Because I believe so strongly in my cause, I didn't recognize it until now. But recent events have forced a stark realization upon me: I am a terrorist. This is my confession.
Since the events of September 11, 2001, I have been secretly plotting. My evil plan would have brought an explosion to the downtown Sir George Williams campus of Concordia University in Montreal. And to add insult to injury, the terrorist act was to occur on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in New York.
Luckily for the innocent youth of that great university, my terror plot was foiled by a crack team of investigators. Concordia's risk assessment committee saw through the literary veil of the event booking request. The title, 9/11 Retrospective sounded innocent enough. But they read the event description and saw that I would be reading aloud from my so-called novel (or, as security experts refer to it, a blueprint of terror).
The historical novel, North of 9/11 (Cumulus Press), takes place during and in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001. It is the story of Palestinian solidarity and anti-war activists who face repression at the hands of Concordia's draconian administration and become the targets of an RCMP counter-terrorism investigation.
How authorities allowed Cumulus Press to publish this terrorist propaganda escapes me. But the madness came to an end when Concordia's risk assessment committee put its foot down and decided to ban the public reading of the book I had secretly plotted for the fifth anniversary of 9/11.
Concordia students, staff and faculty are no doubt breathing a sigh of relief now that they have been saved from my criminal scheme. They need not fear being subjected to critical perspectives on a day when only jingoistic patriotic slogans should be heard.
But we terrorists are a resourceful lot, sharing tips and networking via the Internet. My network extends beyond Concordia to as far away as McGill (a full five city blocks from Concordia) where security measures are much more lax. With a new title and new event sponsors (QPIRG McGill), we were able to conspire to do another explosive book reading. This time, authorities were not nearly as vigilant.
Troubling Directions North of 9/11 will be taking place in McGill's Leacock building from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. And it will be taking place precisely as I had originally calculated for maximum impact, on the fifth anniversary of 9/11.
Once the explosion hits McGill there will no doubt be a flurry of new security measures. International flights will ban all reading material except the National Post, universities will close down their libraries and book-sniffing dogs will be used by the RCMP's counter-terrorism unit.
But they cannot stop the coming battle between critically minded people and the war on terror machine. If we cannot read our books publicly, we will circulate articles and reviews clandestinely on the Internet. We will form secret book-reading societies with secret handshakes and decoder rings.
I did not write this confession because I have any remorse for my actions. In fact, I am more convinced than ever that the most dangerous terror we face in the world from Afghanistan to Canada, from Lebanon and Gaza to Israel, and from Iraq to the U.S. is war on terror terror. That is why I wrote North of 9/11.
I chose to write a fictional confession instead of an article because the new post-9/11 reality is so surreal that fiction is the only way to really make it understandable. That is also why I wrote North of 9/11.
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