The morning of September 11, 2001:
– 157 people die on the hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and the United Airlines Flight 175 upon crashing into the Twin Towers of World Trade Center in New York City. 2,606 people die in the towers and on the ground.
– 64 people die on the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 upon crashing into Pentagon. 125 people die at the Pentagon.
– 44 people die on the United Airlines Flight 93 when crashing near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after brave passengers fight the hijackers.
– Of the 246 people dead on the four planes, 19 are cowards responsible for suicide attacks: al Qaeda terrorists who hijacked the flights.
As the day of tragedy and despair unfolded, as thousands of lives were lost in an instant, the growing fear, anger, and helplessness instigated the chain of events that inevitably led to more tragedy and despair, to more pain and death over ensuing years.
Isn’t it extremely sad and wrong that “democratic” and “developed” societies we built aren’t able to surmount the effects of anger and urge for revenge – the enemies of humanity and just societies – and only respond to evil with evil? That they are based on the assumption that we can secure peace only by military strength and readiness for war?
There’s no good war and bad peace. There’s only bad war and good peace.
I don’t want it to be naïve and futile in my hoping that the day will come when human beings will finally understand that peace cannot be reached or kept by force and war. Or maybe a real achievement lies in the attempt to reach the understanding and not in reaching it?
I’m convinced that nothing will end hate and violence unless we refuse to yield to it in the first place. I hope I won’t yield to it ever again.
Securing peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly, a yearly process. The process that could gradually change opinions, slowly wear down old barriers, quietly build new structures.
As life continues after September 11, 2001, as I try to honor all the victims of terrorism and violence, as I say “rest in peace” to the dead, I hope for peace for the survivors and for the rest of us.
I hope September 11, 2011 will be a good day. A hopeful day. A peaceful day.
“In a gentle way, you can shake the world” – Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi.