Safety first in New York

By: Alex P. Vidal

“Our insignificance is often the cause of our safety.”—Aesop

I LIVE in a major U.S. city where there is currently a heightened alert for possible retaliatory attack from Iran following the killing by an airstrike of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, on January 3 that marked a major escalation in the standoff between the U.S. and Iran.

Thus the first thing that came to my mind when I heard about the alert from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Sunday afternoon was to limit my presence in New York City’s popular destinations starting January 6.

No visit, for the time being, to the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, Grand Central Station, Bryant Park, Central Park, Herald Square, Union Station, Penn Station, Madison Square Garden.

I’m not an alarmist, but, in avoiding these key places, our safety can at least be assured in one way or another. It is always better to be safe than sorry.

First and foremost, I must now learn to adopt a “safety first” attitude and, as much as possible, avoid staying in public or in crowded places unless necessary.

My only “worry” is I take the subway train every day from Queens to Brooklyn via Manhattan vice versa.

On my way home Sunday evening, I already noticed some elite members of the New York City (NYC) cops with long firearms guarding the major destinations and tourist attractions in the Lower, Midtown,  and Upper Manhattan.




I am aware, like other New Yorkers, that the Iran threat is not a joke.

I saw on CNN that the crowd that welcomed Soleimani’s body when it arrived in Tehran from Baghdad, Iraq was like a scene during Ninoy Aquino’s funeral.

The slain general wasn’t only well-loved by fellow Iranians but was also considered as a demigod.

In fact, they were saying here that Iran’s retaliation could be in various forms, including a cyber attack and a possible strike from within whatever that means.

The U.S. is actually on heightened alert since Friday after Iran vowed ‘harsh retaliation’ for an American airstrike in Iraq and that killed a top Iranian general.

It is feared that, God forbid, sleeper cells may be ready to attack in major cities lie Washington DC, New York City, Los Angeles City.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has vowed to protect key locations from “any attempt by Iran or its terrorist allies to retaliate against the U.S.”

“We have to assume this action puts us in a de facto state of war,” he declared.

It comes amid fears that the Iran-backed Hezbollah militant group, which has been designated by the U.S. government as a foreign terrorist organization, may have sleeper cells in the U.S. that are ready to retaliate.




We should fear this most: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has already warned that “harsh retaliation is waiting” for America following the airstrikes.

De Blasio added: “No one has to be reminded that New York City is the number one terror target in the United States. We have to recognize that this creates a whole series of dangerous possibilities for our city.”

He explained further: “We have plenty of knowledge of previous efforts by Iranian proxies to scout and target locations in New York City. Hezbollah and others have made it a point in recent years… We know there’s been an effort to target and prepare to attack in New York City in the past.”

The threat has reportedly changed significantly given the resources that a state such as Iran has compared to non-state organizations like Al Qaeda or ISIS.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two local dailies in Iloilo)