Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Musing Away #6 Coping With Terrorism

Coping With Terrorism

Terrorism is frightening. As the victim, lightly injured in an attack, I can't pretend that it's nothing. Though I must admit that I've learned to live without it dominating my life and every thought.

This morning and the past few days, the news in New York has been about the trauma that commuters and public transportation users must be prepared to open their bags for inspection. As an Israeli, it's a "so what, been there done that..."

Israelis are well experienced in finding our bags checked and x-rayed, opening jackets, exchanging words with "doormen/guards" who aren't asking to be polite. They're asking us how we are or where we're going to see if we tense up or have the wrong accent. I've even shown off my dental work, a very clever "strap bridge" and taken off my gold bracelet. Sometimes the guards even come across more intimate possessions and know a woman's menstrual cycle and birth control methods. All this is done in the most discreet and subtle ways. Only once did I blow it. I refused to take off my hat, when on inspection line to get into some event that Bibi Natenyahu was attending, during his reign as Prime Minister. A metal detecting wand had decided that something suspicious was under my hat. Finally, the female guard escorted me into the Ladies' Room, and she checked my hair clips. Yesseree, it sometimes gets that hairy. (Oops, please forgive the pun.)

The London bombings have the Americans running scared. Terrorism is just perfect for paranoids. Anyone can be the enemy, and in a very heterogeneous country like the United States, especially the big cities like New York, I can understand their fear.

We Israelis have a slightly easier time. The terrorists come from a specific section of the population, Arabs, yes, Arabs, and it's not racist to say so. We're all inspected, even those of us well into middle age, who look exactly what we are, simple middle-aged grandmothers.

In the states, profiling is considered racist, a big problem. It means that those who are more statistically likely to be terrorists won't be checked any more than harmless old ladies like myself.

And there has been another terror topic on the news. The pope made a speech in which he mentioned places that are suffering from terror attacks, wishing that it would end. He left out Israel. Right. His spokesman replied to Israeli criticism that Israel was in the "other places" category, no need to mention it specifically.

The pope doesn't consider the Arab terror in Israel to be important, significant enough to mention. His speech was written by his staff of diplomatic experts and advisors. It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Catholic Church isn't bothered by Arab terror against Israelis and Jews. They weren't bothered by the Nazi murder of six million.

We Jews shouldn't depend on anyone but ourselves. The pope has again reminded us that for him we're just Jews, the people who refuse to accept his religion. Don't forget the Crusades and all the anti-Jewish acts and policies of the church since its founding. Of course, there are individual Catholics and Christians who, without wanting to convert us, do respect us and want us to survive and thrive.

And back to the New Yorkers who now have to display their possessions to a bunch of strangers and get sniffed by dogs looking for explosives. It's really a small price and a good excuse to clean out your bags.

One more week!

Batya In Golus


Esther said...

New Yorkers will adjust. They always do. Granted they'll always gripe about it, but still....... ;) Great post!

Batya said...


some world

T.C. said...

As a Catholic born in Canada of an Italian heritage, I sadly have to agree about the Pope. Israeli's are on their own. Secular organizations like the UN won't help either. We are paralyzed by our own weak inner conspiracy thoughts. The anti-Israel stance is moronic - for a lack of a better word. I agree, New Yorkers will adjust. It's all new to North America. One has to put themselves in the mindset of a North American. It is the new world and it is laced with notions of idealism and ideas. Of opportunity and liberty. Of peace and hope. Terrorists have come knocking and we don't like it.

T.C. said...

I re-read my opening line 'I sadly have to agree about the pope.' By this I don't mean I agree with him but with your assessment regarding his comments.

Batya said...

I wrote this in the summer. Was it the new or previous pope?