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  • Why people keep saying, “that’s what the terrorists want”

    Harvard Business Review - 11/20/2015

    On September 11, 2001, I was enjoying the tail end of my summer holiday with family in Connecticut. Over the past year, I had been studying Osama bin Laden’s enigmatic fatwas as a graduate student at Oxford. At the time, al-Qaeda was not well known, so I was surprised to find that in the climate of paralyzing fear after the attacks, everyone around me professed to know exactly why this group had struck the United States.

    A local soccer coach defiantly told me that practice was still on because keeping his team of eight-year olds cooped up indoors in fear is exactly what al-Qaeda secretly wanted. A cab driver told me he was going to keep taking customers from the train station because taking a few days off from work to grieve is exactly what al-Qaeda wanted.

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