistic delusion.

 

A year after the attack, one is free to taste the bile of its atrocious ingenuity. It is already trite - but stringently necessary - to emphasize that such a mise en scène would have embarrassed a studio executive's storyboard or a thriller-writer's notebook ("What happened today was not credible," were the words of Tom Clancy, the author of The Sum of All Fears). And yet in broad daylight and full consciousness that outline became established reality: ten dollars worth of box-cutters produced ten million tons of rubble.

 

Several lines of US policy were bankrupted by the events of September 11, 2001 among them national missile defence. Someone realised that the skies of America were already teeming with missiles, each of them primed and cocked.

 

If the architect of this destruction was Os...


... middle of paper ...


... from above will replenish the source of all terror from below: unhealed wounds. This is the familiar cycle so well caught by the matter, and the title, of VS Naipaul's story, Tell Me Who to Kill.

 

Our best destiny, as planetary cohabitants, is the development of what has been called "species consciousness" - something over and above nationalisms, blocs, religions, ethnicities. During this time of incredulous misery, I have been trying to apply such a consciousness, and such a sensibility. Thinking of the victims, the perpetrators, and the near future, I felt species grief, then species shame, then species fear.

 


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