Yoda thinks Bin Laden is winning

This article is cloaked under a semi-funny title, but it is actually a pretty serious topic… Just a warning.

I want to talk about what makes us who we are for a minute. I will try to keep it to the point. Here is the premise: we have a few fundamental values that define us, as western societies. Freedom, equality, fairness… These are the ideas that world defining documents like the French “Human Rights Declaration” and the American Bill of Rights were written to protect. And the moment we start losing them, we start losing our soul. We start turning to “the dark side”.

Here comes the sadly funny part: millions of us have watched the Star Wars movies, and we’ve all heard the wise reflexion of the old green little Jedi master guy.

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”

Everyone knows that line. Yet no one seems to understand how it relates to the attacks of September 11th 2001. Are you afraid? Are you sacrificing what they attacked you for? Then you are giving “them” what they wanted in the first place.

Indeed, this is how they win. They don’t win by killing us; they’ll never kill us all. Or even, as horrible as it sounds, they’ll never kill “enough” of us. They aren’t the nazis, they simply don’t have the military might to wipe us out. Instead, they win by making us afraid (terrorism, anyone?) and letting that fear make us do things like sacrificing what most precious thing we hold.

I’ll stop here; I don’t want to turn this article into a political debate. What I would like, rather, is that next time someone tells you the fight against terror demands you sacrifice a little part of your freedom, ask yourself this:

“Am I agreeing because it’s an appropriate response?
Or am I letting fear and anger dictate the answer?”

If it’s the latter, you’re turning into Darth Vader, and the Bin Laden is grinning in his cave…

We are nowhere near “defeat” here. I know we are still “ourselves”. But I think the horror of years past might have taken us on a dangerous path, and it’s never to early to realize it. They hate us for our freedom, we keep hearing. And it’s true. And we shouldn’t surrender our freedom to anyone… Especially not them.

October 28th, 2008