Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] Fall or Rise... (Another WTC thread)

Gerald McDowell goat9@home.com
Mon, 17 Sep 2001 21:53:18 -0500

Hiya all,

I guess a lot of Powderworkers are sick of hearing about this, so I'd advise
you to just delete this message if that's the case.

I just wanted to weigh in with my thoughts about the past week's events.  I
hardly know where to begin, though.

A few minutes after the second plane hit the towers, I was watching the
coverage on the TV at work.  As we stood looking at the screen, my first
thought was of compassion for the victims and their families.  My second
thought was, "There's going to be a lot of Arab-bashing."  In recent days,
I've been sickened, not only by the depth of suffering endured by the
victims, their families, and the brave recuse workers (both professional and
civilian), but by the accuracy of my prediction.

The stories of innocent Arab and Muslim people being persecuted have in many
ways left me more disgusted that the cowardly acts in New York, Washington
and Pennsylvania.  Most of these people have come to this land for the same
reasons as any other group of people; to escape persecution or make a good
living.  Isn't it great that there are places in this world where people can
do that?  We who live in such places should come to appreciate what we have,
to have been born in such places and times.  Most of the Arabs and Muslims in
the US have had to leave their countries, their homes, and often other loved
ones because they weren't the "right" ethnic group, because they spoke a
little too loudly for the side of justice and tolerance, or because they
wished to escape desperate poverty and give their children better lives.  To
have come to their new homes only to be faced with hatred because of where
they came from reflects poorly upon us, to put it mildly.

I cannot condone the use of violence by the guilty parties, but the fact is
that they did have legitimate complaints with US policies.  The US has rigged
elections, assassinated leaders and sold arms to anybody who wasn't a
Communist for decades, not only in the Middle East.  Virtually every dictator
and terrorist in the Middle East has had US sponsorship or been created by
events that the US government set in motion.  Now those facts will be lost in
a sea of nationalistic gibberish.  The truth will be buried further, all due
to the endless cycle of violence and recrimination.  Once the terrorists
murdered all those people, they ruined their cause, perhaps forever.

The people of the United States must not succumb to this bloodlust.  Its
allies must help as well, before they are drawn into the conflict.  Like the
song says, "You can fall, or you can rise."  It is up to us, to decide if we
want to sink to the animal level, to drive ourselves into a killing frenzy,
to become what we hated, with a different set of gods and ideals being the
only difference.  Or will we overcome this tragedy.  Will we show compassion
for those who have lost their lives, for those who have been injured, for
those who have lost loved ones, even see past our anger to show compassion
for the debt of karma inflicted upon those who committed these acts.  Will we
show our "enemies", and indeed ourselves, that they will not and cannot stand
in the way of what we are and more importantly, of what we can become.

I've seen many things to bring pride in my country in the last week.  I've
seen images of firefighters and police giving their lives, their sweat and
their time, all selflessly.  I've heard reports that the Red Cross has been
swamped with efforts of assistance, to the point that they have had to turn
people away.  I've heard of staggering donations given in small timeframes.

But many acts of past days have made me ashamed to share soil with their
perpetrators.  The bloodlust that has gripped this nation truly belies the
notion of the US being a compassionate nation.  The racism and blind hate in
the face of ignorance and justifiable, though misguided, anger have left me
with despair for what could have and should have been a truly great country.
Even my best friend has expressed sentiments that have left me thinking that
I might not have a best friend any more.

It is my sincere hope that the guilty parities will be brought to justice,
that the US will improve its defensive measures to avoid tragedies like this
from reoccuring, and that all our people will come to realize that actions
are the true test of a human's character, rather than where they were born or
what religion (if any) they hold.  Violence will bring nothing but more of
the same, dooming us all to endless suffering, endless hate for the crimes of
old, and unending blindness to the true nature of humanity.


"Karma is a boomerang, here it comes again...
Feels like the country's just going 'round the bend
Spirit of the Age is coming home..."
  --Midnight Oil