This September will be the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers: the tenth anniversary of, in effect, the "War on Terror".
Not longer after the 9/11 attacks, there was a Richard Curtis film called Love Actually (2003). This film referenced the post 9/11 environment in many ways, including a populist scene where the ever-so-nice British Prime Minister shows plucker in standing up to the ever-so-beastly US President. (I remember this defiance being clapped in the London cinema.) There is also a vomit-worthy voiceover by the supposed Prime Minister saying how we are all joined together with bonds of love.
But it is another scene in that film which I think, all these years later, is more significant for the "War on Terror". In one of the final scenes, the boy-stalker Sam runs and dodges through airport security to say good bye to the object of his affections. It is a fun, slapstick sequence.
And it took place in a film released just two years after 9/11. At the time it was just about credible.
However, ten years after 9/11, we all know what would happen to such a boy at such an airport.
He would be shot dead.
The constant ramping up of security since 2001 has made the UK and the USA illiberal and often dangerous places.
But, with a couple of exceptions, there have been no further acts of terrorism in the UK and USA since 2001; but the grind of anti-terrorism carries on.
It is almost as if anti-terrorism is getting worse the less we terrorism we have.
I was brought up in the Birmingham of the 1970s, where everyone knew someone who had been in the city centre when the pub bombs went off. A friend was in Deal when the barracks were bombed. Another friend's mother worked in Harrods when that bomb went off.
In the 1970s and 1980s, the British mainland was under constant threat from terrorism; the news of another incident sometimes did not even make the top item on that evening's news.
In a way, the fact there was actual terrorism helped keep day-to-day things in proportion; people just carried on.
But since 9/11, with a couple of exceptions, there has been little actual terrorism, and against this silence, anti-terrorism is getting out of proportion.
And it will carry on getting more excessive, more intrusive, more restrictive: making our society as a whole worse off than if the terrorists had actually been more active.
Anti-terrorism is now an end in itself; a version of Orwell's boot stamping on a human face forever; the policy of O'Brien seeking power and control simply for its own sake.
What is happening to our society is not because of terrorism; it is because those who wish to exercise and extend power have found a perfect excuse in terrorism.
Don't we know there is a "War on Terrorism" on?
Yes, still on, some ten years later.
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