Boston, My Family and ‘Root Causes’

Shortly after 9/11, I went down to Boston. A family member — and a Bostonian — by the name of Danny Lewin had been murdered fighting terrorists on American Airlines Flight #11. The flight, originating in Boston, was the first to be smashed into the World Trade Center. I had gone down to Boston to be with Danny’s wife, children and siblings. Several years later, some fragments of Danny were located, and I flew to Boston once again — this time for a funeral. Today, Danny’s family and the rest of Boston remain in lockdown. Here are a few thoughts about Boston:

  • A major American city has been closed down by two terrorists. Neither mass murder, nor perhaps any other form of “ordinary” violent crime represents a threat to an entire city of millions requiring the complete cessation of public life. Nine thousand men are involved in the manhunt. The danger to the city is real, because the threat targets far more than the specific individuals felled by the bombs and bullets. It is not about numbers. It is about terrorism.
  • The terrorists involved have been described as “Russians” from Chechnya. Hmm. Perhaps Putin’s offer to help the U.S. investigate is more “interesting” than cynical.
  • Whether an organization or ideology is behind this will eventually become clear. But whatever the motivation, many millions of people across the globe who openly identify with radical anti-Western ideologies will think this event to be “understandable” — if not both laudable and possibly worthy of emulation. These multitudes cannot be dismissed as simply “sick” minds, as our pundits would have us believe. And unlike our commentators in the West, adherents of these ideologies never consider such slaughters .” That is a word we use — because it makes us feel better and safer to dismiss this all as simply a function of deranged criminals rather than conviction, education and, at times, state policy.
  • Undoubtedly, as events continue to unfold in Boston, terrorists across the globe are dreaming of their own future escapades in killing and terror. After all, it takes so little to hurt so much. It does not require a nuclear device, anthrax, collapsing skyscrapers or hundreds of dead in derailed and incinerated trains.
  • So maybe, rather than pondering the “root causes” of this particular event, as some have suggested, our society should explore the “root causes” of our inability to look this phenomenon straight in the eye and address it for what it is. The events in Boston are shocking but not in the least bit surprising, given the openness of western democracies and the well-oiled machines of hatred that are funded, promoted and legitimized — even by countries we embrace as allies.
  • There is never a ceasefire in this battle. Never. There is only the illusion of quiet between slaughters. We at C-CAT have no illusions. We will continue fighting — against those who commit these acts, those who fund them, those who apologize for them, and those who rewrite them in order to serve another personal or political agenda.

Much thanks to you all for sticking with us in the fight for realism against an enemy that dreams to commit the imaginable.


 

Danny Eisen is the Cofounder of Canadian Coalition Against Terror (C-CAT)