do you define Terrorism? Do you know what it is for you? For
your loved ones? Can you state its definition in terms that
will limit Terrorism to a speck of dust instead of giant dark
shadow? You can. Read on.
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
September 20 - Ground Zero Plus 738
FROM THE ARCHIVES
24, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 530
What Is Terrorism?
Your Definition Is The Answer
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, Feb. 24--What
exactly is the definition of Terrorism? And, if we are waging
a War on Terrorism, who then are our enemies?
I was scanning the news this morning when I spotted
a project in the Christian Science Monitor. The
newspaper offered readers an interactive set of questions to
help them define what Terrorism was. Authors of the project
presented their views, but each skewed one direction or the
next, leaving the reader uneasy because Terrorism is like a
pile of clay. It can be shaped by whomever's fingers are
molding it at the time.
President George Bush defines Terrorism and those who
harbor it one way. The United Nations defines it another.
Each state or nation offers its tweak to the definition, and
then there are 6.2 billion people on earth, all of whom may
have their particular take on what "Terrorism" means to them.
But the word begs clarity.
Project in this morning's Christian Science Monitor
If the world is at "war" against
"Terrorism," and nations are shaping policies to either
support or retreat from those who lead the anti-Terrorism
parade, then for no other purpose than class-room serenity,
the need for a common definition screams to be scrawled into
our common-sense, universal vocabulary. And, it needs to be
The Monitor's interactive piece (http://www.csmonitor.com/specials/terrorism/start.html)
this morning helped me realize the VigilanceVoice has
made a giant step toward defining Terrorism at the grass roots
level. But to appreciate our simplicity, we need to look at
what the world is doing to complicate the definition, or, not
defining it all.
Currently, politicians are in charge of clay-shaping
Terrorism's definition. Their respective answers depend on
their pro- or anti-American position, or how much twist and
turn they force on Terrorism to fit the expedience of national
There can be little doubt the definition that France
and Germany--two of the biggest critics of American policy
against Iraq--have turned their Terrorism definitions into an
object far different than the one George Bush has spun.
first.....what is Terrorism?
Is Saddam Hussein a Terrorist or
simply a despot? Is Kim Jong Il a Terrorist or a Hitlarian
leader seeking power? Is Osama bin Laden a Terrorist or a
Those who go to the Monitor site and play the
interactive game, which leads one to pick a definition of
Terrorism and then apply certain scenarios to see if indeed
those scenarios are "Terrorism Scenarios" or belong in another
category, will end up shaking their heads. Confusion will
replace what one thought was clarity for the very nature of
Terrorism is mud.
nature of Terrorism is mud
Terrorism's great goal is to strike
Complacency into its victims, immobilizing them in a quagmire
of confusion. If they step to the right, it might be more
quicksand. If they step to the left, perhaps that's where the
end of the earth begins.
Understanding the politics of defining Terrorism
like being caught in a minefield. You simply have to
Because you can't define or understand Terrorism
with exactitude, you feel powerless. The battles going on in
the United Nations over giving Saddam Hussein more time to
disarm is an object lesson in the push-pull complexity of
defining Terrorism. Even though he hasn't offered much help
in disclosing his weapons, the U.N. believes his "intent" is
worth granting him more ticks on the clock until the
inspectors can dig deeper into the sand where many of the
weapons are buried.
Then there is the question of America's intent. Is
America simply throwing labels of Terrorism at Saddam Hussein
to depose him and gain control of the rich oil fields? After
all, there is no direct link between Osama bin Laden and
Hussein, and, there is no "smoking gun" yet found that would
suggest Saddam Hussein is planning some great assault on the
world, or wishes to export his weapons to attack innocent
people in America.
It makes one unable to pull his or her feet out of
the muck. It tires one to come up with concrete answers
especially when the founders of Ben & Jerry's ice cream splash
their faces on television and list down the $200 billion
budgeted for war and show the world how it can be used in
America to offset budget deficits, educate children, and
provide health care for the disenfranchised.
It makes you wonder if the Terrorist isn't George
Bush not Saddam Hussein.
quagmire of Terrorism's meaning is confusing e.g. Is Bush
Mire and murk confuse, disorient,
intimidate and isolate us from the real challenge of
We begin to think Terrorism is some entity outside of
us, some "thing" that exists apart of us, hanging on some
thread in the distance spinning in the haze of night and day,
a nebulous ball of wax that is better left to idiot savant
politicians whose whole lives are about making up definitions
that fit policy, rather than policy that fit definition.
If you're not sure about your take on the issue, stop
right now and write out your definition of Terrorism. If you
hedge on it, maybe you're stuck in the same quagmire most
people are--"What Is Terrorism?"
