Be wary of burning yourself to death. The Beast of
Fire Terrorism lurks about.
Monday, March 8,
2004—Ground Zero Plus 908
Self Immolation--The Ultimate Terror
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Mar. 8, 2004 -- I have seen people set on
fire. It is a horrible scene. The stench of such
death lingers forever, an odor whose pungent spears are indelible.
many burning deaths ...
In Vietnam I saw many deaths by burning.
A flame thrower spits out hellfire upon those in its path, and the
more they run, the brighter the flames.
At Ground Zero on
September 11, 2001, I saw the burning bodies leaping from the Twin
Towers. They chose death by falling to that of being
burned out of existence.
For months after the
Terrorist attack, the smell of burning human flesh permeated the
atmosphere where I live in the East Village, clinging to one's clothes
and skin as though to remind everyone of Terrorism's ability to gnaw
its way into the pores of the living through the remnants of the dead.
Deep in the bowels of the earth, the smoke rose for months as the
fires of Hell burned, perfuming the air with the toxic mortality of
all who thought they were exempt from Terrorism.
I was familiar
with the scent of burning flesh
I was familiar with the scent.
When people asked me: "What is that smell?" I said nothing.
I didn't remind them it was nearly 3,000 bodies burning amidst the
rubble. I didn't want them to wake up at night screaming as they
thought of inhaling the molecules of the victims, their scents carried
through the night to the nostrils of the living.
I awoke many times, often
gagging. I knew what I was inhaling. I wished I
didn't. The decay of human souls swarmed through my lungs,
mixed with my blood, was part of the gaseous exchange of fuel for
life, a strange cocktail of the living and the dead.
Twenty-year-old Afghan woman attempted self immolation
All this was brought back in vivid color
this morning when I read about the self-immolation of Afghanistan
women. Still repressed by years of customs and
traditions, many Afghan women in villages are treated like chattel,
according to an article in the
New York Times.
Young girls are
given in marriage to husbands two and three times their age, as
compensation for debts or crimes. These young women
are often brutalized, as slaves in the household ruled by the
mother-in-law. Many are beaten and abused and as a
result choose to kill themselves rather than live in the daily torture
of a hellish existence.
Kerosene is their weapon
of self destruction. Readily available since it is used
for cooking and heating, they douse themselves with the fuel and light
Local hospitals have had
a surge of such deaths recently as human rights groups have become
more active and track them. The Times presents insights
into the minds of some of the women who survived, and the Fear they
live with that leads up to their attempted suicide.
Can I burn
myself up with my anger?
I think of statements
we make: "I'm burning up with anger!" "That
burns me up!"
Perhaps there are
more than one way to burn up ourselves? Maybe kerosene and
a match is one way, but can we burn ourselves up without the kerosene
and match? Can we destroy our sense of worth by turning rage and
anger, or futility and frustration into raging flames that destroy our
self worth just as real kerosene and fire destroys the flesh?
The Beast of
Terror is not always so obvious as to ignite someone in real life.
But, if we were able to see people "burning with rage" or "consumed in
the flames of jealousy" or "ablaze with anger" we might see virtually
hundreds of people on a busy street in all varying degrees of self
Vigilance may be nothing more than being a
good fireman or firewoman. That is, if we are truly Vigilant, we
might keep our eyes attuned to those feelings and emotions which
enrage us, that spark our kindling points and drive us either into a
state of rage, or depress us into a quagmire of frustration.
Both the high and the low of our emotions are inflammatory.
The Beast of Terror wants us to burn ourselves up
Perhaps the Beast of Terror wants us to spontaneously combust because
we keep things to ourselves, and feel the world is "out to get us" and
we are tinder, ready to explode at the smallest spark.
sure, of course. But I do know that each of us has a "burning
point" where we "can't take it" any more. Some of us have a
higher thermostat than others, but none of us is exempt from the
dangers of exploding or imploding.
Any of us can set ourselves on fire through Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency. We can only stuff our emotions so long;
we can only be victims for a limited stitch in time.
allows us to let off steam
This is where Vigilance allows us to let off steam. We can learn
to counter the impact of the Beast of Terror by opening the doors and
ventilating our souls with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions for
the Children's Children's Children.
We don't have to burn ourselves up, especially in the eyes of our
Children can see a mother or father seething on fire in front of them.
They can see the flames firing off the end of the parents' tongues.
They can smell the burning of their parents' flesh as they sleep.
We can stop the burning. We can take the Pledge of Vigilance.
We can all hope that one day the women of Afghanistan will stop
burning themselves, but in the interim, we can help, by insuring we
don't burn ourselves.
Vigilance Among Teenagers