[ilds] The Nature of Terrorism

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Sat Aug 11 11:26:05 PDT 2007

> Indeed. The following extract from Bitter Lemons on the nature of 
> terrorism should, perhaps, be compulsory reading for American, British 
> and Australian security organisations - CIA, MI5 or 6, ASIO in our case.
> /"one needs about a month to catch the particular flavour of terrorism 
> which is made up of quite intangible fears - feet running down a road 
> at midnight, a silent man in a white shirt standing at a street corner 
> holding a bicycle too small for him, a parked car with no lights, a 
> factory door ajar, the flick of a torch in a field. terrorism infects 
> the normal transactions of life. The horror of deliberate murder, or 
> ambush or grenade, is at least purging - the pity and the terror are 
> in them, and the conciseness of actions which can be met. But the evil 
> genius of terrorism is suspicion- the man who stops and asks for a 
> light, a cart with a broken axle signalling for help, a forrester 
> standing alone among trees, three youths walking back to a village 
> after sundown, a sheperd shouting something indistinctly heard by 
> moonlight, the sudden pealing of a doorbell in the night. The slender 
> chain of trust upon which all human relations are based is broken - 
> and this the terrorist knows and sharpens his claws precisely here: 
> for is primary object is not battle. It is to bring upon the community 
> in general a reprisal for his wrongs, in the hope that the fury and 
> resentment roused by punishment meted out to the innocent will 
> gradually swell the ranks of those from whom he will draw further 
> recruits."/
> // 
> /To use an Australian expression "How good is this?!"/

I will offer that this is very good prose, indeed, David.  Like a small 
stash of snapshots suddenly found, each image calls into being 
storylines that go far beyond the immediate frame.  Thanks for 
highlighting it.  I will let others with greater insights take on the 

Crossing the Cumberland Plateau, headed for Carbondale--


Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

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