May 5, 2002—Ground
Zero Plus 236
War Of The Worlds
Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News
GROUND ZERO, New York City, May 5--One of my great memories
was the original movie "War Of The Worlds," a screen
adaptation of H.G. Wells' 1898 story of an invasion from mars.
War of the Worlds was also converted in 1938 to a Mercury Theater
radio production narrated by Orson Welles that sent panic
and terror throughout America. In 1996 it was released
in a more modern version titled Independence Day.
The movie was all about
Helpless people all over
the world were at the mercy of alien invaders, not unlike people
today being helpless over the next Terrorist attack.
Fear, Intimidation and
Complacency rushed over America on Halloween as Orson Welles
aired his "hoax" version of the invasion at 8p.m.
in 1938 over CBS radio. Listeners thought the "fake
news reports" citing alien invaders were real. A
great panic ensued, despite disclaimers the radio program inserted
that this a fictionalization fell on deaf ears.
What I found interesting in the
1953 movie--which, by the way, scared my youthful bones to chatter
and clatter all the way home that night--was that the "victims"
of alien Terrorism sought refuge in a Church from their Martian
invaders. I was disappointed in the more modern
release in 1996 that chose not to use Faith or the Church as
a sanctuary for the victimized.
Today, times haven't changed
Palestinian Terrorists are still holed up inside the Church
of The Nativity in Bethlehem, armed and fearful that their "alien
invaders," the Israelis, will capture and prosecute them
for acts of violence against the Jewish State.
But that situation is not as
interesting to me as the one my older daughter experienced in
El Salvador nearly a decade ago.
A peace activist, she decided to go
to Guatemala and El Salvador to help the oppressed people living
under the Terrorism of a military dictatorship.
Part of her mission included living with a group of disenfranchised
El Salvadorian people attempting to regain their land that the
government had taken. Under the law, if they squatted
on the land for a period of time they could obtain rights over
it. They called such an event a "land take."
The military had other ides.
Any group attempting a "land take" was Terrorized
by military forces armed to the teeth and driven away, or, if
they resisted being disbanded, they were shot or murdered.
Americans and other interested people
from throughout the world lived with the villagers to keep the
military from forcing their removal. The presence
of "foreign nationals," some of whom were United Nations
observers, made the El Salvadorians reluctant to use brutal
force on the peasants.
Such living was harsh.
Each day corn was shucked and turned into
meal for tortillas and the local river was both a bathing as
well as washing facility.
The group my daughter was with
had hidden in the basement of church for five long years after
being driven from their land. There were 500 people comprising
the village, crammed into the small, dusky confines of the church's
were hiding from the military who sought to eliminate them and
by doing so, erase their claim to the fertile land they sought
As the war was winding down and
peace prospects on the horizon, the Terrorized villagers decided
to rise up in force and to take their land back. They
left the security of the Church and foraged back to seize back
their land, accompanied by foreigners who shielded them from
the common atrocities El Salvadoran militants were so famous
for administering to those who stood up to them.
Today, in Bethlehem, a
reverse of this process is occurring. Terrorists
are using the sanctuary of the church for security while outside
Israeli snipers watch night and day for anyone trying to escape
and having standard orders to shoot anyone carrying a weapon
or refusing to surrender if challenged.
On May 4 the Israeli snipers
killed one of the alleged 25 Terrorists, whom they said was
armed. Ten foreign nationals who snuck into the
Church of the Nativity to observe and help protect the 140 civilians
under siege there plus the 25 wanted Palestinians, said the
man was unarmed and hanging up clothes when he was shot.
The standoff is about the disposition
of the Terrorists. The Israelis want the 25 Terrorists
to be exiled, and the Palestinians want them to be tried under
The Church Of The Nativity is claimed to rest upon the grave
of Jesus, where, after his crucifixion, he was buried.
It is considered the most holy church in all of Christendom.
The confrontation is, to me,
the modern version of War Of The Worlds.
If Orson Welles was still alive,
I could imagine him being the CNN reporter giving daily broadcasts
about the "Israeli Invaders," Terrorizing the Terrorists."
Of course he would embellish the scene, as he did in his 1938
radio broadcast, but he would bring up the key issue--the power
of a sanctuary and the power of faith to overcome one's Fear,
Intimidation and Complacency.
In the War of the Worlds, Faith
in the future overpowered the immediate threat of destruction.
The people trapped inside its great halls sought within themselves
the Courage, Conviction and Action necessary to overcome their
Terrorism. Ultimately, they found that the Martians
were vulnerable to a bacteria, and shot it at the aliens, riding
them from the face of the earth.
In my daughter's situation, faith
helped secure the safety of the El Salvadorian villagers.
Fearless, courageous people from the "outside world"
went face-to-face with the military who pointed their weapons
at them and threatened to kill them all if they didn't disperse.
Many of the observers, including my daughter's future husband,
were arrested and thrown into El Salvadorian jails.
Fortunately, the women of the village formed a circle of Vigilance
around my daughter so that the military trying to extract her
from the crowd were thwarted. She barely escaped.
I think a lot about where
a child seeks sanctuary when he or she is Terrorized by life.
If a child thinks he or she is too fat, too thin, not smart
enough, not loved enough, not rich enough, not gifted enough,
where does he or she go for sanctuary?
Personally, I ran into the woods
I sat under the tall trees that grew in my Oregon homeland and
felt the Sentinels of Vigilance standing tall around me.
Trees were my Church of Nativity. My wife found sanctuary
in her closet surrounded by her 'book friends'.
Children are terrorized daily
by many forces, just as adults are. While adults
often wash their Terrorism away with a couple of drinks, or
watching a television program, a child often has no place to
store his or her Fears, Intimidation or Complacencies.
His or her behavior often results in bad tempers, violence,
or withdrawal. Secrets form within that fester and
grow, and often the child lies in bed at night cold and alone,
feeling the chill of an icy basement surrounding him or her,
fearful of leaving the cave of Terrorism.
As a Parent of Vigilance we owe
our children the safety of our presence during a child's siege
We can be the child's Sentinel
of Vigilance, becoming part of the child's mind, holding out
our hand to the child's Emotional Fears, Emotional Intimidations,
and Emotional Complacencies.
But we must take a risk, just
as the 10 foreign observers did when they snuck into the Church
of Nativity the other day.
All we have to do is take the
Pledge of Vigilance and apply the principles of Vigilance to
our children, to our loved ones.
We can build a sanctuary around the child, and be his or her
gatekeeper filled with love rather than becoming snipers who
shoot at the child's Fears, Intimidations or Complacencies to
drive them deeper into the Caves of Terrorism.
It begins with us not being afraid
to be with a child, as a child, thinking through the eyes of
a child, caring for the child's inner faith in himself or herself.
Build your child's sanctuary today.
Take the Pledge of Vigilance.
TO: May 4--F-18 Mission Of Vigilance