Tuesday, 23 September 2014

I don't think anyone is taking the threat

of a terrorist attack too seriously in my part of Downunder. Why should they? The city is considered to be largely peaceful and safe. It is not a big place.
Yes, pretty complacent about the whole business. "Terrorism" is something which happens in other countries. Those who live here don't even really believe it would happen anywhere in Downunder. Why should it? We're all great people, aren't we?
Of course, if we are a target at all, then it is all the fault of the government for going to war against Saddam Hussein and his alleged weapons of mass destruction. Right? Enough said?
Actually, no.
We should not be complacent. This city did have a terrorist attack some years ago and someone died as a result of it.
What is more it would not have made any difference whether we had gone to war or not. We would still be targets. It would not make any difference whether we were allies of the United States of America or not. We would still be targets.
We could be the most peace loving people on earth and we would be targets simply because most of us are "infidels". Even if we were all to magically convert to Islam it would not help. There is, according to those who threaten us, only one brand of Islam - and that is their brand.
Perhaps nothing will change people who think like that. But, there are some things that can change.
Yesterday we were meeting with the celebrant who will conduct my friend's funeral. My friend was not a religious person. There will be no religious component to her funeral. But, she was not an atheist either. She believed in people, most of all in the students she taught. It made her a good teacher. She didn't set out to change them. Instead she set out to give them the tools to change themselves. I was thinking of all of this in relation to terrorism because I had another e-mail from another friend - the one who runs the centre for unaccompanied children in Africa.
Some years ago one of the children there, a child who had lost both hands in a machete attack during the appalling fighting between the Tutsi and Hutu tribes, wanted to be a teacher. He had worked very hard to overcome his disabilities and he was exceptionally bright. He could not do physical work but he studied and had, against all odds, made the grades to enter university. He had found tutoring work to help support himself there but still lack the text books. My friend bought his text books for him. He went on to do an excellent degree and now teaches maths - sometimes to people who belong to the tribe which injured him.
Yes, things can change. Unexpected help can have great repercussions. We need to believe in people.


Philip C James said...

The risk that anyone in your town will fall victim to terrorism is far lower than the risk they will be run over by a carelessly or dangerously driven vehicle.

Much as I may carp at infringement of civil liberties (often excused by an encouraged perceived need to protect against terrorism), there is also much to be thankful for that we live in a lawful, ordered state where acts of terror, by whomever perpetrated - ISIS/AQ/Tutsi/Hutu/Khmer Rouge/Stalin/Hitler/IRA/CIA/blah blah ad infinitum - are largely prevented.

catdownunder said...

Of course the risk is much lower - but it does exist and we need to be alert to it - and consider how we treat other people.