A horrible tragedy befell our nation Tuesday September 11th, an unspeakable
atrocity that resulted in the pointless loss of many lives, a loss that will
be felt in one way or another by every single member of this country. It has
been referred to, very accurately, as a mass murder. Unfortunately the
majority of the victims were unaware of what they were dying for, nor what
the motivation was for their demise. They perished in mass. They were not
killed for who they were, or for anything they have done in their lives.
They were not singled out as individuals. Their names and faces were
unimportant to their assailants. What they represented was a larger idea, a
fanatical belief that centers blindly on a country or government, and not
the people who make up the larger whole. The only sin of those we lost on
that fateful day was that they were Americans.
Terrorism is exactly that. A faceless force whose sole existence is to
strike terror. People die, buildings are destroyed, and lives destroyed in
terrorist acts. But the final goal isn't the loss of neither life nor the
property damage. The result that is sought in terrorist acts is what happens
in the victim's hearts. It is a cowardly attempt at propaganda; to strike
fear and terror into collected people's hearts and minds. When that fear is
created, the act is complete, and the terrorist has succeeded in their goal.
If we submit to the fear, then they have won.
We are being lashed out at by unknown forces, and for reasons uncertain. We
are being attacked for not who we are as people, but for what we represent
to certain groups and how they see us as a people. Not surprisingly, we find
ourselves confused and afraid. It is in this state of fear and confusion
that other wise rational actions and thoughts can give away to paranoia and
blind retaliation. Should this become the case, than the terrorists have
won, and we have lost a battle with in our very souls. We have been attacked
as a people, not as individuals. If we allow this to force us into the same
mentality, than all that happened on that dark day will be in vain, if we do
not rise above this limited scope of thinking, than we will prove ourselves
no better than our assailants.
All eyes have turned to the Middle East in the wake of this national
disaster. Far worse, the same eyes may eventually turn blindly to what is
with in our own borders. There are many Americans who are suffering through
the same tragedy as the rest of us who may be excluded because of the
nationality of their heritage, something they have no more control over than
the unfortunate victims in New York. It would be easy to throw suspicious
glances in their direction, and to lash out, blaming them as the potential
source of our present troubles. Far too easy to not see them as individuals,
but as a faceless collective to fear and blame. Far too easy to fall into
the same mindset that brought about the fanatical actions of this Tuesday's
needless violence. Now more than ever it is essential for us not to become
that what we fear.
If we are to be judged by other nations and religious sects for our
nationality, then it is up to us to decide our own destiny to how that will
be viewed. How we react to this tragedy will define us as a country and as a
people. What type of people do we want to be? Scared children jumping at
shadows? Or a unified people who can come together in a time of need, and
who can work together to rebuild regardless of race, creed, or nationality?
Do we turn on our own people because of their heritage? Or do we accept that
we are composed of a racially diverse society who have all made the decision
to live, to die, to suffer, and to overcome together? Anyone with in these
borders who has taken it upon themselves to call themselves an American is
exactly that, an American. What occurred on Tuesday September 11th 2001 was
a national crisis, affecting all Americans equally. We all feel the pain, we
all feel the fear, and we all feel the loss. No one race holds a monopoly on
the pain that was created on that day.
This will define us, both as a nation, and as individuals. Should we do
anything less than stand together unified, then our assailants may be
correct in their assessment of us. Should we do anything less than embracing
one another, we become no better than those who attacked us. Should we give
into the fear and start judging the whole instead of the individual, than
who ever attacked us today succeeds by creating that fear in our hearts. If
that is the case, then all is lost.