Then, if you think you have the answer, try
explaining it to a child. See if a child can understand it,
for the test of any good definition is its ability to be
understood by a child who sees things in blacks and whites,
not in the grays that muddle adult thinking.
For 530 days, and at the expense of more than a
million words(1,000,000), the VigilanceVoice has
proffered its definition of Terrorism.
Unlike the political pundits who seek to define
Terrorism as the "state of a nation," or the "state of a band
of gangsters who should be driven from power," the
VigilanceVoice has sought to find the definition of
Terrorism from within each and every human being who currently
exists, all who have trudged on this earth before, and all who
will walk in our footsteps in the future.
It is our belief that Terrorism is as clear as our
fingerprints, as defined as our faces, and as real and vivid
as the sun's rising and the moon's setting each and every day.
Anything less than such a definition of Terrorism
would serve Terrorism's primary goal--Complacency. It would
deny the average person access to recognizing it, and through
the disguise of confusion, would allow Terrorism to slip in
and out of detection as Osama bin Laden has over the past 530
The lack of defining Terrorism would
also make each citizen on earth vulnerable to accepting the
politician's definitions, which, like the tides, ebbs and
floods as the geo-political situations shift.
Worse, it would deny a parent, grandparent, or loved
one the right, duty and opportunity to explain to a child what
Terrorism was, how the child can recognize it, and how the
child can defend himself or herself against it.
Terrorism, we believe, has three primary components
that need little definition: Fear! Intimidation!
The three elements are bonded as any element.
Water, for example, is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen,
thus; H20. Terrorism equal Fear, plus Intimidation, plus
One of these cannot exist without the presence, in
part, of the other three elements. Complacency ultimately is
the result of Fear and Intimidation--it is the giving up, the
abdication of effort to resolve or face an issue. Fear, the
thought of losing something, and Intimidation, the sense of
not being able to achieve a satisfying result, force
Complacency to take many forms such as "who cares," or "that's
not my business," or "so what can I do about it," or, "leave
it to the experts."
Terrorism, in its final form, is powerlessness.
of Terror = Powerlessness
It is the sense one gets that the
ball of wax is so large and unwieldy that no matter how one
tries to shape it, the form never takes the shape one wants.
Take one's life for example. Nothing one tries seems to
work, so stop working to change it. Fall into a rut. Be
the victim, the doormat, the cog in the wheel. Fall into
the mainstream. Go along. Accept what is because nothing
can change the tides. Go to work. Pay your bills. Go to
sleep. Wake up. Go to work. Pay your bills. Go to sleep.
Whatever you do, don't dream. For when you do,
your dreams will be smashed by the hammer of reality. After
all, we're all nails and the world is a hammer.
Average people, the mass of humanity, want average
lives. They don't want war. They don't want conflict. They
want to live in peace and quiet. They want to exist free of
the arrows that fly, the bullets that crack overhead, the
economies that rise and fall, the governments that come and
go, the leaders who rise to power and are replaced by other
leaders, ad infinitum.
But the world is no longer average.
Terrorists shout 'gotcha' to America
Terrorism has changed that.
The world is at war against Terrorism, and can't
define it, or, at least struggles to find its definition in
the morass of issues plaguing the world today.
Never before has the world waited for the next
Terrorist to attack.
Never before has the world tuned into CNN to see
when the next weapons of mass destruction might be unleashed
in a subway, at a school yard, in a remote village.
That's why the definition of Terrorism is so
critical today. It's a vital part of everyone's life because
Terrorism can pop up on the most unsuspecting doorstep, in the
most non-strategic location imaginable, making any and all
potential victims of its wrath.
A few months ago in a resort in Africa an SUV filled
with explosives drove into a tourist compound and blew up
people there on vacation. In Bali a bunch of young people
at a nightclub were bombed--Paradise was raped.
world fears random Terrorism as well as targeted attacks
The world saw the destruction on
television, examined it on the Internet, shivered at the
thought they could be just as subject to the indiscriminate,
senseless attacks as anyone on earth, for Terrorism, by its
nature, does not target strategic objects as much as it does
seek to blow up the psychological security of the average
human being, turning everyone into scared rabbits.
The United States, one of the most powerful nations
in the world, recently radicalized its government structure
and created a cabinet post for Homeland Security--an
anti-Terrorist bureaucracy designed to make Americans feel
United States created Homeland Security to try to make
Americans feel more secure
In Russia, Cultural Theater attendees
out to enjoy a new musical were held hostage and hundreds
killed as the government sought to neutralize the Terrorist
Last weekend the United States issued a Second
Degree Terror alert, driving citizens in fear of a biochemical
attack to the local hardware stores for duct tape and plastic
sheets to secure their windows.
