Thursday, July 07, 2005


I woke up in the wee hours of the night, feeling uneasy, and went to the closest computer to check the news. BBC was just talking about “power surges” in the Underground, resulting in explosions, but soon they changed their tone and admitted that public transport in London had been hit by explosions. This of course saddened me, but did not really come as a surprise, as the United Kingdom has been very involved in the occupation of Iraq, much more so than Spain, which was the target of a worse act of terrorism on March 11th of last year. As many of us have friends or family in the U.K., today’s news hit home differently. A human life is supposed be equally important everywhere, but news about a similar number of casualties among the Pakistani or Iraqi don’t often even make the front page.

Terrorism is like spying: one side sees these acts as horrendous (which they can be), the other as heroic. Then there are all these ‘ifs’: Would these bombings have happened without the war in Afghanistan and Iraq? Had the Soviet Union not collapsed, would there have been an invasion of Iraq? The answer to both is most likely ‘no’. As bothersome as the Cold War seemed, there was a balance of power. Scores of lives were not lost like during this ‘Hot War’. Korea and Vietnam were, of course, exceptions to this line of logic, but I was mainly thinking of the status quo situation during the last two decades before the Berlin Wall came down.

Again I turn to my dictionary. Terrorize: 1. To fill or overpower with terror; terrify. 2. To coerce or maintain control over by intimidation or fear. The second meaning brings the verb to everyday life. Terrorizing can happen at home, school or workplace. An abusive spouse, partner or parent can traumatize his or her victim(s); so can teachers, co-workers or a boss. A threat to fire a worker and make him/her lose one’s livelihood and health benefits is a form of terrorism. Any threat of physical violence is the same. We all have to face many of these fears almost daily.

Perhaps all these terrible events are part of Nature’s way of bringing down Earth’s human population. This happens with every species, people cannot be an exception. We have new terrible diseases; obesity is lowering our life expectancy; it is possible we are destined for a new worldwide war. I was young when the world’s population reached 3 billion, now it stands at 6.5 billion and will reach 9 billion by 2045, at present growth rate. If every person would enjoy the lifestyle and energy use of an average American, the most our Earth could support is 2 billion. We are heading for a disaster.