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An Unfamiliar Terrorism

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Who's the Terrorist
Who's the Terrorist
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People in the United States have a fairly well-defined image of terrorism. A term that became indelibly emblazoned on the U.S. psyche on September 11, 2001. Terrorism consists of "suicide-vests", burkas, hijabs, Muslims, Islam, caves, sand, tents, camels, and melanic people. I cannot help but be struck that I live in a nation that killed millions of people so that women did not have to wear burkas, but has found itself in a circumstance where everyone has to wear the equivalent, be they male or female, to go to the grocery store. The satire of it is nothing less than spectacular.

The women in those terrorist nations still wear burkas and hijabs; and they do so proudly for the most part, as the United States retreats in Afghanistan. The Taliban comes home.

Americans now face a much more nebulous terrorism. This unfamiliar terrorism is terrifying in a way that the other one was not. It is amorphous and multi-faceted. Utmost is the fact that the unfamiliar terrorism is quantitatively more lethal because it goes beyond the physical in its lethality. The familiar terrorism destroyed people and things; this unfamiliar terrorism destroys both body and mind. It destroys friendships, families and, thusly, societies. The desolate, dysfunctional, dystopian socio-political landscape of the United States is the petri dish in which this unfamiliar terrorism both suppurates and sublimates.

John F. Kennedy said that "the most powerful and precious right in the world" is the right to vote. Given that it is a bit of an arrogant and hyperbolic statement notwithstanding, I do understand the sentiment behind President Kennedy's words and the context in which they were made. If what he said was, or is, true the people of the United States have no power. Chaos must ensue as the stars align.

Every presidential U.S. election, in this century, has been controversial to say the least; with the exception of the election and re-election of Barack Obama (the irony of this incongruity is worth pondering). The heavens only know how many state and local elections were tainted comedic tragedies in one way or another, and I seriously doubt that the United States will ever see an election without turmoil. The row has been hoed, the seedlings planted. Yet, at this very moment the United States continues to globally proselytize "democracy" with "free and fair elections" to the point of murdering women, children and men every single day while racist mobs invade its Capitol and its elections are a jape. Most of those in that racist mob did not receive as much as a scratch; I must wonder what that scene would have looked like if that mob of insurrectionists/insurgents looked like me. Does the U.S. realize that its global credibility, other than inflicting massive violence, is zero (excepting European nations)? I find this terrifying; and the U.S. propensity towards violence makes it even more so because, at some point, violence will be met with violence.

The COVID pandemic has wrought incredible damage on the fragile society known as the United States, and while every nation has had to deal with the pandemic in some way, shape or form the United States appears to have handled it the worst. There are family members who will not speak to each other because of a vaccine; and it's not really the vaccine that causes the problem as much as it is the assumptions that are drawn; an abysmal rabbit-hole. Whether or not one wears a mask has, somehow, become a political statement where inferences and conclusions are made about one's politics, social status and intellect. This is being done across the political spectrum and it should terrify all because "the enemy is invisible".

Friends and acquaintances that I have had for many years, be they personal or business, I am no longer able to normally communicate with for fear that I might possess an opinion that runs counter to their indoctrinations, whatever they may be. That I might use the wrong word, use it the wrong way or refuse to use it, and a decades-long relationship will come to a bitter end. My communication with them is muted in a way that did not exist before because the intellectual discourse and the freedom of intellectual growth that it brings about must be sacrificed for the sake of maintaining a relationship; but "a" relationship is quite different from "the" relationship. This is being manifested throughout the United States and the societal fallout therefrom has repercussions that are unfathomable and terrifying.

As a dissident, I do not possess a significant compendium of positive statements about the United States because, as I have stated many times, I approach life as I have experienced it and it has come to me, not as I wish it were. However, nothing is absolute except for the fact that nothing is absolute. The freedom of speech has always been one of those few things about the United States that I thought it half-ass lived up to. I might not have liked what someone said, but I could be equally offensive, myopic, stupid, knowledgeable or articulate. Since I have a penchant for smart people, what would happen would be a deepening of the relationship because what was being pursued was a validation of thought, not instant recrimination based on flimsy labels nor superficial actions. The end result of this was a modicum of intellectual honesty and, sometimes I daresay, progress. This is no more and is, truly, terrifying because honest debate is the steel that sharpens thought; but that only works if one is capable of thinking in the first place.

The familiar terrorism involved "a mushroom cloud", "dirty bombs" (as opposed to clean ones), anthrax, melanic dudes flying planes into skyscrapers and the threat of nuclear annihilation. But there was a certain comfort in this familiar scenario because millions of dollars were required to carry out these operations and many years to plan. The unfamiliar terrorism requires a laptop computer that can be had for under a thousand dollars. In the past twenty-four months the United States has been subjected to a record number of cyber-attacks, some involving critical infrastructure. In those cases that involved ransomware, the ransoms were paid though "the United States does not negotiate with terrorists". The vast majority of people in the United States get their food from a grocery store (man's most pressing needs are food and shelter). They take for granted that the lights will come on when they clap their proverbial hands, or flick a switch. Most can't read a map, nor do they know the phone numbers of their loved ones; verily, that "smart" phone is smarter than they. What happens when it ceases to work? Seventy-two hours (that's three days) without electrical power in the United States would debilitate the nation. Throw in 400 million guns alongside an ancient infrastructure and you have a level of chaos that the world has never seen. If that doesn't terrify one, nothing will.

Donald Trump, in my mind, did two very significant things that I believe will be his lasting legacy: the first was his Supreme Court appointments that, in theory, could have an impact for the next half-century. The second, and I believe most consequential, thing he did was utter two one-syllable words: "fake news". The same aforementioned, mostly illiterate and heavily armed, nation now has no idea what to believe (and rightfully so). Terrifying.

There is an old adage that one should never speak of politics and religion publicly; I think it sage wisdom. Nevertheless, the channels you watched, the radio station you listened to, the airline you patronized or the food you ate and the restaurant it came from did not result in ostracization to the point where you could lose your ability to make a living. The United States has become its own terrorist. A nation that seems unable to function unless its people are afraid; which is no surprise, especially to those of us that have certain experiences in the United States. Now all are getting a taste of that fear and terror. Fear makes money.

In the interim, the world watches, waits, gloats and is satiated by witnessing the results of the lying liars that are now entrapped by their own lies. When the totality of these circumstances are considered any educated person must realize that the peril that the United States faces is not only unprecedented but comes from within, not without. The unfamiliar terrorism originates from the familiar, resulting in an apartheid state within an apartheid state from which there shall be not only push-back but no winning, only degrees of losing.

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Rohn Kenyatta is a native Californian that has three children and believes that all of the world's problems could be solved if "we were all just good to children". A noted Public Speaker, he is a contributing columnist for Black Agenda (more...)

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