Another time, another attack. This time, no one dead, no one wounded except the bomber, but the fear is always the same fear that upsets every city in the world after a terrorist attack; a fear that however in New York has a different meaning, perhaps more cruel.
Well, just a few weeks ago we talked about a jihadist terrorist attack, asymmetric and isolated as my colleagues and I would say, with a truck racing into the people of Manhattan and the man, yet another who became ultra-radicalized online, attacking the crowd screaming “Allah Akbar.”
We know New York is a city that goes fast and never stops, let alone intimidate. But there is something in this attack that stands out more than usual, the way we talk about it. The normality of being under attack. The assurance that we will not respond. The banality of evil that shows itself unstoppable and in all its essence, coining the words of a giant of thought, Hannah Arendt.
As a person who works every day to keep this country, our values and our democracy safe and secure, this attack does not surprise me. Of course, I am impressed to see the Port Authority Terminal under siege. Those docks, where hundreds of times I have taken the bus, full of SWAT agents, those dusty tunnels that connect and intertwine like arteries in the heart of the city, that eighth avenue partially closed to the senseless December traffic of New York. But this explosion doesn’t shock me.
I don’t remember how many times I took the subway and upon reaching my destination looked at the backpacks of those around me. How many times I thought “and if someone had a bomb?”That bomb exploded today. A pipe bomb in technical jargon, a rudimentary bomb that can be built with less than ten dollars and with a deflagration that can have devastating effects. Exploding in advance, probably because the bomber had incorrectly installed the wire system connecting the explosive to the primer, the bomb did not do too much damage. But it leaves us with many questions that need to be answered.
Why this escalation of attacks in the sanctuary city of America? Why is this new generation of migrants coming from countries with a Muslim majority, welcomed with open arms by American democracy and the West in general, raised in unquestionable freedom in the shadow of the Empire State Building, now mercilessly attacking those who welcomed them? And, again, what will happen in the near future?
It is impossible to say, but perhaps it is not difficult to imagine, a continuum of this strategy of tension. And, no more talk about Trump’s decision on Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, they attacked us first and attack us now.
Perhaps, the only thing that really matters is to calmly deal with ourselves as a Western civilization. Ask us questions, honestly answer, think about the future with farsightedness and reasoning. What brought us welcoming anyone at all costs? What led us to open, indiscriminately, the doors of our house to all those who knocked? How much is this fake multiculturalism costing us, because I don’t find any culture in killing people, in terms of security and freedom?
Here, these and many others, are the questions that instinctively come to mind. Unfortunately, I am aware that in a society in the grip of political correctness and fear, we will hardly be able to find answers worthy of the state of terror in which we are living.
But a thought pervades me. When I arrived in America, now some time ago, I told myself I would give my best for this land full of freedom and generous opportunities for each of us. I decided to do a job at the service of this country and its ideals, I decided to fight terror. Today, on the sidelines of the umpteenth jihadist attack in the heart of Manhattan, accomplished by a young migrant like me, I ask myself “Are we sure everyone deserves to live in a free country, big and just like ours?” At least I don’t have doubts about this answer. No, not everyone has the right to be able to enjoy this land blessed by God.
The freedom in which we immerse ourselves daily is increasingly at risk and only a new age of reason – with consequent awareness of the drama we are living and of the difficult choices we have to make to survive the jihadists – can save today’s West from the terrorist madness and, perhaps, even a little from himself.
I go back to my work, I look at a t-shirt hanging in my studio with the words “I Love NY.” That heart shaped like a big apple today cries, like the heart of all those who love freedom.