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A Note From Stephen White

June 23, 2010

[Warning! Spoiler For The Siege]

There are times when I am amused by the prescience of my fiction. This isn't one of them. This stark parallel between my work, and recent events, gives me chills.

Toward the end of The Siege, as the antagonist attempts to rationalize his behavior to Sam Purdy, he says the following:

     "Two things came together that day. Faulty intelligence? Probably. That's one. The second? The absolute belief of the United States of America that its strategic interests supersede all other interests. Including any interest my family might have had in staying alive.
     "From the ground, in villages like ours, the world looks like this: When America is threatened, she loses her capacity, or at least her desire, to weigh the plight of others. To see the lives of others.
     "To see us. Our lives. Our rights. Our humanity.
     "That's what I did here, in New Haven. Because I felt threatened, I determined that the wounds I had suffered were more important, and that my strategic interests were more important, than any US interest. Even any civilian US interest. To do what I did, I had to decide to be as ruthless as your government was the day my family died.
     "For these few days, I had to be America."

A few days ago, Faisal Shazad, the man who pled guilty to attempting the Times Square bombing, attempted to rationalize his atrocity in federal court by saying the following:

     "Well, the drone hits in Afghanistan and Iraq, they don't see children, they don't see anybody. They kill women, children, they kill everybody. It's a war, and in war, they kill people. They're killing all Muslims. . . .
     "I am part of the answer to the U.S. terrorizing the Muslim nations and the Muslim people.  And, on behalf of that, I'm avenging the attack.  Living in the United States, Americans only care about their own people, but they don't care about the people elsewhere in the world when they die."

- Stephen White


The Siege paperback (USA)

Signet (USA) Paperback, 2010, ISBN: 0451228480

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3D Drawing of Beinecke Plaza