Ter­ror plots new norm

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - OPINION OUR & YOURS -

WHERE were you on New Year’s Eve, 2003? If you were en­joy­ing the fire­works on tele­vi­sion, or out by Syd­ney Har­bour some­where, you were an un­wit­ting par­tic­i­pant in an al­most cin­e­matic drama play­ing out at the high­est lev­els of law en­force­ment and gov­ern­ment.

It was the ter­ror plot we never knew about: well­founded po­lice sus­pi­cions that in­di­vid­u­als (sev­eral of whom are now con­victed ter­ror­ists) were plan­ning to do some­thing in­volv­ing a boat, ex­plo­sives and the har­bour. Au­thor­i­ties were so con­cerned that they even di­verted an oil tanker out of Syd­ney Har­bour, fear­ful it might be blown up.

That prospect is al­most too aw­ful to con­tem­plate. Po­lice had sur­rounded the house of their main sus­pect — but even so, they were deeply wor­ried that he or his op­er­a­tives had placed a boat some­where in a public area to be a float­ing bomb.

Of course, as we now know, there was no float­ing bomb, and there was no dis­as­ter. We should all be grate­ful to the po­lice who did their best to keep us safe that night. The story is also a re­minder that we have now been liv­ing in an en­tirely al­tered world (the post World Trade Cen­ter world) for nearly two decades. This re­ally is the new nor­mal.

Back when the 9/11 at­tacks hap­pened, politi­cians were quick to say, de­fi­antly, that or­di­nary peo­ple should not change their lives or be fear­ful about ev­ery­day ac­tiv­i­ties, be­cause that would mean the ter­ror­ists had won: that they’d struck ter­ror into our hearts. But the truth is the ter­ror­ists did win on 9/11. They did frighten us. They did change our world for­ever. We can never go back.

There’s a big­ger re­minder, too. Be­hind the scenes, even when we think there’s noth­ing go­ing on, the NSW Po­lice are work­ing to keep us safe. That might sound corny, or naive, but the truth is those of­fi­cers risk their lives for us, every sin­gle day.

They de­serve our thanks — for New Year’s Eve 2003, and for all the dark and scary nights.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.