Those Dirty Rats
Israel - Middle East
Friday, May 04, 2012
One of my brother’s friends was recently woken in the middle of the night by a disturbance in the kitchen. Upon investigation, he discovered an intruder. I don’t know what’s worse – finding out that a thief has broken into your house or a rat scurrying along your kitchen benches and disappearing behind your oven where you can’t get it.
Well, okay, you certainly wouldn’t want to find an armed intruder wandering around in your kitchen stealing your leftovers. But do not underestimate the trauma an uninvited rat can inflict upon your psyche.
What’s worse than finding a rat in your kitchen? – finding a rampaging swarm of them. That’s the horror a friend was confronted with when he came home one day after work. His house backed onto a field and we suspect that they had multiplied because of the open garbage cans left out in the nearby University grounds. They found their way inside my friend’s roof, down the wall cavity and squeezed past the ill-drilled plumbing holes inside the cupboards. They then burst open the cupboard doors and had a rat party - clever things those rats.
I’ve had my own nightmares. They began as an innocuous sounding scratching noise in one wall that persisted and grew into thumps and squeaks coming from both walls and ceiling. Before long it sounded like there were possums playing football in my ceiling. Only, they weren’t possums. I set traps in the ceiling and under the house (many Aussie houses sit on posts). In one weekend I caught eight rats! I stopped trying after eight until the next weekend when I caught some more. I also loaded up on poison bait. There were more where those eight came from.
There’s an awful stigma in admitting that your house was invaded by rats. You worry that others may think you’ve been less than vigilant with your habitat’s hygiene. Personally, I blamed the condition of the next door neighbor’s yard, the pigeons kept by the guy living behind me and the popular compost bins that everyone kept in their back yards. Another factor was that our city (Melbourne) had enacted ordinances whereby all cats were put under night curfew “to protect our native wild-life”...and the rats.
But in reality there were many contributing factors and it’s a plague of a problem in just about every city in the world. Pardon my pun.
Before long my neighbors were telling me that they had possums in their roof. They had to be possums because the sounds were so loud. I gave them a knowing look and told them the bad news. One guy two miles from me had heard of my plight and then he also began hearing the sounds. In one weekend he trapped something like twenty rats!
I went to war.
I got very good at fine tuning traps to snap at a hair trigger and setting just the right bait. I discovered they can’t say no to the aroma of melted cheese. My neighbors also got to work and within a few weeks they were practically eradicated. I say practically...
There was silence for about eighteen months - everything was alright in my world...and then there was this scratching noise in the wall. I learned a powerful lesson about rats. You may think you’ve won the war but all you’ve achieved is a temporary lull in the battle you cannot win. They’re there hiding in the shadows, under things and they always come back – given time.
Islamist terrorists remind me of rats.
It’s an election year so one can understand that the Obama administration proudly announced they’d won the war on terror. While the terrorist business hasn’t been brisk on western soil of late, one hopes they don’t really believe their own spin. It would be a grave mistake. Mind you, David Axelrod thinks terrorism is still an issue – the problem is that he thinks it’s coming from the “far right”.
I researched some history on terrorism. Not surprisingly, there were materials that read like a politically sensitive guide to terrorism. You know, the sort that likes to point out that terrorism should also be linked to certain “Jewish” and “Irish” extremists, not just Islam.
While it’s true that both of these types (and others) have existed, unlike Islamic terrorism, they were localized and/or limited to short periods of time - and hands up everyone who gets sweaty palms flying in a plane with people wearing shamrocks or yarmulkes.
Islamic terrorism can be traced back to Muhammad and his behavior has a parallel with the rats. When he was in a position of weakness, Muhammad was a pacifist. As Silas notes:
“...in Mecca, where Muhammad was weak, he attacked no one. He only preached his religion and insulted the Meccan's religions. But it was just prior to his leaving for Medina, where he had a limited amount of armed men to support him, that he received this "revelation" and began to use violence to further his desires. Islamic history shows that as Muslims grew in power their forms of violence changed from criminal terrorism to outright warfare.”
When asked about reports showing that African countries are training grounds for Jihadist militants who would travel to other countries like the UK, Middle East expert Michael Rubin warned that the West cannot become complacent:
“We are still learning the lessons of 9/11: we cannot afford to allow al-Qaeda any safe-haven. The al-Qaeda theoretician Abu Musab al-Suri has argued for a decentralised structure, whereas his Jihadi ideologue Abu Bakr Naji has preached the importance of holding territory. Ceding any territory, in Africa or elsewhere, simply allows al-Qaeda to satisfy its two chief strategists at once. The Africa connection impacts security in other ways as well. European security services should be very concerned by the growing involvement of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb in the drug trade, and its reach from Mozambique to the Mediterranean.”
Another issue is the phenomenon of home grown terrorism. It’s there, festering, but you don’t always see it. Like the rats, it stays dormant until it finds a strategic avenue of expression. Then it’s too late. The London and Bali bombings were tragic examples of that phenomenon. Other plots have been averted thanks to continued vigilance. Melbourne Australia has also had its share of home grown terrorist scares.
According to eurasiareview:
“The value for terrorist networks also often lies in the ability of homegrown terrorists to more easily travel back and forth and work within the United States without raising suspicion. Of course, it is also these same abilities that can make it more challenging for U.S. intelligence and law enforcement to detect homegrown terrorist plots. Similarly, difficulties in detecting attempted homegrown attacks are also present in the fact that homegrown terror plots tend to involve significantly fewer actors and connections to terrorist networks at home and abroad.”
Terrorism is what helped propagate Islam and is hardwired in its ideology. It is not limited to defending a particular locale (unlike the IRA and Jewish examples) but is motivated to spread Islam over the entire globe. The increasing demand for Sharia Law in the west by Muslim citizens and the growing radical element in mosques are fertile breeding grounds for home grown terrorism.
Like my rat problem, terrorism won’t stop because of any setback. They’re out there taking stock and waiting for the right time to respond.
It’s an ongoing war and it’s getting worse.
You can be sure of that.
About Alf Cengia
Last week: When a Spade is a Spade
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