This I Believe

Kelli - Bellaire, Texas
Entered on September 7, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

This I Believe: The Fire

Ask Yourself:

There is a fire. How do you put it out?

Would you (a) add more fire to the existing fire, or (b) use water?

You might say, “Well, that question is stupid beyond reason. Everybody knows that you do not put out fire with fire, but with water”. If this question is so easily answered, why can’t the most powerful and influential people in our world put out the flame?


Lets look at the situation that has held a monopoly over our news stations since September 11, 2001. Yep, you guessed it: terrorism. Modern technology has not only engineered those great inventions that we couldn’t picture ourselves living without (television, microwaves, computers, the list goes on); it has also opened up countless doors for terrorist agencies. Therefore, it is impossible for us to anticipate every single plot made against us and even more impossible for us to do anything to prevent these plots. In a futile attempt to protect our country, the government has passed a series of laws limiting our actions. No longer can you bring water bottles onto airplanes. What will this prevent? Liquid bombs aren’t the terrorists’ only option. What’s next? While we are over here worrying about an airplane exploding and several hundred dying, our entire country is vulnerable in ways we never expected. How do we react? We declare war on Iraq in search of nuclear weapons. Clearly this is as futile a task as attempting to find a needle in a haystack. Can we really expect to find a weapon that could be anywhere in the world and that is in the hands of people who are bent upon us not finding it? Not only are we attempting the inconceivable, we are also worsening the situation by increasing the terrorists’ abhorrence towards our country.

When we use violence to fight violence we are only feeding the flame. Doing so continues what I call “the cycle”: hatred causes violence which causes death and despair which causes hatred which, in turn, causes more violence. There has been an estimated 41,000- 46,000 Iraqis killed as a result of our invasion of Iraq. The despair of losing family, friends, loved ones because of death and destruction and violence causes hatred towards the source of the despair (in this case the Americans). Hatred then causes people to join terrorist organizations and increases the fervor with which they fight back. The cycle continues.


Although I am nobody’s mathematician, I will now apply my simple formula: fire + water = no fire, to the real world problem. We have the substitution of fire: violence; now we must find the substitution of water. What can we use in place of water? Is there even a solution that can ameliorate situations such as terrorism to the extent of water extinguishing a flame? I honestly cannot say, but, if I were in any position of power, I would most certainly push for peaceable negotiations. These people are not violent without reason; they have been driven to violence by our unfair actions. If we understand them as human beings and discuss with them what is causing their hatred and also remain open to FAIR NEGOTIATIONS (a phobia of the current leader of our executive branch, may he remain nameless), then perhaps, just perhaps, we could finally improve the world instead of wreaking havoc on each other. The question is: are we ready to make sacrifices in the name of world peace?