“The most important deficiency in the U.S. counterterrorism policy has been the failure to address the root causes of terrorism.” Philip C. Wilcox Jr., former US Ambassador at Large and Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism, September 2001.
1. The Week Before September 11
The novelist defined a terrorist
as one who has no heart, cares for nothing
but himself. Another character in her book
picks up a diseased beggar in the street
and carrying him in her arms sees Jesus.
The author, a Jew, gasped telling us this.
I walked out gasping Jesus
would carry a terrorist in his arms
and see Himself.
I walked down to the pub. A terrorist
the Christian on the stool beside me offered
is one who has no heart, cares
for nothing but himself. He drank
to the oldest cliché, why
can’t those people get along? They’re
exactly the same people. I saw
the light then, television’s
the night before. I walked out
rather than be kicked out, walked
the foggy streets, hearing from somewhere Love
is all you need.
2. September 11-October 7: “We have the opportunity to forgive them,” Doug Chateau
Jesus carries the terrorist in his arms and sees himself. An
Arab. An Israeli. A Middle Easterner. A
Jew from Nazareth. A Palestinian.
I am not being metaphorical. Exactly a terrorist
by definition of the State, the Western
occupying Army that executed him
for crimes against it.
A religious fanatic. A
suicide for his Cause. A martyr for us.
He gave his only body
that the prophecy be fulfilled. I’m not being
Christian, a Believer. Not
metaphorical. Why can’t we get along? We’re exactly
the same people.
Illegitimate from the start. (A teacher of this.)
Conceived out of wedlock.
Born of a girl into poverty, born
homeless to a stepfather on the road in a
winter barn. Born wanted
dead or alive. The soldiers killed
all the baby boys in the land
in the search for him. His parents fled
across the border. Illegal
immigrants from the start. Terrorized
refugees at the exact heart
of our hate. When do we rise
above this oldest story?
Or is this the script we’re really nailed to
to live and relive until the Apocalypse?
At the exact root of Western Civilization, at the exact heart
of “the American Way of Life” hangs
a murdered Arab, an executed Middle Easterner,
an assassinated Palestinian
a crucified son given by his father
a son tortured by other sons, every one of whom
denied his mother. A Jew
dead of Capital Punishment
who gave his life
in order that the old way—
“You have heard it said, An eye for an eye,
and a tooth for a tooth”—be overturned.
“But I say unto you resist not
evil: Whoever shall smite thee
on thy right cheek
turn to him the other also”
who gave his life—without heart? for
nothing but himself?—in order
that the old way of revenge
“You have heard it said, thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate their enemy.
But I say onto you: Love your enemies, bless them
that curse you, do good
to them that hate you and pray
for them which despitefully use you and
He was not being metaphorical. He didn’t mean
strike back. He didn’t mean
bomb them. He said
forgive them. He didn’t mean God bless our money. He said
give to every man that asketh of thee. He said if any man
sue thee and take away thy coat, let him have
thy cloak also. Sedition and blasphemy! They crucified him
for overturning the tables of the money lenders. For teaching
carry not a purse, don’t be afraid for your next meal, accept
the food of your hosts.
He wasn’t a Christian. He didn’t say
God Bless America. God bless our might.
He said blessed be the meek. He said
blessed be the merciful. He said
blessed be the peacemakers.
3. October 7 until the Apocalypse?
We’re bombing the Holy Land again. “Jerusalem
the mother of us all.” We’re bombing
the Tigris and Euphrates again, the cradle
of civilization. He said be like the creator
who made the sun rise over the evil the same as the good
and sendeth the rain to fall on the just
the same as the unjust. We’re bombing
our only selves again, exactly
the Divine made flesh we carry in our arms
exactly the terrorist who didn’t kill anyone. Forgive us, we
don’t know what we’re doing. Face and body
of that dead son (not a father) our mirror, killed
by the Roman soldiers, now
Roman Catholics, this Cross
roads of our insanity. Love
thy enemy means love thy enemy. Why
are we breaking the Cosmic Law? Why
are we committing suicide? When
do we turn the tables? I’m not being metaphorical. Why
are they nailing us up again? Who
are these soldiers? These old fathers
who call themselves Christian, Muslim, Jewish? Blas