Tuesday, September 10, 2002

9/11: Waves of Hatred

September 11, 2001. Nine eleven. 9/11.

I feel that the nation is still too close to 9/11 to extract broader lessons, although we're trying. I still feel concern that as a nation, our leadership isn't exploring the roots of the hatred that ultimately resulted in these attacks. Is this our wake-up call? Then what is it a wake-up call for? To rely less on oil? To be mindful of our culture's manifest destiny, and how it might alienate other cultures?

9/11 will serve to remind everyone that the current affairs of the United States are on a world scale. Our affairs and our values were somehow repugnant enough for some militants to plow airliners into a building full of people. Why? And more importantly, how do we diffuse the hatred?

I hate what these terrorists have done. But I don't hate who these terrorists are, do I? Do we? Aren't they human, like me? Hands, feet, heart, brains. Don't they breathe the same air I do? Aren't we all part of the human race?

History can be seen as waves of hatred between humans. These waves, these swells, form a rough and raging sea that over time becomes calm, after we learn about who we hate. Who were the Indians? The African Americans? Who were the Japanese? Who were the Irish? The Italian? The Polish? We, as Americans, learned who they were. Hate gives way. Until the next wave.

Today, we're threatening to act on Iraq, a Muslim nation. What is our goal here? To punish a man for building weapons of mass destruction? OK, but we better not be acting out of a hatred towards a people we barely know.

How do we diffuse hatred? I don't know. It's easier to act locally (i.e. to control my-self). But how do we as a country diffuse this hatred? How does our government diffuse hatred?

A hateful act took place on 9/11. Are we adding fuel to this fire?

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