by Sharif M. Abdullah
Prayers for the Departed; Compassion for the Injured:
First, I think all of us should take a break from the television and
radio broadcasts, light a candle and say a few prayers:
Next, those of us who have been injured physically, mentally,
emotionally and spiritually our compassion and prayers for healing.
For the rest of us hope that our compassion and understanding
exceeds our fear, our anger and our desire for revenge.
Chickens Coming Home to Roost:
There are some very, very angry people out there in the world. Part
of their anger is in not being heard. People who do not feel heard will
do ANYTHING to get ones attention.
Or, you hear the anger yet ignore it these people can't possibly
hurt you in your middle-class, gated community, your gated lives. "We"
feel "protected" by our "security".
The US government has ignored these angry people, calling ANY attack
against the US or its interests "unprovoked".
Culture and Consciousness:
A few years ago, when I was in the Sri Lanka war zone, we passed two
young men who were acting in a way that I believed was consistent with
Tamil Tiger attack spotters. I mentioned this to my Sinhalese companion,
who said, "Thats impossible; those boys are Sinhalese."
I asked him, "Is it possible for a Sinhala person to be in sympathy
with the Tigers?" He looked at me as though my head had jumped
off my shoulders and flew around the room.
Like the Oklahoma City bombing, the first (and predominant) thought
is that the perpetrators are Islamic fundamentalists, Americas
favorite "Other". We are programmed to not hear or understand
them. Americans were in "shock" when the "foreign terrorist"
turned out to be blue-eyed Timothy McVeigh.
Let's not rush to see "the Other" as in any way different
from yourself. The people who steered those planes arent "crazy,
cowardly fanatics". They are people whose spiritual emptiness and
frustration led them to commit these acts. Lets not think that
their emptiness is any different than our own.
Forgiveness and Weakness:
We may find it difficult to forgive, because many of us equate forgiveness
with weakness. In the face of attack, we want to attack back. We want
to find the perpetrators and make them hurt, the way that we are hurting.
We believe its the only way we can relieve our pain.
We have to find another way.
Many of us have been talking about a change of consciousness. Many
of us think that it is THE OTHER who must change; it is THE OTHER who
must change their consciousness. They point to their favorite "Other";
people of different ethnicity, class or power status.
It's not "the Other" who must change first its "us".
Beefing Security and Preventing Terrorism:
There is no way to stop a coordinated suicide attack. I repeat: there
is NO WAY to stop a suicide attack. The suicide attackers in Sri Lanka,
in the Middle East, and now in the US have a way of making their point,
with ever increasing accuracy and deadliness.
We cannot do this without the capacity to transform ourselves.
Sharif M. Abdullah