It was Thanksgiving night 2008 and my parents, uncles, aunts, cousins were all fixated on CNN and the various Indian news channels available via satellite. We were hoping for some sign on TV that my father’s cousin and wife in Mumbai, India were safe at home or even better, a “we’re ok” call. The couple was eating dinner at the restaurant Tiffin in the Oberoi hotel the night of the terrorist attacks on India’s financial capital. That evening, I truly understood that terrorism is not just an issue that the United States is facing, but it is one that threatens countries from all corners of the world.
Climate change, the current financial crisis, extreme poverty, HIV/AIDS, child labor, and of course terrorism are only few of the calamities that affect the world population and one nation, no matter how powerful or how rich, cannot solve even one these problems alone.
These issues engulf all populations—whether you are male or female, a capitalist or a communist, Muslim or Christian. And despite these explicit, unambiguous disparities, we all share enormous similarities. John F. Kennedy words have echoed through this planet, “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”
I believe that we, humanity, can achieve global cooperation. I believe that the inherent similarities that exist among global populations have a larger impact than the differences of ideology and race. We need move towards collaborative solutions today. We have seen that unilateralism is not the answer and that diplomacy exists. We have seen that global cooperation has prevented disastrous aftermaths before and thus has the potential to succeed again. Global cooperation is possible once again. This I believe.
The Friday morning after Thanksgiving Day and a long two days after the attacks first began, we learned that the couple died when terrorists rampaged through the kitchen into the dining floor. Friends, family, including their two young daughters, and strangers all came together to mourn over an unimaginable loss.
I can’t seem to grasp my head around the concept of terrorism and don’t think I ever will. It is beyond me why someone would want to steal the lives of innocent beings, but what I do know that is that humanity shares a common fate on the earth. If we do not link our hands together now, these issues will only escalate and bring a fate that we all fear.
I am a hopeful soul. We cannot relinquish the dream of world peace shared by UN leaders, beauty pageant queens, and elementary school children all alike. The first step to this overly optimistic goal of peace is to focus on the more practical approach of diplomatic global cooperation. Diversity should not be a barrier to protecting this planet, but instead it should be a vehicle for governments, corporations, and individuals to find innovative solutions together. And this I truly believe.
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