This I Believe

Paul - Landfall, Minnesota
Entered on September 11, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
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September 11, 2006 – Have We Learned? Anything?

I believe we chose revenge and missed the immediate lessons of 9/11. Islamic fundamentalism is a highly committed religious system that sees materialism as evil. To make this point some sacrificed their lives to destroy the World Trade Center and attempt to destroy the Pentagon. We focus on 3000 people who died in the “Twin Towers” (notice the shift in focus with the name change) rather than the thousands who starve every day because of our economic and military policies. We talk about terrorists and amp up our fear, but ignore the fear of the millions who face sickness, starvation, unemployment and brutal fascist regimes to keep our corporations fat and happy.

I believe we are missing the long term lessons as well. That living in fear is not healthy and limits our mental capacity. That war is not a solution, it only creates more suffering and escalates the violence. That as long as there is injustice there will be terrorists. That the long term effects of our materialism, global warming being only one, will make 9/11 insignificant. That allowing our government to play on our fears and surrendering our rights in response may not be a good long term choice. Yesterday my wife and I were singing: “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn.”

I believe we need to take a long hard look at our values. For my part I: Facilitate restorative justice circles, supporting teens to learn from their mistakes, rather than punishing them. Teach English Language Learning so immigrants can become valued and valuable members of the community. Study the dynamics of community building so I can be a more effective citizen and leader. Get involved in neighborhood issues. Volunteer in my neighborhood to help those who cannot help themselves. Speak up for peace and justice, from bumper stickers to rallies. And if I am not more effective my grandchildren will not have the same opportunity to speak up and contribute. This I believe.