In World War 1, the troops in the trenches used to say that their number was on the enemy’s bullet or it wasn’t. Some escaped the bullets but not the shrapnel, British Lieutenant Henry Shrapnel’s diabolic invention in 1785, and were killed without ever “going over the top”. The French became fatalistic in 1914 and once again in 1939.
The “war” we are engaged in today with terrorism has led many to put their hopes in military bombardments abroad and increased security measures at home. But we all know that neither can provide effective protection against the explosion that can happen in any airport, church or supermarket – or against the individual terrorist who has decided to slit our throat. For some the only real hope is in prayer, though experience has proven that, more often than not, even that does not seem to work . . . Whence the resignation we call fatalism.
“Destiny” and “fate” are constructs we have invented. “It was his destiny to become the leader who could save his country”. “As cruel fate would have it, he found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time”. Fatalism, however, makes a certain amount of sense. It does not mean despair or refusing to marshal the means and make the effort to protect ourselves. But whatever we do, we will remain in harm’s way. Better to accept the fact, do what we can to avoid exposing ourselves to risk as much as possible, but not allow ourselves to be terrorized into radically changing our life-style. We must not permit terrorists to put us into a straight jacket or submit us into a fortress mentality. We must, on the contrary, increase our efforts to destroy the radicalism which will continue to threaten and ultimately destroy us, unless we implement the media-blitz which I have proposed to expose the inhuman absurdity of religious fanaticism.
D E L E N D A R E L I G I O