Prague Twin

Monday, May 08, 2006

I am Not Afraid

These guys have put together a 20,000 photo strong photo gallery of people who are not afraid. (Really, click on the gallery and take a look at the kid in the top right corner. To me that says it all.)

If you haven't heard about it, here is the deal. The English response to the March 11, 2004 London bombings was quite different than the American one. As was told to me, the older people told everyone that they had to get back on those busses the very next day. A lot of younger people had their grandparents call them to tell them how important it was, how that during WWII they felt it was their duty to go to bars, and have a good time even though there were bombs dropping quite literally on their heads. This was their act of defiance.

So too, this movement is one of defiance. People are aksed to send in these "I am not afraid" photos as a show of strength and a rejection of terror. Why?

Terrorism is thus named because its central goal is to bring about terror. Are you with me so far?

Terror

1.Intense, overpowering fear.
2.One that instills intense fear: a rabid dog that became the terror of the neighborhood.
3.The ability to instill intense fear: the terror of jackboots pounding down the street.
4.Violence committed or threatened by a group to intimidate or coerce a population, as for military or political purposes.


So to defeat terror (and the president does say that we are in a "War on Terror"), we must first and foremost defeat that intense and overpowering fear within ourselves.

(Step two is to round up all the rabid dogs around the neighborhood).

Of course when we talk about terrorism, we are talking about definition #4. But notice how that definition reads: ".... to intimidate or coerce a population." The end goal for the terroists is to make you afraid. They know they don't have the resources to destroy you, they want you to destroy yourself by being afraid, which will lead you to a string of bad decisions made in fear. These decisions will be your undoing. Which is why the...

"Only thing we have to fear is fear itself"
-FDR, First Inaugural Address.

From Septmeber 11th, 2001 until September 17th, 2001 there were no international flights coming out of San Francisco International airport (or any other US airport for that matter). My best friend had planned to travel to visit me on September 11th, but awoke in the morning to his clock radio which told him, "... all flights in North America have been cancelled."

J is one of those guys who is afraid of nothing. He was one of those passengers who just wouldn't take no for an answer. He thought it was his duty, as an American, to get on the very next plane in defiance. "Fucking bastard terrorists! Screw you! You can't scare me! I'm on the next plane! I'll fly to freaking Cairo right now and not think anything of it!,"... and on and on as J does.

So obviously I was watching very closely to see how long before the US could "safely" return the big birds to the sky. I had a personal reason, but at the same time, I knew that somewhere in Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden was counting the days. He had nothing planned in the immediate aftermath. "No, now it is time to watch them squirm," he was thinking.

And squirm we did. For six miserable days. Not only the depression from what this attack meant for the future, not only the fact that I had moved mountains to have time off to hang out with J, but most importantly, I felt we were losing something more important: the battle to contain our own fear.

I'm sure that bin Laden must have been in almost euphoric bliss by the 5th day of no flights in the US. There was probably heady talk about stretching it out for two weeks. We joked about the terrorists having a non-stop party until the planes were back up, and they were getting tired because NOBODY thought it could last six whole days.

The US showed just how afraid they truly were. By grounding those planes for a six full days, we gave the terrorists a huge victory that they could not win for themselves, and that we will never be able to get back. Those six days remain as a blemish on the proud history of the United States. They needed us to give it to them an we served it up with a side of Iraq. Osama couldn't be happier.

I am Not Afraid. I never have been, and I certainly am not now. I will travel wherever I like, whenever I like. I will hold my head high and proud.

I am Not Afraid. Are you?

4 Comments:

  • I'm not afraid!

    Actually, I was afraid after Sept. 11, but that didn't stop me from living my life the same as always. Except that the attack motivated me to become more knowledgeable and politically active.

    Although I'm not a religious person, when I had bursts of fear during the week after Sept. 11, I read the 23rd Psalm. Now that I'm becoming certified as a hypnotherapist, I realize that it's actually a hypnotic induction, which is why people recite it in times of fear.

    By Blogger Elizabeth, at 12:37 AM  

  • I am not afraid.

    I live in NYC near Times Square. I work near the Empire State Building. I jog near Ground Zero down in Battery Park City. I moved here AFTER 9/11 and I will not be afraid.

    Which does not mean I am not aware.

    Great post, praguetwin.

    By Blogger reality-based educator, at 2:26 AM  

  • Great job Prague Twin. Carry on with your life,but don't forget what Reality-Based Educator points out. Be aware of everything that goes on around you. Aware/not afraid!

    God Bless America, God Save The Republic.

    By Blogger David Schantz, at 12:25 PM  

  • Thank you all for your comments. I wrote some lovely things but somehow they did not end up here. Writing them again seems so cheap somehow.

    Be aware, but never be afraid.

    By Blogger Praguetwin, at 10:05 PM  

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