The Language of Terror

Glenn Fairman
It would take the foulest of all the black ironies entertained by the human imagination to place ball-bearing packed bombs at the finish line of our beloved Boston Marathon. Instead of celebrating the swiftest and sturdiest legs that are the crowning virtue of champions, we are mourning the loss of life and the compounded mass amputation of those legs as the result of a gravely sick evil conjured within minds that will no longer admit antiseptic light. Just why a twisted cabal of demonic wraiths would desire to make their political statement in this fashion is perhaps impenetrable to the mass of men who live their lives in relative peace.

As I write, these villainous furtive identities remain cloaked. But whosoever they should turn out to be, are they unaware that they could never evangelize sane minds to consider the illegitimate urgency of their dark politics? It is impossible to vindicate a rationale that could serve to illuminate that outer darkness -- a bleak and starless cause which would demand innocent blood as sacrifice to some distorted purpose. But such rhetoric is for them no longer necessary. The perpetrators have spoken loud and clear and have made their statement -- and it is couched in the stench of nihilism and the language of guerilla war. It is enough for us to know that such moral/political sickness proceeds hand in hand and is in fact identical with the barbarous language of terror.

As it has been so deftly said, the terrorist is determined to give your all for the sake of his cause. But know this: the hand that resorts to terror, whether it pulls the trigger of a gun at a grocer's temple or aims a jetliner into a skyscraper, is in truth set into motion by the cynic's brutal logic: for it has thoroughly despaired of itself and the world. In diving headlong into the sulfur-ridden abyss of self, where he would ransom crooked delusions with naked power, the terrorist hopes to purchase with bloodstained hands what he could not forge through rhetoric and reason. By unleashing a terrible beast that thrashes and tears wildly, he justifies the infliction of abject pain and human misery as hearty progress towards his ends -- all the while only vaguely aware that something within his being is long since dead. To give meaning and to overcome this existential numbness of anguish and despair, he must mutilate, murder, and orphan in service to a flag or a god that will never bring him comfort -- no matter how far into the labyrinth he is willing to descend. And this is his reward.

In the months and years before us, we shall hear of atrocities that will scald all credulity. Doubtless we shall encounter wars and rumors of them and horrors so abject that our hearts should fail in their contemplation. The vernacular of terror is one we will come to know most intimately and its lexicon is symptomatic of an age where the fanatic's hopes will not be denied -- even if they must take their sustenance in the blood and tears of little children torn apart in shrapnel on a day when the living rejoice in overcoming the limits of one's body. The terrorist is darkly aware of this joy in others; but as he has forsworn ever returning to the abode of the living, death is the only language left for him to understand.

Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca. He blogs as The Eloquent Professor at http://www.palookavillepost.com/and can be contacted at arete5000@dslextreme.com.

It would take the foulest of all the black ironies entertained by the human imagination to place ball-bearing packed bombs at the finish line of our beloved Boston Marathon. Instead of celebrating the swiftest and sturdiest legs that are the crowning virtue of champions, we are mourning the loss of life and the compounded mass amputation of those legs as the result of a gravely sick evil conjured within minds that will no longer admit antiseptic light. Just why a twisted cabal of demonic wraiths would desire to make their political statement in this fashion is perhaps impenetrable to the mass of men who live their lives in relative peace.

As I write, these villainous furtive identities remain cloaked. But whosoever they should turn out to be, are they unaware that they could never evangelize sane minds to consider the illegitimate urgency of their dark politics? It is impossible to vindicate a rationale that could serve to illuminate that outer darkness -- a bleak and starless cause which would demand innocent blood as sacrifice to some distorted purpose. But such rhetoric is for them no longer necessary. The perpetrators have spoken loud and clear and have made their statement -- and it is couched in the stench of nihilism and the language of guerilla war. It is enough for us to know that such moral/political sickness proceeds hand in hand and is in fact identical with the barbarous language of terror.

As it has been so deftly said, the terrorist is determined to give your all for the sake of his cause. But know this: the hand that resorts to terror, whether it pulls the trigger of a gun at a grocer's temple or aims a jetliner into a skyscraper, is in truth set into motion by the cynic's brutal logic: for it has thoroughly despaired of itself and the world. In diving headlong into the sulfur-ridden abyss of self, where he would ransom crooked delusions with naked power, the terrorist hopes to purchase with bloodstained hands what he could not forge through rhetoric and reason. By unleashing a terrible beast that thrashes and tears wildly, he justifies the infliction of abject pain and human misery as hearty progress towards his ends -- all the while only vaguely aware that something within his being is long since dead. To give meaning and to overcome this existential numbness of anguish and despair, he must mutilate, murder, and orphan in service to a flag or a god that will never bring him comfort -- no matter how far into the labyrinth he is willing to descend. And this is his reward.

In the months and years before us, we shall hear of atrocities that will scald all credulity. Doubtless we shall encounter wars and rumors of them and horrors so abject that our hearts should fail in their contemplation. The vernacular of terror is one we will come to know most intimately and its lexicon is symptomatic of an age where the fanatic's hopes will not be denied -- even if they must take their sustenance in the blood and tears of little children torn apart in shrapnel on a day when the living rejoice in overcoming the limits of one's body. The terrorist is darkly aware of this joy in others; but as he has forsworn ever returning to the abode of the living, death is the only language left for him to understand.

Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca. He blogs as The Eloquent Professor at http://www.palookavillepost.com/and can be contacted at arete5000@dslextreme.com.