This evening a text alert from New York City’s emergency notification system pinged on my phone. It read:

Call 311 if unable to reach someone who may have been impacted by vehicle incident today near West St & Chamber St in Manhattan

That is when I learned that the “vehicle incident” was a the terror attack in lower Manhattan: a truck driven up a bucolic and much used bike lane that runs along the Hudson River. (I’ve ridden on in many times at exactly the time the attack occurred, and have friends that do daily.) I knew that at the moment the text came in, someone was trying to reach a person who did not answer their phone…

Sometimes it seems impossible to live with the horror in our daily news, with its echoes of so many recent attacks, and of 9/11, and violence that seems to come at random. Heartsick, felled, two things came to mind: The last unforgettable lines of Samuel Beckett’s play The Unnamable, above…




and this excerpt from a Salman Rushdie essay in Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002 about how to deal with terrorism:

We must agree on what matters: kissing in public places, bacon sandwiches, disagreement, cutting-edge fashion, literature, generosity, water, a more equitable distribution of the world’s resources, movies, music, freedom of thought, beauty, love. These will be our weapons. Not by making war but by the unafraid way we choose to live shall we defeat them.

How to defeat terrorism? Don’t be terrorized. Don’t let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.” 



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4 replies on “Antidotes for the Latest Terror Attack (Samuel Beckett and Salmon Rushdie)

  1. Thank you. Keep your head up.

  2. Please keep doing what you are doing – it is very important.

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