Thursday, July 07, 2005

No Words Are Enough

I think probably everyone who rides public transportation and also has a grasp of world politics and current events, especially in regards to developing nations and extremism of all sorts, has thought to himself at least once or twice that an attack on a subway or bus would be quite easy to carry out, especially if the attacker is willing to die for his cause. The dark,narrow tunnels become a trap. The puff of air as a train enters or leaves the station drives particles-- possibly bacterial or viral-- far down the line. One need look no further than the Sarin gas attacks on the Tokyo subway or the book "The Cobra Effect" for examples.

But anyone who has a halfway pragmatic view of the world considers the low probability of actually being involved in any attack, finds the risk to be miniscule, and steps into the car without major thought.

Yesterday, for the first (and, let us hope, only) time, I drove into work. It had nothing to do with the attacks in London; I had been requested to drive in so that I could run some errands for Felix in the afternoon that would require a car. Many of my fellow commuters apparently decided that the trains were not safe and drove as well. It took me a full hour to reach the office less than 6 miles away. I hear that there were police armed with semiautomatic weapons riding on the Metro.

Oh, London. My heart goes out to you. I'm glad, so very glad, that Death, who lives not far from the scene of one of the explosions, is unharmed. I'm so very sad for all of those whose lives were devastated by these senseless, horrible attacks. And I'm angry as hell at those who think that innocent commuters are an appropriate target for attack. I can understand being willing to die for what you believe in. I do not understand the willingness to kill indiscriminately for any belief.


At 6:30 AM , Blogger vesna said...

I thank you for your concern. The problem with terrorism is that the method by which the message is communicated obstructs that very message (the simplified message being, for those of you slow on the up take, "you laugh, while we cry. It's time that you cried a little too"). And at this point, I might also stress that terrorism is an act, not a person. The idea of labeling a person a "terrorist" is relatively new, and concocted by those who would, for PR purposes, like to label one side of a conflict as "good" and the other as "bad".
But this is not the point that I wish to make. I suppose that the best way to begin to make my point is to remind people that the word "terrorism" has its roots in the French Revolution. That's right folks, "terrorism" was an act which was originally monopolised by state actors. Terrorism performed by states is actually worse, in that states have a whole range of means to accomplish their aims (although this naturally does rely on the resources they have available). Now, moving on to London, it is absolutely horrible what happened. As I have mentioned before, it is all the more shocking in light of the fact that by next year, the UK was supposed to scale down its troop presense to 2,000 and to hand over power to the local authorities. This said, let's turn to the situation in Iraq and the crux of the matter. Iraqis deal with these types of attacks day in and day out. Once again, I would have you turn your attention to something that Juan Cole wrote several months ago:
Really, the US and "its allies" could do less to help Al-Qaeda recruit new members.
Oh, and my dear, sweet Errant Apostrophe, I swear I will get my blog up and running soon enough, so rest assured that this will be the last time that I use your blog as my soap box. Apologies.


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