Wednesday, July 11, 2007

9/11 - The pain 01-09-23

Our collective pain! What do we do now!

Mirza A. Beg
Tuscaloosa News, Sunday, Sept 23rd 2001

This is a time of great consternation and sadness in our land. Lives have been lost, dreams destroyed and indescribable individual sufferings have left a gaping hole in the collective soul of all of us as Americans. The repercussions from the fall out of this tragedy are strewn with potential peril for our country and the world. The tragedy has struck nothing can be done to nullify it, though each new morning for a second we feel normal then get jolted to the new reality. We can, and we must learn lessons from it. I hope and pray they will be the right lessons. We have to be strong spiritually and emotionally. The immediate reaction of the shocked and angry populace will be to call for revenge, a flailing revenge. It is of utmost importance for us to plan a suitable and just punishment, not an ill-considered revenge. We should remember Sarajevo in 1914, when a terrorist act started a chain reaction and the European powers inescapably followed each other over the precipice to the First World War.

The world is a lot smaller and better connected than in 1914. Those who have suffered at the hands of an oppressive regime, a powerful covetous enemy, or have lost a loved one simply because they belonged to a different ethnic group, religion or tribe are potentially capable of taking revenge, because the doors to justice were closed to them. They were considered too week to matter. A great power can inflict a swift overwhelming revenge to satisfy an angry populace but a small seemingly helpless man without any recourse becomes a zealot. He may take years to plan and inflict damage when the rest of the world has forgotten the injury done by its complacence or at times compliance.

Examples of individual revenge are many, from the assassins of the 12th century to the Armenians extracting revenge from the Turkish Government in the 1970s. The time has come for the major Governments of the world to insure a mechanism to institute justice for the dispossessed and oppressed people of the world. Some groups come to mind without much effort, Palestinians, Kurds, Armenians, Chechniyans, Moros, Hindus in Pakistan, Muslims and Kashmiris in India and till very recently Bosnians, Kosovars, Christians in Indonesia and Catholics in Northern Ireland. There are myriad more in Africa, Asia and Latin America. All these stories of isolated oppressions, so far from us, ignored by the world some time coalesce and some time inevitably become bigger and reek havoc on sleeping peaceful populace unaware of the lingering cancer nurtured by the inattention and occasionally connivance of the major powers.

The United Nations was founded to ameliorate these situations, From American, Vietnam War the Soviet war in Afghanistan. Major powers have violated the principles that they so strongly purported to uphold. In the last quarter century the major powers, especially the U.S. and Western Europe have taken great strides towards helping the oppressed in Europe, but they have been complacent and at times partisan in the conflicts in other parts of the world. United States is the only superpower left after the fall of the Soviet hegemony. The response of the United States to this tragedy should be strong, measured and just punishment, meted out to the culprits mindful of the collateral damage. Not bombing just to score domestic political points as in the case of bombing of the aspirin factory in Sudan.

America is a land from sea to shining sea, It is beautiful and our Flag stands for liberty. But above all America is an Idea, a sublime idea, translated into action it becomes a Country, based on Justice and liberty. Our actions should be for the right cause, for the right reason and in the right spirit. Our Government should strive to make sure that people in the United States and around the world should see it as such. This is a test, for our leaders. Will they be Statesmen working for the good of the country and future or the next election, poll ratings and office?

Mirza A. Beg can be contacted at

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