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Article ID: 6221
Age Group: Adult
Posted: March 17th. 2003
Behind Enemy Lines
Remember the 'new normal' that we were all supposed to get used to after 9/11? Well, I hope that you didn't get too used to it because everything is about to change again. Monday is the final deadline for any diplomatic solutions. Britain's P.M. Tony Blair, U.S. President Bush and the Spanish premier, Jose Maria Aznar meeting in the Azores today scrawled the heretofore rhetorical 'Those who are not with us are against us' onto the military-force gauntlet and tossed it at the feet of the U.N., NATO and the world. Come Tuesday then, we may all be living behind enemy lines.
Europe knows what that means. So do the Israelis and the Palestinians. So do the surviving veterans of all of the previous wars and military actions. They may be better prepared for that scenario than some of the rest of us are. Most of Europe actually lived behind the Nazi enemy lines in World War II. Anyone -- whether civilian, Resistance or Allied military -- who was caught where they should not be, met an untimely and often gruesome end. When the Allied forces finally achieved their own battlefronts, the Nazis and their sympathizers in turn met a similar fate. No one on either side wanted to be captured behind enemy lines in Europe, the Pacific, Korea or Vietnam.
But even those familiar with that type of experience will still have some adjusting to do. Unlike previous wars, the dividing lines between 'them' and 'us' are not so clearly defined. How can we know who is for us and who is against us when we can't even be sure who the us is that we must choose to be either for or against? On Tuesday (or shortly thereafter) will France and Germany be an us or a them? What about the U.N. and NATO? It will be difficult to see these nations and international bodies as true 'enemies' of the United States, Britain and Spain simply because they disagree with our policies on Iraq. But that is the line that is being drawn. In the new black- and - white, good- vs -evil world that we are formulating, there is only them and us. If this is to be our 'new, new normal' then, we are all on very shaky ground.
It would be hard, I suspect, for most of us to really believe that this is anything but a temporary situation. After all of the posturing and blustering and international name-calling subsides, probably most of us believe that we shall kiss and make up and let bygones be bygones and get on with the 'restoration' of Iraq. Nothing like a little foreign nation building to shore up that old camaraderie!
If the fall of Saddam Hussein is swift and relatively bloodless, things on that front may resolve quickly. On the other hand, if the military campaign results in a huge loss of civilian and military lives or if the various factions and ethnic groups now living in Iraq get uppity, the 'I told you so's' will become increasingly more strident and bitter and the thems and the uses may then become permanent classifications. And which ethnic, religious, political or tribal faction will be the new us and them in an occupied Iraq also remains unclear. So where are those enemy lines that we don't want to be caught behind? Well, we don't know.
Beyond Iraq, there is the ever-lurking danger of global terrorism. Since it has no physical boundaries, it's pretty hard to determine if you are in dangerous territory. Are anti-war Americans and Britons and Spaniards an us or a them? Of course, we generally think of our military and our law enforcement personnel as us, but when these same forces are called upon to spy on protesters and dissidents or on ordinary people who just want to fly to Albuquerque, who is the us and the them then? Where are those freaking lines? We need to have some clearly defined freaking lines...
Whoa. Wait a second. Do we really want to draw those lines? Do we actually want to decide who is the us and who is the them? Would we be wiling to do that according to racial or ethnic lines? Religious affiliation? Political party? The good people vs the evildoers? And who gets to decide that one? Sure would be easy to find oneself behind the enemy lines in any one of those scenarios, wouldn't it?
The 'new, new normal' may be that we will all be living behind enemy lines from now on. Since that front has now been determined to be the tenuous and mutable zone known as for us or against us, we'd best be constantly on alert lest we find ourselves unwittingly behind the wrong one. There is no neutral ground in this new, new normal, it seems. Those of us across the world who may have held a 'live-and-let-live' attitude had better learn how to straighten up and fly right. After all, you might be an 'enemy combatant' and not even know it yet!
While we are waiting for this new, new normal to take shape, there are still some things that we can do. Or think about a bit more seriously than we ever had to do before. For instance, the Internet has helped to connect groups with one another and to foster communications and the flow of information across the globe. We rely upon it for so many things. But what if we no longer could?
What if there comes a day when content is restricted or censored or simply unavailable? What would you do? Who are the other Pagans in your area? I mean the ones that you are not fighting with. The ones whom you could rely upon for support. Sure, I know that you have their web sites bookmarked and maintain their email addresses in your files. But if the Internet went down for any reason, you could contact them.... how?
As you sit reading this, the information is still available. Make hard copies today. Form a support group in your area tomorrow. Make some plans right now. Bury those old Witch Wars soon. You might make some new friends in the bargain.
Being caught behind enemy lines with no back-up plan is not a good thing to contemplate. We don't know what the future days and months and years may bring. We don't know who will be the new us or the new them or what the new, new normal may be like. But whatever happens -- wherever the lines come to drawn -- as Pagans, we do know this one thing:
Within a circle, there are no lines.
Co-Founder - The Witches' Voice
Monday, March 17th., 2003
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