DOWN THE TOILET--
A DEADLY RUMOR -TERROR - ERROR! by
Cliff McKenzie, Editor
ZERO PLUS 1343 DAY--New York, NY, Monday, May
unconfirmed report by Newsweek Magazine that American guards
at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba flushed the Koran down the toilet to
incite prisoners to spill their guts about Terrorist information
resulted in the deaths of 17 people in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The report in the May
9 news magazine was kindling for explosive riots in both Muslim-based
countries against America.
The reference to flushing the Koran--Muslim's
spiritual guide that is held with the same respect Christians
cleave to the Bible--was a sidebar story about a planned investigation
into abuse of prisoners at the Cuban detention facility.
Under fire, Newsweek
apologized for what it called an error in reporting. The information,
the magazine claimed, had not been verified according to strict
journalistic policy, suggesting that it might not be accurate.
Nevertheless, the comment boiled over already simmering cauldrons
of anti-American hatred and sparked the riots that led to nearly
a score of deaths.
The tragedy of deaths
and the resulting political harm to fragile American relations
in the Middle East as well as a continuing blemish on U.S. military
tactics in the war against Terror, serves also as a reminder
that Rumors Are Terrorism in disguise.
The vast majority of
people in America have, at one time or another, have suffered
the victimization of Rumor Terror. Unverified information, usually
false--published by word of mouth or by writing--that scorches
a person reputation in either a social, personal or business
"Did you hear about
so-and-so doing such-and-such..."
"I have it on good
authority that so-and-so did such-and-such to what's his/her
Human beings are fragile,
and, for many, their reputations are paper thin. Rumor attacks,
like suicide bombs, maim and mangle images and set into motion
riotous emotional venoms that can tar and feather a person regardless
of guilt or innocence to the facts.
In noted psychological
and sociological studies, students are given a statement and
told to pass it on to another. One by one, the statement begins
to morph. Whatever facts might have been black and white in
the original become filtered through the prejudices and bigotries
of the individual passing on those facts so that they become
twisted and malformed. At the end of the Rumor gauntlet, the
final result bears little semblance to the original, and is
usually riddled with vitriolic asides that tend to be destructive
rather than constructive.
Why are Terror Rumors
Beast of Rumors lurks within all of us
One answer is that inside
all of us, the Beast of Rumor Terror lurks. He has a thirst
to pervert the innocent into the guilty for no other reason
than to fuel his own fires. Terrorism, it must be recalled,
thrives on the Ugly Side of human nature. Like the mushroom,
it cannot exist in the sunlight of Truth, for Truth's nature
is to evolve above the primordial slime of human darkness and
to grow above those forces that inhibit or prohibit emotional
A rumor, albeit underscored
as "truth" in a printed international magazine such
as Newsweek, appears to bring with it some veracity simply because
there are those who blindly believe what they read, or, who
are so eager to believe it that they chisel such information
One of the most noted
of all groups who glue themselves to the printed word--whether
true or not--are the Conspiracy Theorists. Whether its the Pope
or the President of the United States or a CEO of a major company,
there is "evil forces afoot," and anything in print
serves as another bullet to prove their point.
The same is true of an
individual who holds certain prejudices against another person
or group. Hearing something of a negative nature, or, reading
about it, churns the engines of hate. Terror Rumors also live
in our thoughts.
The child who "thinks
the world is against him or her," creates Internal Rumors
that demean his/her self. Looking in a mirror, a child who thinks
he/she is ugly or unattractive or unworthy or not-as-smart-as
will hear the Terror Rumor Voices whispering in his/her ear--"Yes...you
are no good. You're not like Johnny or Mary. You're not pretty
or handsome or as smart as, or as gifted as...so why try. Do
not try to rise above these thoughts or feeling because you
will simply be beaten back down. Stay in the quagmire of self-pity
and self-deprecation. Remain a nail and see the world as a hammer.
Continue to be a doormat and let the world walk over you because
no matter how hard you try, you'll always be a Victim. My Victim.
The Victim of your own Rumor Terrorism."
of the Afghanistans and Pakistanis aginst America needs
only a spark to ignite
Stepping back and examining
the human thought process, if we were to list down all the Mind
Rumors that swirl through our heads about what "WE THINK"
are the motivations and purposes of others, we find ourselves
being inundated by dark clouds. We see the world as a group
huddled in concert against us, spending its time figuring up
ways to make our lives more miserable, setting booby traps for
us. We simply expect the Beast of Terror to fall from the sky.
The hatred of the Afghanistans
and Pakistanis against America needs only a spark to ignite.
One could justly suggest that if it hadn't been the Newsweek
article that set off the riots, something else might have. The
fuel for the fire was volatile. Like nitroglycerin, it only
needed a jar to explode.
The lesson for those
of us seeking to be more Vigilant is to quash the Rumor Terrors
that exist in our minds before they amass into unstable piles
of hatred, anger, and other forms of explosive emotional conflagrations.
It becomes important
that we see our prejudices and bigotries as Terror Thoughts.
It is important that we do our best to extinguish them with
A good test is: "Will
this thought I'm thinking, left to run its course, end up in
a constructive or destructive result??
Another test is: "Would
I urge a child to think the same thoughts I am about someone
else or myself?" And, "if I did, would that child
grow stronger in character about himself or herself, or would
such thinking ultimately hobble the emotional maturity and quality
of the child's life as a responsible, productive human being?"
The reason we must test
and guard against Rumor Terrorism is that no matter what we
do, left unchecked, Rumor Terrorism leaks out into the world.
We exhibit our prejudices and angers against others by promoting
false information, or, unverified facts.
to use the child as our balance point
We also must be cautious
not to assume we are the judge and jury of Rumor Terrorism,
for often our own filtering system becomes corrupted.
If we use the child as
our balance point, and ask ourselves if such thoughts would
be good for a child growing up in this world, we would not tell
people that Americans flushed the Koran down the toilet.
And, if we think about
it, by thinking or spreading rumors, we flush ourselves down
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