Written by Vanessa Pupavac.
Day is night
By clock, ‘tis day,
And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp.
Is’t night’s predominance, or the day’s shame,
That darkness does the face of earth entomb,
When living light should kiss it? (II.iv)
Shakespeare’s words capture something of the experience of witnesses of 9/11 when the terrorist attacks turned day into night as the thick clouds of debris from the fallen towers across Manhattan.
Contemporary terrorism has seemed ready to target civilian deaths from Beslan primary school pupils to Boston marathon runners, to Norwegian youth to Turkish peace activists to Pakistani children and families in a park. Such terrorist attacks resonate with Macbeth’s ‘War with mankind’ (II.iv). The outrage generated by the deliberate targeting of civilians built international political consensus around the War on Terror.