Sunday, September 10, 2006

For the Terrorist on the Go

Big A gets off the train carrying a handy little box under his arm that's labeled, "Radiological Terrorism."

I had to look real close--under the picture of a woman with anxious eyes peering out from atop a facemask /burqa opening--to read the reassuring small print that tells you that it's an emergency kit circulated by the CDC and not the very latest 'to-have' in a line of Al Qaeda's top to-go products.

Astonishingly, Big A didn't set off wholesale panic in New York.

Also something of a surprise is Martin Amis (a.k.a. my teenage literary crush)'s take on global terrorism, which he'd like to call "horrorism." I never thought i'd witness Martin Amis declaring that all women are his sisters--i know that somewhere in an alternative universe, my 15-year-old self is ululating--but there are more serious matters at hand. Amis's meticulous political argument rationalizing British (Western) disconnect from "Islamism" in a long, three-part article in today's Guardian, here.

You like Osama?

I can almost hear the tone of the reply I would have given - reedy, wavering, wholly defeatist. As for the substance, it would have been the reply of the cornered trimmer, and intended, really, just to give myself time to seek the foetal position and fold my hands over my face. Something like: 'Well I quite like him, but I think he overdid it a bit in New York.' No, that would not have served. What was needed was boldness and brilliance. The exchange continued:

'You like Osama?'

'Of course. He is my brother.'

'He is your brother?'

'All men are my brothers.'

All men are my brothers. I would have liked to have said it then, and I would like to say it now: all men are my brothers. But all men are not my brothers. Why? Because all women are my sisters. And the brother who denies the rights of his sister: that brother is not my brother. At the very best, he is my half-brother - by definition. Osama is not my brother.


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