Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How Terrorism Ended (A Parable)

The year is 2093. Grandmother is sitting with her two grandchildren, the girl, aged nine and the boy, who is twelve. The twelve-year old is sitting with his Edu-device, reading about the turn of the 21st century. His brow is furrowed. Grandmother leans over to see what the boy is reading.

"Ah," says Grandmother, picking up the device. "Ah, yes -- ISIS; the Taliban. We learned about that in history class, as well. Horrible thing, was terrorism. I saw none of it, but my father watched it end. Odd that they are teaching you about terrorism in school again. I thought they had stopped that."

Grandfather, who is a Vidteacher, comes into the room and hands Grandmother a cup of coffee. "They did," he says. "But, the Curriculum Minister said it would be safe to put back in, now that all is well. Now that the Global Harmony has been in place for so long."

"Why did they take teaching about terrorism out of Vidschool?" asks the boy.

"Terrorism stopped," Grandmother said, "when the International Board of Journalists met one day in 2050 and came to an agreement. They decided to stop covering terrorism, altogether; no more stories on the Internet; no more video-coverage. Even independent video sites agreed to stop publishing amateur videos by or about terrorists. They went completely silent on the subject. Some say it was one of the most noble acts in history; the journalists gave up monetary reward in exchange for depriving terrorists of the very thing they desired: attention. Vidschools across the globe followed suit."

"Others say it was an affront to the Constitution," says Grandfather. "Still, the journalists did this themselves. There was never a governmental ban. At least, not until the Curriculum Minister took the subject out of brick-and-mortar schools in the 30s and then kept it out of Vidschool, altogether."

"Like President Gorland said: 'If we don't block out the dark parts of history, we are doomed to repeat them.'" Grandmother looked sad. "It worked. Still..."

There is a long pause.

"What, Grandmother," says the boy.

"I do get quite bored, now. Everyone is so damned harmonious."

"Well," says Grandfather, chuckling, taking a sip of coffee. "I hear they are now considering a ban on the mention of race in news reports. They think it may do for racism what it did for terrorism."

"Do you think it will work?" asks the granddaughter, who has been silently wringing her hands. She is a nervous child. Her skin is the color of coffee with a little cream.

Grandmother, who is white, looks into the eyes of Grandfather, who is black. They both sip their from their cups.

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