So I did a post a few weeks back about terrorism and of all my recent posts, it seems to have been a bit of a hit. It’s not my usual fare… normally I try to be happy and generally chirpy… which is sort of funny as those who know me in person know I can be a bit angry. Lately, I think I’m one of the angriest people I know.
I’m a cold war kid. I was born in 1976. (Oh God! Now you know how old I am. ) I remember when the biggest fear we had were nukes. Everywhere was in a hurry to label itself a nuclear free zone and ban the bomb. Because that would absolutely have stopped someone from using a nuke on us. There is Andropov… finger on the button… about to render Vancouver down to black glass… and his finger stills. “No!” he exclaims as he pulls his finger back at the last minute. “I cannot do that. Vancouver is a No-Nukes Zone!”
We were so afraid of this. In my little school in 1986, we had Nuclear War drills. I kid thee not. But it was a nebulous sort of fear. Movies came out like Threads (my older sister had to watch it in class) and The Day After. But did we really think it was going to happen? I didn’t.
When the Berlin Wall fell, I was 13. I remember it vividly. I woke up (we were 9 hours behind Berlin) and my father was watching TV. He NEVER did that. I think he said something along the lines of ‘The world just changed.’ It was fantastic.
Then we started worrying about Russian Nukes being sold to people like Gaddafi or Saddam Hussein… because they were the new bad guys. (Seriously… can we have those bad guys back? Saddam was secular and Gaddafi in later years was always good for a head shake. They were almost comic book bad guys. Larger than life. Was I ever afraid of Gaddafi? I can assure you not. Did I worry about him getting and using a nuke? I think he was too smart for that. He supported terrorism in the 90s, but I think his spanking by Clinton reminded him that he didn’t want to have a nuke landing on him.
Then the world changed again.
I won’t deny that our actions since then haven’t added to the problem. A lot of stable, secular leaders who were not the nicest of people have been deposed since then and look what we have now? Instability and a lot of very bad people brainwashing others into doing very bad things for the promise of paradise.
I think what Europeans, in particular, are feeling is terror. Those of you who know me know that I’ve spent many years living in Europe. Many friends and work colleagues are still over there. They are natives. It’s their home. I hear it. I feel it.
Lets look at what Wikipedia calls the European ‘Wave of Terror‘.
I keep reading pundits who say that this is to be the new normal. We need to just suck it up and get on with things. I think that is utter insanity. How can people even suggest that? Europe has a huge problem and they are clearly not looking for a solution.
Back when I was a little nipper and we were a we were afraid of mushroom clouds and chanting “NO NUKES,” we didn’t think that one was going to fall out of the sky that minute. I have friends in Paris who are hunkering down and worried that the next time they go out for a glass of wine in a cafe, that might be it.
So what do we do? Please? Can we not put our greatest minds towards fixing this problem? Perhaps the Europe I lived in was a powder keg, but it generally felt safe to be there. Now? I’m not so sure.