You never come out on the other end of trauma the same. Witnessing horrors real time and going through the experience of mind bending pains is something that alters reality and induces an endless stream of sadness and haunting memories. This is why veterans who fight in wars come back home and become homeless or why children who suffer unimaginable ordeals end up enduring a life of distress as adults. Though some endure agonies that are more excruciating than others, all of us in time experience the traumas that life brings and the ennui that comes with it.
I write this in light of the attempted terror attack that took place this afternoon as a depraved soul tried to snuff out innocent lives in order to advance an ideology of hate. Targeting civilians and exterminating men, women and children who have nothing to do with combat are actions of depraved souls. Violence can’t birth peace nor can hate be the answer to hate; killing non-combatants to advance a political, economic or religious manifestos is pure evil. Whether the people blowing up lives and buildings call their targets infidels or collateral damage is a difference without a distinction. This is the pure folly of waging a war against terror; destroying nations and unleashing a bloodletting upon the masses will only create more terrorists and lead to a never ending campaign of tit for tat carnage.
Sadly, the mere mention of a terror attack has a way of crowding out any attempt to have rational discussions and instead induces hysteria and a rush to respond with deadly violence. If only we were led by voices of calm and reason who spoke with courage and wisdom. Instead, we are led by war mongers and attention seekers who are quick to respond with bravado and pivot seamlessly to encourage us to continue shopping. We have become a nation of two realities; on one side we are perpetually conditioned to fear the repercussions of war while concurrently being programmed to not worry about its consequences. News breaks of an attack and we tilt towards angst and fear only to tilt back to condition normal the next day once the news cycle of terror evaporates.
Perhaps this is the outgrowth of the military-financial complex society we have become. When the cost of war is borne by a few and not felt by the vast majority of Americans, it is easy to view violence as video games and easier yet to be agitated towards yet more wars. I don’t say these things to affix blame but to call attention to our plight. We are a nation that has been collectively traumatized by September 11th, 2001. Seeing the Twin Towers crumble to the ground and dust clouds shroud New York City in a blanket of pulverized steel and concrete forever changed our nation. Our collective innocence was snatched away and replaced with constant anxieties. To this day, the memory of seeing the Pentagon smoldering on fire from across the street is something I can’t get out of my mind.
Once traumatized, we have become perpetually victimized. The words of Benjamin Franklin come to mind when I think about the way our country was transformed by the bombs of malevolent men and the egos of power hungry autocrats. Franklin, writing on behalf of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in response to the Penn family’s attempt to dictate policies using their considerable wealth and influence, noted:
“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
What Franklin warned of we have become as a society. Politicians and bureaucrats—using the pretext of national security and fighting terrorism—waged a stealthy campaign to wipe away our freedoms and foist a system of monstrous corporatism and federalism upon us. Before we even had a chance to assess what the powers in DC were doing, they quickly passed the Patriot Act and shredded the Constitution, Bill of Rights and our freedoms along with it. The Treason Act is a more fitting name; our nation has been reduced to an appendage of federalists in DC and corporatists in Manhattan and beyond.
Terror, you see, has become a cash cow for many on multiple fronts. War financiers make money on the front and back end as they sanction factions throughout the world only to reap fortunes when governments declare wars on the very monsters that are created by them to begin with. Arms makers dance with glee each time a massive attack takes place because they know more blood means more weapons. Fanatics, whether political or religious, likewise reap fortunes each time one side attacks the other. Right there to cover this continued genocide against humanity is corporate media; if it bleeds it leads, but if it goes boom it means ratings bonanzas! And of course, politicians get elected feigning patriotism knowing that tough talk means more cash in their campaign coffers.
The losers are the rest of us, the bottom 90% who finance this never ending war with our paychecks as we get driven closer to insolvency with each bomb that is dropped in our names. The losers are also those who make the honorable choice to serve their nation only to be used to the breaking point and then discarded when they come back home reduced by PTSD. The losers are the people in the nations we keep invading in the name of corporatism as hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, Libyans, Syrians, Somalians and multitudes throughout countless nations are sacrificed at the alter of profits in order to feed the beast of gluttony and capital greed. I write this about America, but this insidious cancer of war and profiteering is global in nature. Humanity suffers on a daily basis as a few thrive through bloodshed. The dance of death continues; each time a terror attack rips through a community in Orlando, Boston, Vegas, Dallas, New York and beyond, it begets drones and tomahawk missiles in Kabul, Aleppo, Tripoli, Sana and beyond. With each vest bomb or pulled trigger, the bodies of Americans serve as the catalyst to continue a decade and a half war of futility against terror. With each salvo of cluster bombs and laser guided ordinances, more terrorists are created. The cycle of blood and bombs continues unabated as trauma becomes the new normal for people separated by oceans but connected by havoc. The losers are many, the only winners are the ones who manufacture weapons, finance wars and the zealots they employ. #TwiceTerrorized
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” ~ Marie Curie
At the core of our struggles and the reason we fight each other instead of uniting for the sake of justice is fear of the others. This is a topic I discussed in the latest Ghion Cast below.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.