After Boston, the age of suspicion

Can we be blamed for being wary after what happened and keeps on happening? Photo: Jack engelhard

NEW YORK, April 23, 2013 - I’ll probably get over this fever of suspicion – until at least the next Islamic terror attack – but meanwhile I’ve gotten too skeptical even for my own taste.

Since the capture of those two monsters who committed the atrocity in Boston, we’re being overfed with their names, faces, and their charms. Their schoolmates keep insisting, unanimously, that they were nice kids, just like any regular “Joe College.” Who knew?

Who knew that beneath the surface, these “all-American boys” from Chechnya were smitten with hearts of darkness? Or – as I suggest – maybe their pals did know, but were afraid to say, given the rules of political correctness that govern our college campuses. Would you be the first to blow the whistle?

I did nearly as much and am still hearing about it when I wrote, “Suppose by their own (hateful) words and (malicious) deeds they turn you into a bigot?”

So, with Boston on my mind, along with many Americans I have grown some fresh skin of wariness that includes the following:

We have become suspicious of men who come to America with names that cannot be pronounced without buying a vowel.

We have become suspicious of “students” from Saudi Arabia who, by the increasing thousands, are given special visas to come here to “study.”

(Most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudis.)

We have become suspicious of Palestinian Arabs who, in the pretext of diversity, keep getting invited here with scholarships unavailable to citizens. They come from places like Gaza and Ramallah that celebrate terrorism and cheer even as we weep over our losses.  

We have become suspicious of people who come here and refuse to speak our language.

We have become suspicious of ourselves for turning to xenophobia. But aren’t we entitled to exercise caution and a measure of outrage? We didn’t start this. Many of us have neighbors and co-workers who are practicing Muslims and who are loyal and steadfast Americans at the same time, and it is through their friendship that we will begin to ease from our mistrust, but meanwhile…

We became suspicious when Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was beheaded in Pakistan.

We have become suspicious of cabbies in Manhattan and elsewhere who are always on their cell phones talking to someone in a country that ends with “stan.”

We have become suspicious of the mosques and that have begun to tower over our churches from big cities to the heartland.

We get suspicious (and worried) every time we hear the following whispered or shouted — “Allah Akbar.”

We get suspicious, as reminded by Daniel Pipes, when we see women in their burqas and niqabs.

We have become suspicious and weary of political correctness, and of those who empathize and understand what motivates killers.

To understand is to justify.

We have become suspicious of academics who muzzle any talk about the threat we face, even as it stares us in the face.

We have become suspicious of professors and lawmakers who can’t find the needle in the haystack – and are so blind they can’t even find the haystack of intolerance and extremism.

We have become suspicious of commentators who expect us to believe that Jihad is a term used for conciliation, rather than holy war.

We get suspicious when we’re told that poverty causes all this hatred and violence, when in fact most terrorism comes from the affluent. Osama bin Laden was among the wealthiest men on earth, and the two cuddly and lovable Chechens were, after all, pampered College Boys.

We have become suspicious of anyone who comes here under the age of 30.

We have become suspicious of anyone who comes here over the age of 30.

We have become suspicious of anyone who comes into this country, period.

So it goes when through their words and deeds they turn our guileless innocence into mistrust and suspicion.

 

Jack Engelhard, a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, his memoir Escape From Mount Moriah, and Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist, Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer, brings his words to the Communities page covering all topics, with special focus on the absurdity of human behavior and reaches around the globe.

Read more Jack Engelhard, A Novelist’s View of the World


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Jack Engelhard

Jack Engelhard enjoys international fame as a novelist for such moral dilemma bestsellers as The Bathsheba Deadline, The Girls of Cincinnati, and the classic Indecent Proposal, which was turned into film starring Robert Redford and Demi Moore. His memoir Escape From Mount Moriah has been acclaimed for excellence and a movie version was an official selection at CANNES. Slot Attendant – A Novel About A Novelist is Engelhard’s partly autobiographical expose about the trials of making it as a writer. Engelhard’s journalism covers all topics, with special focus on  the absurdity of human behavior, and reaches around the globe. He can be contacted at www.jackengelhard.com

 

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