We’ve all seen it. The older woman who turns to her friends and says, “she has (and then in a very quiet voice), cancer.” It’s that old belief that saying it makes it more dangerous. That the devastation it brings is so bad that to speak its name makes it even more threatening. Sound familiar? It should. It’s just another example of the comparisons between modern day terrorism and the dreaded disease that is cancer.
The comparisons to cancer are nothing new. It’s a negative force growing within that if ignored will likely kill the body. Terrorism, just like cancer starts small and grows larger and larger. It finds other parts of the body, healthy parts, and takes over. It can grow rapidly or slowly but it doesn’t stop growing on its own. It causes great pain or death. All these similarities are spoken of often. The most recent similarity is the one that might be the most dangerous. That being the unwillingness to acknowledge its existence.
The woman who quietly whispers the word “cancer” is hoping that if she doesn’t say the word it might go away. When asked recently why people are so reluctant to call terrorism by its name, my answer was that I believe it is based on the fear of giving it more life. Some people believe if you don’t call it terrorism, it isn’t terrorism, or even if it is, it might go away on its own. Well that ain’t happening my friends.
If it was an indignant confrontation of the enemy I would be supportive of the approach. My ex wife said that one of the reasons she defeated Stage 4 ovarian cancer was that she never was willing to believe it would actually kill her. If we wish to take that approach, not only towards cancer but towards terrorism as well, I am totally in favor of it. There’s a difference between not giving it the power to defeat us and trying to convince ourselves it doesn’t exist. If we allow the world and our leaders to remain silent and not call it what it is, an actual assault on the free world, the cancer that is terrorism may just grow out of control and become impossible to eradicate. If however we acknowledge its existence and call it by its name with a strong and powerful voice as opposed to a quiet whisper, our chances of defeating it become much better.
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