I wonder what the World Trade Center looked like from space?
More people have died today, collectively, than has happened in a terrorist attack perhaps ever before. It makes me wonder if the perils of human overcrowding will come into peoples thoughts at all. It makes me want to go live in a forest, as far from anything remotely resembling a city as I can possibly get. We create targets. The World Trade Center was a symbol of business, wealth, consumerism, all that it means to be a successful American citizen. The attack on the government buildings, the Pentagon, should be obvious enough… those who are attacking will certainly hit military offices if at all possible, if only to prove some point of theirs.
Whether or not any of this was expected has little impact, unless there is some war-crazed person who knew this would happen, allowing it as acceptable losses to spur America into war. Americans are quick to anger. Perhaps the comparisons to Pearl Harbor are intentional, to some degree – the last major attack on American soil that pushed them over the edge into joining a battle that they claimed wasn’t theirs. But we’ll likely never know that for certain, and besides, that sort of thing only happens in action movies where a good guy is so single-minded with hate that he allows such a thing to happen. Then again, an organized, multi-target terrorist attack of this scale only happened in movies too… until now.
And god forbid anyone have any other news to tell today. There is nothing that can rival such an event, and maybe it shouldn’t… barring perhaps another event of mass destruction, related or otherwise. We’ve forgotten the Typhoon currently hitting Japan… it’s irrelevant, it won’t kill as many people, it’s not as shocking, violent, happening to the USA… or as inhuman. Inhuman. Now there’s a word. A typhoon is more inhuman than any terrorist attack could possibly be. Humans don’t create typhoons and send them across the oceans.
We may not understand these acts, we may never feel as the people who have attacked so many innocents do. And so we call the acts inhuman, the people who do them incapable of compassion, of caring for other humans. No one wants to imagine that these people have passion, they feel, they Hate… and where there is hate, there is love. You hate something because, in some real or imagined way, it has done harm to something you love. Where there is hate, there is always love. But most of us don’t see it that way.
We don’t understand why people would do this… but the President of the United States of America makes official statements saying “Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down and punish those responsible for these cowardly acts.” Eye for an eye. Make sure they’re tried in a state where the death penalty still stands, so as to really get your money’s worth. Punish them good! Attack their country, wipe them out like the blemish that they are!
Except that doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t make those people any less human. For right now, it’s still a matter of the nameless, faceless “they,” and they are human.
Hate. Fear. Confusion. Anger. Pain. Death. Uncertainty. Rumours. Panic. Hate. Hate. Always Hate.
But why? I didn’t do anything to them. Why do they hate me? Why did they kill me? Why did they kill my friends? Why did they attack my home?
And what if, by some outside unlikely chance, they are a government body, organized, prepared for a full-scale assault on the United States? War, on North American soil. None of us can remember the last time that happened – it’s all in history books now, they called it the war of 1812. Millions of people working in their offices, receptionists, sales analysts, programmers, doctors, teachers, students, children, you, me… do they have jobs, do they have schools in those other, far-off war-torn countries? Do they live like we do? If war came here, would we live like they do, on television with gunfire all around, children in tattered clothing running in streets with soldiers… support the Christian children’s fund, adopt little Marybeth here in Miami for only 25 cents a day…
Rally behind the President, support him in the actions he will have to take in the next few days to retaliate against this act of war. Be a good American citizen, obey the call, he is your leader. I fear him, and his actions in the next few days, as much as anything else right now. He is, after all, in control of a very angry country, which happens to be in possession of a high-powered military force. He is angry. His people are angry. They hate. Eye for an eye.
We don’t know what will happen. We don’t know what choices will be made, we don’t even know what’s been going on for the past day beyond what we see with our own eyes, and what they choose to tell us. And when will they tell us more? How much more do we get to know? I guess that depends on what, exactly, they intend to say about it. It depends, perhaps, on how much the government needs the hate of the nation behind them, supporting their actions, whatever they may be.
I thought it was bad when the Oklahoma bombing happened… and I thought to myself, “It could have been so much worse.” There were more people killed in the jets alone than in the entire Oklahoma building. The loss of human life today is staggering, it catches my breath in my throat, it stuns me to silence, it’s beyond my comprehension. And they have no idea yet of just how many lives were lost. Lives of people I don’t know, shouldn’t care about. It’s unthinkable, and yet no one can stop thinking about it. I can’t help the ache I have inside for those people who were thinking about dinner, planning their weekends, annoyed with their girlfriend, just as anyone does… and then stopped. Just… stopped. They no longer are. I don’t have to have known them each specifically, or even be a second cousin twice removed of someone who might have been there, to mourn the loss of their lives, to feel for their families, to shed tears over them. Because, honestly, even though I’m in another country, even though it’s highly unlikely, there’s always that thought, that moment of hesitation – it could have been me. Chance could have put me there. Or you. It happened to them.