28 September 2001
"I can't believe the news today,
I can't just close my eyes and make it go away!"
U2, "Sunday Bloody Sunday"
Updates on the diary entry: Classes went on as normal the 12th, except for a few instructors. Attendance was pretty close to normal, actually. Jon did not get home until Friday afternoon via plane, by which time I had left on Amtrak to get to North Carolina for my Uncle Scott's wedding.
And now? The world was in shock together then, certainly. Wavering agnostic that I am in times of stress, I said prayers for the victims and their families. U.S. flags went to half-staff and "God bless America" sprouted on every surface that could hold letters. We fought for normality -- my uncle and new aunt's wedding went on despite her grandparents being unable to get there from California, despite my uncle having to drive from Texas himself. My dad and stepmother watched CNN in the hotel room, though the kids changed it to Nickelodeon at every opportunity, and I could sympathize with them. There was only so much the news could say, and they kept saying it over and over, repeating the images that were so horrible the first time. I felt overdosed on tragedy.
Eventually, people's differing ways of dealing broke apart the world's union of shock. My dear boyfriend felt like an outcast for being an atheist in the midst of prayers, and wondered if a "Peace" bumper sticker would be risking vandalism to his car. I try not to object to other people's beliefs, but "Try our new Market Fresh Sandwich -- God bless America" in front of a fast-food joint is hardly believable as an appeal based on faith.
Travelers with the wrong appearance were forced off of airplanes, and the local Muslim Academy's school buses have covered the words on their sides. People talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age," not thinking that all but a few citizens of that country are as innocent as the people who went to work or got on a plane the morning of September 11. Albert Camus said it in 1949 in Les Justes Act II -- "Open your eyes, and understand that the Organization would lose all its power and influence if it were to condone for a second children being hurt by our bombs." This is true whether the organization is the United States government or a group of fanatics who hate the U.S. -- the death of innocents makes the killer hated.
America cannot sink to the level of the terrorists. No one will support a country which commits the same crimes it is supposedly punishing in others.
So, Americans and those who sympathize with us try and refuse to be intimidated, a difficult task when destruction echoes in our heads. But our toughness must have a limit. The justice we want must be balanced with wisdom, with a clear vision of who is truly responsible. I can't say who the culprits are -- no one has true evidence of that -- and I am not so hungry for their punishment that I will rush to conclusions. I wish every American would make an effort to stick to our legal system's "Innocent until proven guilty" foundations.
Yes, stand together. Americans, those of other countries who lost people or just feel that the killing of innocents is nothing but murder, work to help get over the horrors that haunt us. But don't strike out at those who are different, don't let a stereotype rule you as it rules the terrorists who stop at nothing for their aims.
|The Afghan Women's Mission -- running hospitals and education for women.||The Children of War -- helping needy children and families in refugee camps||Catholic Relief for refugees and natural disaster victims.|
Home | Writing | Bio | Resources & Bibliographies | Links