September 14, 2001

I was heartened to hear the voices of reason from both the US and other countries in response to my posting yesterday and was even beginning to think maybe the voices of hatred and those calling for war are just a few loudmouths and that most of the populace here in the US are among the reasonable majority who see the futility of violence and the fact that violence only begets violence. But sometimes I wonder … I’ve been going through the wording for what I’m going to say here most of the night – I lay awake around 2:00 am at night and thought about it since some of this is going to sound very harsh and is especially more so in the wake of such a huge tragedy but there are some things that need to be said because I see a lot of people crying for war and vengeance and I for one don’t want to see another war – the suffering that the families and friends of those affected by the events of Tuesday are not going to be alleviated by plunging even more families (both in the US and outside … for do you think that if it comes to war, that US soldiers are not going to perish too?) into melancholy and despair.

People here in the US seem to think (or at least imply) that this attack was something special – it is not! It is tragic and horrifying for those who were affected by it but this is something that quite a large portion of the populace of the world lives with as a day to day fact of life. I come from Sri Lanka where the nation is torn apart by a twenty year civil war and major landmarks and government installations get bombed every year – in fact, the Sri Lankan World Trade Center was bombed a few years ago by the terrorists! These self-same terrorists are aided by people living in Canada, UK (not the governments but individuals) and other countries. Does Sri Lanka try to go to war against Canada or the UK about this? No!! But then again, I guess Sri Lanka is a small island nation while the US is a super power – so how is the bombings in Sri Lanka different from those of the US? Does the size of the country decide how big an issue it is?

On the other hand, it is not as if the US itself has not had a hand in sowing terror in other nations – the rebels in Central America were aided by the US and Iraq was aided by the US in it’s battle against Iran at one time … So is the US against terrorism only when it is perpetrated on its own soil? Of course the pat answer would be that these weren’t terrorists but freedom fighters! What exactly is the difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter? I guess that depends on which side you are on …

War is not a good thing – whatever the cause may be! Those responsible for the atrocities of Tuesday should be brought to justice but not at the cost of both US and other lives. This is not about the US! It is about the human race as a whole – let us be aware of the cost of each and every human life and not give into blind anger and hatred and a desire for vengeance! I see people ask for God’s retribution against the crimes of Tuesday but in the next breath I see the same people call for war – aren’t you sure of God’s might and justice that you want humanity’s imperfect version of justice to prevail first?

I believe in justice – not human justice but God’s justice – and I know that even if we don’t punish somebody for their acts, they will receive God’s punishment on the day of judgment but in the same token, we will be judged by our actions too! Let us bear in mind that to harm even one innocent in the process of bringing those who are guilty to judgment should be unacceptable to all of us as human beings – sadly this is not so! Let us by all means punish those responsible but take care that we punish only those responsible and not bandy about words like war and annihilation and say things like “Let us blow all of them off the map – they all of them harbor terrorists anyway!” because this just is not true. Each individual making up a nation is not the same – remember that Tim McVeigh who slaughtered countless innocents in the Oaklahoma City bombings was American … does that make all Americans terrorists?

Let us be calm, clear-headed, non-partisan and above all human and humane! Let us believe in justice and defense but not revenge and offense!! Let us be resolved above all that we will try to avoid the shedding of innocent blood – no matter which country, cast, creed or race they belong to!!!

Posted by Fahim at 8:09 am  |  3 Comments