If you think that you have just one life, think again. There's the life you think you have, the life others think you have and the life you really have- three lives!

Monday, January 08, 2007

Fearing Fear

I'm in the middle of writing an article on the fear of terrorism based on my research and I find myself reflecting on my own feelings here.

Just to put it into context: the project that I'm working on looks at how people are responding to the new era of increased security and global terrorism. We've found that people are adopting both preventative and protective behaviours. Preventative behaviours means that people avoid circumstances that they think are dangerous such as air travel or using public transport. Protective behaviours means that people are taking measures to protect themselves in circumstances that they are dangerous. For most this means being more wary and taking more note of their surroundings on airplanes, buses and in public places.

So I started thinking about myself. Have my behaviours changed? Do I now avoid certain situations? Am I more suspicious of people on airplanes? Do I get nervous around unattended baggage?

To be honest- I really can't say that I have done any of those things. And now I'm wondering why.

For a start, I don't believe that there is a huge terrorist threat to Australia. I guess for me that terrorism is still something that happens in other places. I often joke about the fact that if the terrorists were to launch a 9/11 style attack on my home town they would probably fly a plane into the Bell Tower and that most people here would welcome the destruction of such an ugly eyesore.
See for yourself:

Looks like a cockroach hey!

The Bell Tower is the legacy of one of our former Premiers (head of State Government) and each time I look at this phallic symbol I cannot help but think that he must have a very very small dick!

I also think that because I'm an unrecognisable Muslim (in the sense that I do not wear hijab) that I also don't have a sense of fear of backlash or vilification from some members of the broader community that some Muslims have. I know a few people who stopped going to public places because they were worried that they might be attacked after 9/11, Bali and London. Won't catch me doing that. Actually there is almost nothing in this world that would prevent me from going shopping.

But perhaps the biggest reason why I haven't changed my behaviours in any way is that I've never really been one to avoid situations that others might see as dangerous. I have a strong belief that when it is your time to go it is your time to go- whether that is in a car accident, through terminal illness, plane crash, or while bungee jumping. There's nothing that you can do about it. I was on a plane once with a friend who got really nervous and scared when we hit some turbulence. I mean she was really panicking and I just couldn't understand it. I kept thinking 'well, if this is it, this is it. No use wasting my energy on panicking about it."

I'm more worried about my kids being in a dangerous situation than myself which is I often tell them "don't try this when I'm not looking because I promise you I will find out and you will be grounded for life".

Don't know if any of that makes sense. Perhaps I need to think some more about it. Perhaps I really do have a subconscious fear that I'm not aware of. Perhaps I need to get in touch with my inner fear!


USpace said...

Good stuff, keep thinking...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
have bombers wear burqas

USpace said...

Good stuff, keep thinking...

absurd thought -
God of the Universe says
have bombers wear burqas

The Raccoon said...

Heh. Fear is your friend. It's there to keep you alive, basically - I see it as a useful resource to be harvested, refined and utilized.

And yes, we all die in the end - nothing is permanent. But a bit of caution increases your chances of living a few extra years - and who knows, nowadays, maybe in these few years a way will be found to make sure you live even MORE extra years!

Just imagine all the shopping you will be able to do in 'em... or all the garbage you'll find and taste, if that tickles your fancy :)

So I will not avoid flying. But if I see a large unattended bag in a shopping mall or on a bus station, I will call security.

Even in Australia. Why bother with a 9/11 when you can terrorize a country by spending less than 1000$ to plant 20 bombs that would kill hundreds of people and terrorize millions?

You have any idea how cheap and easy it is to cook C3? If I was a terrorist in Australia, I would not do something stupid like going for the Sydney nuclear plant - I'd just derail 50 trains almost simultaneously and leave IEDs hidden near the wreck sites. Thousands of dead Aussies - 0 dead terrorists.

Luckily, most terrorists are obsessed with symbolism and their own version of honor.

The Usual Suspect said...

You are absolutely right about the symbolism- it's kind of bizarre isn't it.

The thing is the kind of people who carry out small scale attacks are usually neo-terrorist and not very smart or well organised so they have even less chance of succeeding in causing large scale damage.
A few have tried but security is on the them.