I spent two rather formative years -- between the ages
of 14 and 16 -- in Morocco. Living there on Air Force
bases, but spending as much of my time as was feasible
in Marrakech or Casablanca because...well...they were
just more interesting, I encountered terrorism long
before most of you had ever heard the word. 

There was little of it in Morocco itself, because *as
a result of terrorism* it had gained its independence
from France some time earlier, but it was a rare cafe
or bar in which I didn't meet people who had seen it
and felt its effects. 

Then I ventured with a friend to Algeria over a long
school holiday, naively telling our parents we were
going elsewhere, but instead (even more naively) head-
ing into a certifiable War Zone. Algeria was still 
fighting for its independence, in a three-sided war 
(the French, the Arab Algerians, and the "Pied Noirs" 
or "black feet" -- third- and fourth-generation 
Europeans who knew that they would be thrown out of 
the country if it gained its independence) that was 
bloody and awful. 

My friend and I were sitting at an outdoor cafe in
Algieria one day when a truck rolled by. It was one
of those trucks with a sheet of canvas covering the
back of it, and as it passed our cafe, the canvas
was thrown back to reveal a tripod-mounted machine
gun, with two guys manning it. It opened fire on
the cafe we were sitting in, and we dived for cover
behind quickly-overturned marble tables, as did the
other patrons.

As it turns out, no one was hit by the flying bullets,
and after the truck passed, my friend and I got up,
righted our table, and looked around. What I saw made
a BIG impression on me. 

The French and Arab patrons sharing the cafe with us
had not even spilled their drinks. They "took them
down with them" when hiding beneath the tables, and
then emerged with them still full after the incident
was over. 

THAT made an impression. 

These people lived with a level of everyday terrorism
that makes the things JohnR and other fearful Americans
worry about pale by comparison. But they *didn't let it
fuck up their day, or change their lifestyles*. 

I have seen the same thing in many other European 
countries I've lived in since. I've been in Paris after
bombs exploded, and watched the city in the days after-
wards. Nothing changed. No one altered their schedules
or adjusted their lifestyles in any way. I've been in
Spain after the train bombing there. Not only did no
one succumb to fear and paranoia, several *million*
people marched in protest, and brought down the govern-
ment that stupidly first tried to blame the attack on 
Basque separatists.

What makes terrorism WORK is becoming TERRORIZED. 

The goal of terrorism is not to kill people. It's to 
instill fear in those who survive, and make them so
fearful that they no longer feel capable of living
their everyday, fulfilling lives in the ways they
want to live them. 

Smart people do not fall for this. Dumb people do. 

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