What Terror Costs

ni3Fii8In recent days, in Australia, we have seen the largest raids in our history on terror suspects. We have seen tougher anti-terrorism laws introduced and then passed by our senate. Our screens are full of heartbreaking, horrendous, utterly incomprehensible reports of violence by extremists overseas and we hear repeated time and time again that the threat of terrorism against us here is high.

The world feels like it is in turmoil and it’s easy to feel afraid as a result of this. Let’s face it, when we hear that police have found evidence of a credible threat by terrorists on our shores it IS scary.

Lately, because of all that’s been going on here, I’ve been thinking…

What is the real cost of terrorism? Is the cost of terrorism, the threat it makes against the lives of the people we all love? Or is the cost of terrorism much more insidious than that? I’ve seen the news shots of people running for their lives in Iraq, of men handcuffed on front lawns in Sydney, of swords being removed from properties, of the police rushing towards our parliament. I have no words to express my abhorrence of terrorism, but I’ve seen and heard other things too.

I’ve read about the young man who lived through persecution in Afghanistan only to survive and escape to a new life and supposed safety in Australia. Last week his photo was mistakenly plastered over our newspapers as a suspected terrorist and he now fears to leave his house and yet again sees the world as somewhere that is not safe for him or his family. I also heard the news that a local mosque was egged following the terror raids and people being accosted in the street based on their appearance. Hearing these things, I think that the cost of terror is something more than the lives taken by evil people with a faulty ideology.

The real cost of terrorism is something so much more insidious, because it requires our cooperation to be successful. The real cost of terrorism is that it bullies us into changing who we are deep inside. The whole point of terrorism is to induce terror, to make us believe that the world is no longer a safe place for us. Terrorism’s goal is to so fill us with fear, that we abandon our moral compass and do whatever we need to do to feel safe. Terrorism wins, when we let it change us, when we let it dictate to us how we will treat those around us, particularly those who are different to us.

So, we have a decision to make; will we let terrorism do its work? Will we allow the horrendous acts of evil people to change our basic respect for others? Will we allow it to stop us from being kind to people based on difference? Or will we choose respect (regardless of difference)? Will we choose to see others with an open heart (agreeing that everyone needs kindness, friendship and acceptance)? Will we choose to let our moral compass be bigger than our fear so that even if terrorists were to manage to take our lives, they wouldn’t have taken our soul? Let’s be people who refuse to cooperate with terror.



3 thoughts on “What Terror Costs

  1. Nyree

    I’m trying really hard to not let it change me at my core. The idea that someone, anyone, wants to grab a civilian off our street and make a spectacle and religious point of their murder is utterly evil, incomprehensible and 100% unsettling.

    I have no religious view, I just want to live peacefully and raise my beautiful boy in this great nation. I want to feel safe going about my day to day – something that is clearly becoming a point to be completely grateful for- I don’t want to feel like I am on alert that someone might grab me and commit a horrendous act in the name of their religious view.

    I travelled to Canberra this week for work, down and back in a day. I travelled alone like I generally always do. After driving to Sydney i caught my plane and landed in Canberra 55 mins later. Quick and easy. In that 55 mins I had time to read the paper, something I don’t usually have time to do these days.

    The paper was splattered with news of the teenage terrorist in Melbourne, lock down at the army base near home, the release of 15 people arrested in Sydney terror raids and lock down at Parliament House because of a terrorist threat.

    I disembarked the airport to wait for a taxi. I knew where the venue I was presenting at was, but didn’t know how to get there, other than I would be driving past Parliament House.

    The taxi pulled up, I jumped in and let the middle eastern taxi driver know where I needed to go. He couldn’t understand my English…I repeated myself 3 times. He still didn’t understand. I started to feel uneasy, realising I’m a female jumping in a taxi with a man I don’t know, in a city I don’t know. I felt vulnerable, my vulnerability exasperated by the fact this man was becoming agitated because he couldn’t understand me. I felt so genuinely uneasy I got out of the taxi.

    I took another taxi to the venue. Again, another middle eastern man who wouldn’t talk to me, look at me and merely grunted at me when I got in…but at least he knew where I needed to go and would take me there, wouldn’t he? He made a call while he was driving, had a conversation in a language I didn’t understand – what was he saying? I was on hyper alert the whole taxi ride – with all sorts of “what if” thoughts going through my head – reading the paper on the plane, to be informed, had clearly messed with me a little. I felt rattled that I was so affected by the situation.

    I don’t want to look at every middle eastern person and wonder if they are a terrorist – but until I was in the situation, on my own, i had no idea how I would react and how uncomfortable I would feel.

    I am intelligent enough to know that the majority of people are good. I am open to and welcome multi races. I am not a narrow thinker. I am not racist. I am affected by the plight of people living in unsafe countries.

    This week I am trying hard to feel like my world has not changed.

    1. siobhanhewson Post author

      Hi Nyree, thanks for your comment. I love what you have to say, particularly your comment “I am trying hard to feel like my world has not changed”. It does feel like the world has changed at the moment and I think caution and suspicion are very natural responses to the immediate situation. I also love that you say that you “know the majority of people are good”. Thanks for sharing your experience and your thoughts with me.

  2. Marian

    Like your post on terror. I agree we have a choice how we respond to any threat – terrorism, industrial greed or natural disaster. Jesus challenged the vengeful with “Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.” A lot of media hype on terror specific to religion, political, ethical or racial differences increases prejudice. If we get to know our neighbours and community we can discover a more balanced view and breakdown some of these prejudices that have their strength in fear, fed by ignorance and lack of communication. Every community has its extremes. Freedom is only really experienced when we test the boundaries and decide to “love (respect) others as we would have them love (respect) us. The Golden Rule demonstrated by Jesus has made a difference in every generation who have lived this. Freedom has also come at a cost and requires every divine grace to maintain.


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