Neither dead nor alive, the hostage is suspended by an incalculable outcome. It is not his destiny that awaits for him, nor his own death, but anonymous chance, which can only seem to him something absolutely arbitrary. He is in a state of radical emergency, of virtual extermination.
We are all hostages, and we are all terrorists. This circuit has replaced that other one of masters and slaves, the dominating and the dominated, the exploiters and the exploited. It is worse than the one it replaces, but at least it liberates us from liberal nostalgia and the ruses of history.
Terrorist are picadors and matadors. They prick the bull until it bleeds and is blinded by rage, then they snap the red cape of bloody terror in its face. The bull charges again and again until, exhausted, it can charge no more. Then the matador, though smaller and weaker, drives the sword into the soft spot between the shoulder blades of the bull. For the bull has failed to understand that the snapping cape was but a provocation to goad it into attacking and exhausting itself for the kill.
-Patrick J. Buchanan Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency (St. Martin
We will starve terrorists of funding, turn them one against another, drive them from place to place, until there is no refuge or no rest. And we will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.
-George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People, United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., September 20, 2001
Over time it's going to be important for nations to know they will be held accountable for inactivity. You're either with us or against us in the fight against terror.
note: a Quoteland visitor suggests that in this statement President Bush was inadvertantly quoting the Bible: He that is not with me is against me... (Matthew 12: vs. 30 and Luke 11: vs. 23); Quoteland agrees :)
-George W. Bush joint news conference with French President Jacques Chirac (reported by CNN.com), November 6, 2001
Too many people in the American media have lost any concept of loyalty to their country -- if they even consider it their country, rather than just their residence. Yeah, that's right, I'm playing the patriotism card. But not the way you think. Our country is at war. And it's a war in which victory absolutely depends on the Muslim world perceiving it as a war between the U.S and its allies on one side, and fanatical murderous terrorists on the other. If it is ever perceived as a war against Islam, then we have lost. The world has lost. So during such a difficult time, even people who think the Iraq War or even the whole war on terror is a horrible mistake still have an obligation of loyalty to the nation that offers them protection, prosperity, and freedom.
Terrorism is a biological consequence of the multinationals, just as a day of fever is the reasonable price of an effective vaccine . . . The conflict is between great powers, not between demons and heroes. Unhappily, therefore, is the nation that finds the heroes underfoot, especially if they still think in religious terms and involve the population in their bloody ascent to an uninhabited paradise.
-Umberto Eco from Travels in Hyperreality Striking at the Heart of the State, 1978
Any power must be an enemy of mankind which enslaves the individual by terror or force, whether it arises under a facets government or communist flag. All that is valuable in human society depends upon the opportunity for development accorded to the individual.
By abrogating all moral standards in their war against Israel, Arab and Muslim leaders initiated a process of moral collapse that has ended by soaking their own societies in blood. The terror they intended to inflict only upon others has rebounded with a hundred times greater horror upon their own lands.
If you want to humble an empire it makes sense to maim its cathedrals. They are symbols of its faith, and when they crumple and burn, it tells us we are not so powerful and we can't be safe. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, planted at the base of Manhattan island with the Statue of Liberty as their sentry, and the Pentagon, a squat, concrete fort on the banks of the Potomac, are the sanctuaries of money and power that our enemies may imagine define us. But that assumes our faith rests on what we can buy and build, and that has never been America's true God.
-Nancy Gibbs Time, Sept. 12, 2001 Special Report: The Day of the Attack, "Time"
Hostage is a crucifying aloneness. It is a silent, screaming slide into the bowels of ultimate despair. Hostage is a man hanging by his fingernails over the edge of chaos, feeling his fingers slowly straightening. Hostage is the humiliating stripping away of every sense and fiber of body and mind and spirit that make us what we are. Hostage is a mutant creation filled with fear, self-loathing, guilt and death-wishing. But he is a man, a rare, unique and beautiful creation of which these things are no part.
If I were to be taken hostage, I would not plead for release nor would I want my government to be blackmailed. I think certain government officials, industrialists and celebrated persons should make it clear they are prepared to be sacrificed if taken hostage. If that were done, what gain would there be for terrorists in taking hostages?
The other major issue you have no doubt heard about the decision to build a fence between Israel and the palestinians. There is no doubt in my mind that a fence will be built, political pressure are too heavy to resist. There is also no doubt that it will be ineffectual. Every day thousands of Palestinians enter Israel illegally. The vast majority seek work. The tide of humanity will overwhelm the fence and its guardians. Terrorists will follow in their path.
For the barbarians were not only at our gates but within our skins. We were our own wooden horses, each one of us full of our own doom. ....these fanatics or those, or crazies or yours; but the explosions burst out of our very own bodies. We were both the bombers and the bombs. The explosions were our own evil - no need to look for foriegn explanations, though there was and is evil beyond our frontiers as well as within. We have chopped away our own legs, we engineered our own fall. And now we can only weep, at the last, for what we were too enfeebled, too corrupt, too little, too contemptable to defend.
-Carl Sagan Contact, Part I : The Message, Ch. 2, Coherent Light, 1985
Freeing hostages is like putting up a stage set, which you do with the captors, agreeing on each piece as you slowly put it together; then you leave an exit through which both the captor and the captive can walk with sincerity and dignity.