I Don’t Mean Any Disrespect

by Michelle

But today of all days, I have to say this. I have very mixed feelings about today. My heart breaks for the families who lost loved ones and the photographs and stories from this fateful day ten years ago makes my stomach churn. I am so grateful for the first responders and everything they gave up that day. I feel the pain of 9/11 in the depths of my soul, but that doesn’t mean I am ignorant to its causes and the things that have happened since. George Bush is quoted as saying, “America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world. And no one will keep that light from shining.” This is sentimental and though I am sure it meant a lot to people when he said it, it simply isn’t true. America was targeted for attack because of its constant military presence and political meddling in the Middle East for many years. There is no mistaking the message that Al Qaeda was trying to send when they attacked the towers ten years ago: Get out of our homeland. I know that it is heart breaking, shocking and maddening all at once when something like this happens on our own soil, but just imagine what is like to grow up in a land constantly torn apart by war. Where one minute you are looking at your home and in the blink of an eye it has been destroyed and half your family is dead. In places like Afghanistan things like this are a reality for too many  families. The United States and The Soviet Union used the Middle East as its pawns in a war that they should not have been involved in. The United States provided dictators with weapons and the ability to slaughter countless men, women and children. To this day we still support the atrocities that Israel commits again Palestinians. We call what they did to us a terrorist attack while we call what we do to them shock and awe tactics. How is one different from the other? We terrorize their people and their leaders into running their countries the way we see best, killing countless innocent people in the process. And if you can’t identify with Middle Eastern people, how about the countless military lives we have lost? Since 9/11 we have started two wars in the Middle East and over four thousand military lives have been lost. I can’t say for sure, but I’d like to believe that the loved ones we lost in 9/11 would not consider even more American lives lost an homage to their deaths. You can’t fight terrorism with terrorism. I don’t mean to disrespect those who lost their lives, I mean to honor them by acknowledging that perhaps we need to change our view on the world so things like this don’t keep happening. All this killing will be the end of us all. I fear what will happen if we don’t start having compassion for others, even if we can’t understand them or their customs.