Ten Years After September 11, 2001

September 9, 2011

I realize the web really does not need the presence of yet one more opinion about or reflection on 9/11 as it approaches its ten-year anniversary. I also realize that a personal blog offers even less appeal to the general public when there are massive amounts of coverage from “experts,” talking heads, the mainstream media, the alternative press, the religious world, and even from survivors or the family of survivors themselves that you can read and gain insight from if you feel the need. So in all likelihood if you’re reading (or skimming) this, you do so for whatever I post for whatever reason, or a tag or link brought you here and you’ve stumbled onto yet one more personal opinion. So, if you’re reading this (for whatever reason), I hope it causes you to think about the issue in a new way that can lead to positive change, however that might occur.

As we look back on the tragedy that occurred ten years ago I hope that we can continue to find ways to honor the memories of all the victims and their families who lost life and potential in such needless bloodshed.

This long after the event, many still question why it occurred and what the factors were that caused such an act of terrorism. The fact is that the event itself, the factors that led to it, and the fallout that has occurred as a result of it are a web of geopolitical details that offer no easy answers. What the United States experienced was an act of violence and terrorism that we were unaccustomed to seeing in our own country and thus it shook us deeply. We have been lucky enough to not personally experience such an event on our own soil since, but we must all by now realize that such senseless tragedies occur daily throughout the world and have done so since long before our comfort was shaken and have repeatedly occurred far too often since. What we experienced had roots in economic despair, social upheaval, ignorance and illiteracy, the long aftershocks of anger sparked by centuries of colonialism, religious and political fundamentalism, and the leadership of charismatic figures who felt used and discarded by larger powers and who then struck out at those perceived enemies through human beings they manipulated and used as pawns. What occurred on that day almost ten years ago was an act of violence that violated not only international laws but even the religious laws of the texts and traditions of the perpetrators who were sadly led to believe otherwise.

What occurred on 9/11 was terrorism. We call violence committed by one country to another country “war,” violence committed by a country to a group of civilians in the process of a war “collateral damage,” and violence directed at a group of private citizensĀ  “terrorism.” The targeting of innocent civilians, women, children, and people of all faith groups by the perpetrators of 9/11 as an act to mistakenly make a statement, prove a point, or control through fear was most assuredly an act of terrorism. It killed many people and the pain experienced by those they left behind continues as fallout from that fateful act. It also killed the perpetrators–their act of violence immediately affected them. It sparked a series of wars which have led to many more deaths on all sides. What we have seen in the event itself and the ten years since is the same thing we sadly see far too often and seem to stubbornly refuse to learn from–that violence is cyclical. That hurting others to prove a point, to get even, or to get what we want is always wrong and always creates more violence, more bloodshed, more loss of life. That much of what we pass off as “necessary” far exceeds self-defense and instead amps up the turmoil in the world around us. We teach our children not to hit one another at school out of anger or to get their way yet we ourselves in our larger bodies act out in violence constantly to the same sad, tired results.

We have the voices and examples of many people who have taught us that love can be just as active and much more effective in promoting transformation and progressive, positive change than violence and hate. These role models come from all walks of life and can be found as shining testaments to every enduring world religion and tradition from which they emerge and represent. May we now, ten years after the tragedy begin to seriously consider peace. May we consider active and engaged love. May we consider practical alternatives to cyclical violence and aggression. May we seek to understand the “other,” even those we don’t like or those that don’t like us. May we seek to communicate and interact to promote unity and tolerance and may we more fully consider what the ramifications our every action–privately or publicly, individually or communally– will have on ourselves, our communities, our countries, and our world.

Peace.

 

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