ZERO, New York City--Ground Zero! The epicenter.
The ultimate target.
In military terms, Ground Zero is the center of all destruction,
or, the center of victory. In Hiroshima, there
is a shrine to Ground Zero where the first atomic bomb was
dropped, a devastating exclamation of destruction which led
to the end of World War II and the dawning of a new world
of nuclear terrorism, as well as nuclear efficiency.
September 11th, Ground Zero was the World Trade Center, the
Pentagon, and were it not for the brave passengers who charged
the terrorists, perhaps the White House.
intelligence released over the media has touted Ground Zero
targets to be nuclear power plants, bridges, and icons such
as the Statue of Liberty and other symbols of democracy and
is another Ground Zero. It is our emotions.
Our viewpoints. Our perspective on this "War Against
Zero" is the center of our fears, our intimidations,
and, perversely, our complacencies. Ultimately,
it is the true target of Terrorism. The physical
targets are secondary Ground Zeros, just as Hiroshima and
Nagasaki were in World War II.
The purpose of those bombs that killed indiscriminately thousands
of innocent women, children and civilians were designed to
strike fear, emboss intimidation, and force the resignation
of the "will to fight" into a state of complacency
so that the people who waged war would surrender their swords.
suffered many Ground Zeros. I assume others have too.
Many " bombs" have gone off in the center of my
"emotional being." If I look hard, I can see
the scars of them all--giant holes in my soul from dashed
expectations, failures to reach perfection, and pains I've
suffered from trying to conquer life--to find ultimate happiness,
serenity and security. These Ground Zeros come
in two kinds--Positive Ground Zeroes and Negative Ground
Zeros. The Positive Ground Zeroes--the result
of some disaster in my life from which I recovered--have strengthened
my character by giving me courage to face them and conviction
to believe in the future in spite of the past. I was
driven by these events, empowered to act to overcome them.
Some I did, some I didn't.
Ground Zeroes have driven me deep into a quagmire of self-pity
and self-depreciation; some others have left me feeling
naked and intimidated because of lack of self-worth.
The most insidious of my Negative Ground Zeros has been complacency
where I forced my will to surrender to the fears and intimidations
of the situation or events. Often, I broke my sword
and bowed in defeat before life itself, powerless and resigned
I was "nobody" and a "nothing,"
and that my dreams were just fodder.
When I think of
a Negative Ground Zero that became Positive, I think of Japan.
War II, one of the conditions of surrender was the elimination
of the national flag--the Rising Sun.
It symbolized Japan's aggressive appetite to conquer all in
its evolutionary path. It was a patriotic reminder that
each new day was dedicated to the growth of the nation, even
if that meant attacking and enslaving others.
Today, the Japanese
flag is a simple red circle on a field of white. It
suggests simplicity rather than aggression. And it diverts
the militaristic thrust of Japan toward a more constructive
and humane technological leadership. Per
capita wealth in Japan rivals that of the U.S. It went
from one of the most impoverished nations to one of the most
powerful in a single generation. Out of the ashes of
destruction rose the sun.
I see the
Rising Sun, not as a symbol of aggression, but a sign of evolution.
I also see Emotional Terrorism as an eclipse of Hope; it shuts
out the vision to the future. As a child, I grew up
in an emotional vacuum. At least, that was my take on
it. My mother would disagree, but then she isn't me,
or my eyes, or my heart.
struck my family in creepy, insidious ways. Arguments,
fights, verbal and physical abuse and the fear of emotional
loneliness, abandonment--all drove me into caves where I hid
out with my secrets, afraid, as bin Laden, to stick his head
out for fear it would get blown off.
of the death and destruction of Ground Zero at the Twin Towers
made me aware of the importance of a Positive Ground Zero.
As death's shroud hung over my head, I thought of the Rising
Sun. Out of the mass destruction happening around me,
I sought to see something worthy in its insanity, something
to neutralize its horror and the pain and anguish it brought
to our nation, and the thousands of loved ones and relatives
who died that day.
cowering in fear, or being intimidated I was only one man,
with one Voice and ten fingers which might drive me to a state
of feeling helpless, unable to make any changes or differences
in the world--I vowed to act in the face Terror.
I saw in my flashing
life as the Towers crumbled and debris shot past us, and people
cried "we're all going to die," that Ground Zero
could be Positive or Negative for me. I could
become embittered at our nation's leaders for not having the
security to thwart such an event happening, or lash out at
God for neglecting his flock, or want to hunt down the Terrorists
and kill them out of revenge and retribution.
Instead, I elected to write
The Terrorism Diaries. I chose to find the good
in the horror of it all--the lesson from which all suffering
teaches, if we are willing to look for it.
My lesson was Vigilance.
My sword became the pen.
I chose to expand the impact of Terrorism
at Ground Zero on September 11 to the Terrorism a child feels
when he or she isn't loved, or cared for, or is abused, or
feels alienated, disenfranchised. I chose to recognize
the duty and obligation of a parent is to become a Parent
Of Vigilance, not only to secure the physical safety of the
family, but also the emotional.
Ground Zero for me today is
a sprig of hope struggling up through the rubble and twisted
metal, searching for life in the tomb of death.