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September 11, 2009

America was rocked to its core on September 11th.

I posted a question on Facebook today asking people what they were doing when they heard the news. You could hear the heaviness in the answers. A lot of my friends were pregnant and/or parents of young children. Myself included. You feel the weight of parenthood more than you could ever imagine when you think of protecting a child in a world where hate is more than just mean-spirited and ugly – a world where hate is deadly.

America rejoined the ranks of so many countries who have lost their citizens too soon. Every country has a story – every citizen remembers when hate took over where patience and acceptance should reside.

Today there was a September 11th Commemoration Service at the American Embassy. I went. I am so glad I did. You probably know by now that I am big on counting blessings. Consider them all counted today. Every single one.

Timothy Roemer, the American Ambassador, hosted the event and spoke about his time on the Congressional 9/11 Committee investigating what happened. Today, he focused on the flight that went down in Pennsylvania – about the heroes who refused to simply be victims. Did you know that the people on that flight took a vote before taking on the terrorists? Democracy in action.  Amazing. Even in the face of such hatred, they took the time to make everyone’s opinion count.

He talked about the parents who called the plane and had barely a minute to share the news with their loved ones. To hear their voices – probably very shaken. To tell them what was happening and to say goodbye. I cannot imagine.

Mr. Roemer emphasized the importance of not forgetting. Of remembering forever. He also emphasized equally the importance of finding the strength to be resilient. When we are too scared to care about one another, whether it be across driveways or across oceans, terrorism wins.

He talked about the families who put their anger aside to make a difference in the fight against terrorism. Who gave willingly of their time and energy and talents to make America a safer place. The families worked with Congressional leaders to change the way America works and protects itself.

To have such grace – I am not sure I could. And I hope and pray that no one ever has to dig that deep to forgive and move on again.

One Comment leave one →
  1. September 12, 2009 1:04 am

    I wish to make three statements here:

    1. First to answer you, I heard this news while in the hospital as my younger brother was undergoing treatment for jaundice…..I couldn’t believe my ears and the next moment, I started thinking of relatives and friends who were in NY and other places in US……few calls later, we came to know that everyone was fine; luckily a friend of mine got transfered to PA from his WTC office, few days ago only….And, my next reaction was of extreme anger……. wanted US to hunt those terr*rists down into their hideouts and annihilate the entire race that supports them…..I repeat “one” who supports them and not one who share the same faith as the perpetrators themselves….. I still hold that view!

    2. Another reality quickly dawned on me that with this first attack on US soil after Pearl Harbour; that US might recognize what India have been suffering for long- attacks from religious fundamentalists!……and will not lecture as to show restraint……History is replete with instances of innumerable attacks on India by religious fundamentalists and terr*r exported from P*kistan…and everytime US lectured India on exactly similar lines……”exercise restraint vis-a-vis P*kistan”……So when US was attacked, I knew what their response will be…..and it was on the expected lines …….. Deep down I was feeling that finally lives of ordinary Indians too will have a price! And US will not stop us from responding to the terr*rists……..

    Alas! it wasn’t supposed to be so……..India continues to suffer at the hands of Islamic terr*rists emanating from P*kistan and it doesn’t matter much to US as their strategic interests lies in working with P*kistan….value of an American life still commands much higher value than their Indian counterparts….and it is still not a question of human life but an American and Non American life……

    By US, I mean the establishment and not the general citizens like you n me…..

    3. As investigators went on doing their work, it became clear whose handiwork was that…..Os*ma and others! Who Os*ma? Of that same f*****g b*****d who till mid 80’s was fighting Russians on material/monetary and arms support provided by US establishment……someone who was a US ally….. Again, history is replete with many instances that the phrase-“As you sow, so shall you reap” is valid even in political and strategic scene…..Indira Gandhi (India’s former PM) is a case in point; she supported a terr*rist to contain Akalis in Punjab only to be killed by a terr*rist who toed that terr*rist’s line…..

    In the end, all I wish t conclude is that it is no one but ordinary citizens like you and me and others who have to bear the brunt of evil designs and games played by countries, India and US included!

    My heart still cries for each soul that had to depart their loved ones in 911 tragedy or other similar attacks… wasn’t their mistake and will never be theirs…..

    “May God give some sense to the evil perpetrators of acts against humanity so that no one suffers like sufferers or 911 or other similar tragic terr*rist activities……”

    Only that can work; else this policy of an eye for an eye will lead to blindness all over…….How right was Gandhi!

    As I have quoted Gandhi, I feel that we will be able to find the solution to this problem in him only…..

    Let me share a story that {I believe also featured in one of Al Gore’s book- that’s what i remember hearing P.V. Narsimha Rao (India’s PM of early nineties) mention during his address to the US Senate- Al Gore being the VP was in the chair)……

    Once, a mom whose son was fond of sugar took him to Gandhi…….apparently her son was in the awe of Gandhi and she believed that her son will quit eating sugar on Gandhi’s advice….

    She went up to him and said- Can you please counsel my son and ask him to quite sugar….Gandhi remained mum……and told her to come after few months; which she did……This time Gandhi told her son to quit sugar……Surprised woman asked Gandhi as to why he waited so long to tell him this small thing…….He said-” I can’t counsel someone in doing something that I can’t avoid….so, I had to work on my habit first!”

    US and allies can’t expect to buy peace with the world unless they stop doing what they are doing in Ir*q , Afgh*nistan and elsewhere…..Just the other day (4th Sep), 60 civilians lost their lives in a NATO attack in Kunduz…. I wonder how those 60 civilians were any different than their WTC counterparts!……One lost lives at the hands of terr*rists while others did that at the hands of forces… short, people who died in both the attacks were ordinary civilians, again like you and me!

    So, here is the remedy:

    – Promote democracy in the middle east; esp Saudi Arab- there is a case for promoting it in the right earnest at the grass root level instead of failed African experiment of putting stooges in power- It is Saudi money which is fuelling all the wahabi fundamentalism…..

    – There is a case for restoration of Palistine’s land back to them…..working on Israel can work…

    – Deal with P*kistan effectively… has all the potential to become the biggest cancer for the mankind……promote real democracy, and don’t do to them what US did to Afgh*ns… early 90’s…

    – Promote non oil technologies in a big way…..

    – Last but not the least, have a big inter-faith dialogue……there is a case to put religion back inside those 4 walls of a home……it was meant to be there only…..

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