I’m still incredulous. Shock, disbelief, fear, depression, anxiety, grief, and anger, then and maybe, one can exorcise emotion before exercising thought. Overwhelming odds? Perhaps one might have felt all or one emotion during this national tragedy, but the tragedy continues in less graphic ways.
Arab and Moslem looking people in America have been subjected to random attacks in public and in US media. An Indian, a Sikh, and “allegedly” a young Creek woman have lost their lives to such hatred. As if stuck in emotion without the benefit of thoughtful words, public figures scramble to do and say the expected, and uncorroborated rumors seem to fly.
No one has taken responsibility! Either out of fear or out of the same evil genius. Yet, the verdict is unanimous even before the facts are clear. Patriotic songs on the radio, fighting words in Washington, and edited images on TV rally emotion behind war.
The calls for war are heard above the empathy of both friend and foe, which America is currently harnessing. Lost, it seemed, are the whole world’s cries with the human tragedy that America suffered on September 11, 2001, and the whole world witnessed the evil genius that only a relative few had until then felt during the month of September. Such emotional connection throughout the world could only occur in the twenty-first century when communication is so immediate, yet this is a connection that suddenly climaxed and might never come again.
While the drums of war are heard in Washington, I wish to call out, “Seize the moment, America!”
The moral high ground has been paved in front of you. Seize the moment, Mr. President. You command something that’s comparable to no other human power, and you can translate it into a demonstration of God’s benevolence as no words could, as no military will. Yours has become the heaviest burden and the biggest responsibility. There has never been such a time when the world felt this American! I know of no country that doesn’t have family in America. You carry the world’s burden.
This tragedy should not translate into a crusade of emotion. God’s words have been conveyed in as many tongues as compassionate human beings across the globe would have spoken while watching the event by satellite link or on tape. Any human being who’d flown in a plane, any human being who’d ridden on an elevator up a skyscraper, any human being who’d suffered a violent loss of a loved one, spoke the same emotion on that dark hour of September 11, usually laden with God’s invocation.
Even New Yorkers filming the tragedy from their own office building, screaming out “Jesus ..é.. Christ!” on national television, invoked God’s name, albeit in a crude colloquial way. We all felt the emotion. The world united in the spirit of the moment; don’t allow political machinations to destroy the world’s common purpose against this crime, Mr. President.
This was not an act of war. It was a crime against the world, and the world is currently filled with goodwill for Americans, where the heart and mind should work in unison with courage.
I don’t pretend to know the truth, but I beseech you to temper any anger with thought. No doubt this heinous act will not go unpunished, but we cannot defend against a thoughtful criminal with emotion or we lose. Some might say we’ve already lost, citing that we have dispensed with the wisdom of our country’s forefathers, accusing modern America of relegating the words of George Washington to his living at an ancient time when he couldn’t even imagine our present greatness.
Say what you may. I say that our greatness was inspired in us, a nation of freethinking people, We, The People. We have elected those who should ultimately remain accountable, and we should trust them; but we shouldn’t abandon all thought in the process and remember. I fly the Star-Spangled Banner outside my Atlanta home in memory of the sailors who lost their lives. The flag represents my country, and I fly it as a US Navy veteran.
The victims of the World Trade Center, however, came from more countries than I can remember. The people who flew those fateful planes might have known it, and their attacks might have simply targeted symbols of America, but they shot the world instead.
So let’s not conjure sentiments that preceded the American Revolution. Let’s not invoke the spirit of ‘crusade’ against this ‘new’ evil, let’s not threaten to tumble from the height of goodwill towards the American people, the real strength behind any nation, with an unprecedented blind allegiance to wage war.
Let’s lead the way by applying our constitutional rights and values to dealing with the rest of the world, or America might just as well become another tyrant.
The time has come for taking responsibility. We are setting the tone for what might unfold into quite a brave new world, a world brave enough for change, one able to forge world peace and simply worry about crime. And as the world had just witnessed, violent crime has affected us all.
(Author of upcoming novel, “Israel, By Any Other Name”, Ghassan Ghraizi was Born in Beirut, Lebanon, and has lived and earned his education internationally. A US military veteran, he’s experienced both war and peace. A CPA working for corporate America, his friends and family time is divided between individuals who are as varied as the countries he’d adopted.)