And yet we have difficulty defining Terrorism.
Terrorism has a distinct face.
It is the face of the Beast of Terror.
It is the sum of our primal fears, our primal
It is the Freudian Id, that elusive part of the
human mind we try to bury and distance ourselves from as we
pretend to be "civilized."
It lives in the mind of every child who is afraid of
the "closet monster," or the "thing under the bed."
It grows within us when we look in the mirror and
see ourselves as "not worthy enough," "not pretty enough,"
"not smart enough," "not happy enough," "not rich enough," "
not loved enough."
Terror-cancer hides inside our thoughts, eroding
our constitutions as human beings, telling us that we are
"powerless to change," that we are just a "Voice in the
wilderness," that we are only a "grain of sand on the beach."
It disenfranchises us from our dreams, it
marginalizes us to "be nobody special," and to "resign
ourselves to our lots in life."
Our Beasts of Terror are all the same.
If we all dumped them in a pile, they would be
brothers and sisters, all cut from the same cloth. They would
be the sum of our Fears, our Intimidations, our
When someone asks you to define Terrorism, you might
want to consider not trying to use Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong
Il, or Osama bin Laden as the symbols for your definition.
They are only the manifestations of, not the
definition of, Terrorism.
Terrorism is far more insidious than the global people
who represent it.
The Terrorist is us.
We are all Terrorists.
We all are capable of issuing unto others Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency. We are capable of that because
we are all victims of it.
No human being, from the Pope to the Pauper, is void
of the presence of the Beast of Terror.
But we do have a choice in whether we want the Beast
of Terror to live in us unrecognized, unexposed, unmanaged,
or, we expose the Beast of Terror and remove his hiding place
within so he can longer haunt us as he has for eons.
We can do this by becoming Parents and Citizens of
Vigilance. We can take the Pledge of Vigilance and vow to not
allow the Beast of Terror roam within us unchecked.
a Parent of Vigilance and break the bonds of servitude to
the Beast of Terror
We can break the bonds of servitude by
looking the Beast of Terror in the eye and holding up our
Shield and Sword of Vigilance, announcing to him: "I know who
you are, where you live, and what you want. You are no longer
safe within me, my children, my grandchildren or my love
ones. I am going to war against you, Mr. Beast of Terrorism.
I am going to drive you back into the caves where you belong,
and keep you from infecting my children, or my Children's
Sound too simple?
Profound things are simple.
Terrorism is very profound, for it is extremely
simple--create Fear, Intimidation and Complacency in others.
Watch others scramble in confusion trying to counter it.
Laugh at them. Enjoy the power.
Recall the tape of Osama bin Laden eating with his
brothers and finding out that the Twin Towers had fallen. He
was elated. He wanted to strike Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency into the heart of America, but delighted in the
fact it resulted in far more than he expected.
At least Osama had a goal with his Terrorism,
however cruel and indifferent it was.
But then there is the parent of the child who has
no time to "love the child." He or she is "too busy," and
tells the child, "I love you but I have other more important
things to do than to play with you."
The child retreats into the Fear of being unloved,
into the dark, dank corners of loneliness, emptiness.
Or, the parent who looks at a child and shouts,
"Don't bother me, can't you see I'm busy!" Or, worse, the one
who grabs a child by the shoulders and screams, "I wish you
were never born.
the true meaning of
Terrorism and share the Vigilance with your children
Or, the parent who turns to the
child and spears its heart with, "You're just like your
no-good father, or no good mother."
Does the child feel Fear? Intimidation?
Has the Beast of Terror struck as hard against the
child as Osama bin Laden's planes struck the World Trade
Center, or the Pentagon? Has the child's Ground Zero been
decimated once again?
Parents of Vigilance are those who recognize the
presence of their own Beast of Terror. They have the Courage,
Conviction and take the Right Actions necessary to admit to
themselves that the Beast is Within, not without.
They bite the head off the Beast. They subscribe
to the Principles of Vigilance that ask them to act in behalf
of the Children's Children's Children by sharing their Fears,
their Intimidations and their Complacencies with their
They build bridges of trust between themselves and
their children, teaching their children how to combat Fear
with Courage, and Intimidation with Conviction, and to shove
Complacency aside with the responsibility to act to the
benefit of future generations--for the Children's Children's
Parents, Citizens and Loved Ones of Vigilance wake
up in the morning and redefine their Pledge of Vigilance
daily, aware that if they don't the Beast of Terror will sneak
out of his hiding place and work his way once again into the
pilot seat of human thought and actions.
Tree of Vigilance blooms after the roots of Terror are dug
up and exposed