10 years laterIf you're reading this, there's a good chance you remember where you were ten years ago today. What you were doing when you heard that two planes had been flown into the World Trade Center. My husband had heard it on the early NPR broadcast, before leaving for work. He woke me up to see the news.
I didn't believe him at first.
I spent that day glued to to TV news (which I still had back then) and popping over to the computer to converse with my natural parenting friends about the events.
People act out of fear and hatred and we respond in kind and here we are ten years later, at war. The war has lasted longer than my youngest child has been alive, and my other two don't remember a time when we weren't at war.
And all over the internet, I see people who are sure that other peoples' innate wrongness is to blame. Lack of patriotism, too much nationalism. Godlessness is the cause, religion is the cause.
Which is really ridiculous, because 99% of humans manage to be patriotic or not patriotic or religious or not religious, every day, without doing another violence.
But as long as we persist in labeling people the other and then demonizing them and laying blame, we are making sure the ground work stays laid for another tragedy like this.
This kind of violence comes from one place : fear. And I would say from the greatest fear we all share...that what we have will be taken from us. Our homes, our families, our lives, our culture, our way of life. When we feel too threatened, we act like desperate, cornered animals. And it's nice and tidy and makes us feel good to note how the "wrongness" of the "other" led them to do that.
We tend to do that from the position of never having been the cornered animal, all the while never believing that we are making things worse.
There's this guy I know who once said we should love our neighbors as our selves. The thing is that for good or ill, I think we already do. For some that means running into a burning building to save lives and for others that means making that building burn in the first place, and when the latter is the outward expression of one's inner regard, one's fear, then we must ask ourselves what needs that person had that we could have met.
Let's honour the dead today by setting aside all hatred, by refusing to ever demonize another group of people, and by rededicating ourselves the work of seeing that all our fellow humans have their needs met.