Archive for the ‘#9-11’ Tag

Can We Stop Fighting Yet?   9 comments

September 11, 2001 – Where were you and what did you do when you heard about the 911 attacks? What did you do to move on?

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So I have previously blogged about my experience on September 11, 2001. I don’t wish to revisit those times, but to instead focus on healing, though as I typed this, four GA airplanes flew overhead in less than an hour, starkly reminding me of that day when the only planes in our hunting season sky were fighter jets.

Image result for image of 9-11Like virtually everyone else in the country, I was shocked, numb and confused on September 11. By September 12, I was grateful for everything I had. By September 18, I — along with almost everyone else in the country — was angry and wanted some payback.

A friend of mine had an uncle who had just retired from a financial firm with offices in the Towers. He had chosen “semi-retirement” as a mentor and he was supposed to be there that day for a morning meeting, but the weather was lovely and he decided to be decadent and go for a walk in the park instead. Thus, he was having breakfast when an airliner obliterated the boardroom where all of his colleagues were sitting. They never even got a chance to flee the building.

A coworker of mine had a brother who worked in the Pentagon building. His office was a long way from the center of operations, in the outside ring. He was invited down the hall for coffee and donuts to celebrate a coworker’s birthday and so he wasn’t in his office when it was destroyed by the terrorists using an airliner as a missile.

I live in a big military town, so I knew men and women who were almost immediately deployed to Afghanistan and who later returned emotionally and physically shattered.

I’ve also known at least a half-dozen contractors who spent time in Afghanistan and Iraq. One friend’s brother was killed over there. He was an unarmed electrician working to restore power to a city Saddam had deemed didn’t need power some 20 years before. He was up a telephone pole hooking up a transformer when a sniper shot him in the head.

Alaskans fly a lot and I am much more cognizant of what’s going on within an aircraft cabin than I used to be. I hate that I occasionally feel a moment of concern when certain types of men are on board. They’re probably innocent of what I am silently accusing them of. I get over it and I move on, but I won’t pretend it doesn’t happen. I’m told by two friends (one an immigrant from Iraq and another from Egypt) that they feel the same way in similar circumstances. They know they are not terrorists, but they aren’t so sure of Middle Eastern strangers, especially if they are speaking in Arabic. Our friend from Egypt can speak Arabic, so she says she always eavesdrops and always has had her fears allayed. She expresses sympathy for those of us who don’t have that skill. We’re not wrong to have those concerns, because we know for a fact that there were Middle Eastern passengers bent on our deaths. It’s foolish to think it can’t happen again.

But here’s the thing – over time, my anger waned and I began to realize that what we were doing “over there” wasn’t making us any safer and was probably making us less safe. My daughter and son are now of draftable age (women aren’t required to register yet, but they can be drafted – thank President Obama for doubling down on stupid) and I worry about them, which makes me more aware of the other mothers’ sons and daughters who might die or be maimed in wars that the United States has no business being in. You can disagree with me, but now that fracking has given the US the ability to  be a net exporter of oil (not that we are at the moment), why are we conducting these wars on foreign soil? We don’t need to. About one-quarter of the US debt is attributable to these wars we seem to have no intention of ever getting out of. The larger that debt grows, the more likely the country is to enter a Greater Depression from which long-term recovery is unlikely.

I had a Muslim coworker (Amisa) who I prayed with on that day 16 years ago. She is a nice gal who never meant anyone harm and she was as upset with what happened as we were. I knew “Mark” (Mahmood is his real name) for more than a decade before 9/11. I knew not all Middle Easterners were terrorists and I’ve had that long relationship to bring me back to sanity. I have since met Christine, who is from Egypt. I know other Middle Easterners on the Internet or through friends. My daughter belly-danced with some. I don’t excuse the behavior of terrorists, but I know they are a small fraction of the larger population. So I’m not angry at Middle Easterners or Muslims in general.

My faith teaches me to forgive and to hope for the future and I have tried to put that into practice. The world is probably no more dangerous than it was September 10, 2001. It just feels more dangerous. Human nature has sucked since the Fall. Why am I surprised that human beings can be so inhumane to human beings? I no longer want payback. I think my initial impulse was a mistake, but I also think the terrorists had payback coming and that the Afghan government should have gotten out of our way as we pounded Al Qaeda. Then we should have left and let them deal with the aftermath because at some level, the Afghanis were co-responsible for what happened. But 16 years of war … it shouldn’t have been longer than 16 months.

So, how did I get over it? I don’t think we as a nation or I individually are over it. It’s not over until we can move on and we can’t move on as long as we are continuing to devote blood and treasure “over there.” But, for myself … I don’t fear Muslims anymore than I fear other potentially unstable people. I carry concealed now in situations where mass shootings might occur and I’m not going to apologize for that. If someone opens up in a movie theater while you and I are watching a movie, I might just save your life. I am reminded of dark thoughts every time the TSA feels me up so I can get on an airplane. I object, but Alaska is not connected to the Lower 48 in a way that makes driving somewhere feasible, so … it seems a shame that we have to submit to sexual molestation in order to travel because we refuse to  effectively handle the threat that still exists. There are better ways to do it than treating law-abiding American citizens like potential terrorists, but ….

I’m writing a series about terrorism. I haven’t revealed who the terrorists are, but some of them are Middle Easterners and some of them are another cultural group or three. I incinerated 30 million people in the first book. But I also have a lovely Egyptian immigrant in the third book. Why? Because I don’t think Middle Easterners are all responsible for what happened.  I try to show people working together is the norm, but I admit, in the third book, that might not always be the case. In some sense, Transformation Project grew out of the events of September 11, 2001, because those events made me ask:

What would happen if …?

I think after 16 years, I am largely over 9-11, but let’s be honest here … none of us can really be over it until we finally stop killing Middle Easterners who object to our invading their countries. Then and only then will true healing actually begin.

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Posted September 11, 2017 by aurorawatcherak in Blog Hop, Uncategorized

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