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A Reason to Die

At the time of this writing, the toll from the disaster in New York, Washington and from the air is still being counted. Undoubtedly the final count will exceed five thousand casualties, a number that surpasses the infamous attack on Pearl Harbour in 1941 that brought the United States into the European conflict.

On television, on radio and in newspapers, there are words about retaliation, pay-back, a need to show that such immoral deeds cannot and should not be allowed to go unpunished, and yet, not more than a few weeks prior, we heard words counselling Israel to show restraint, patience, and compromise when confronted by terrorism from within.

How tragic that it took such a calamity to awaken the giant from brokering a policy of restraint to that of retaliation. Death is death, whether it is an American or an Israeli. When death comes from terrorism, the victims inevitably will always be the innocent. How could it be otherwise?

Who else is vulnerable?

Who feels the pain more?

In Israel, the victims are the people - Israeli and Palestinian. How diabolical that the Jew goes to Israel to live, looking for hope and promise, and the Palestinian living on the peripheral of this land of dreams, lives in poverty, hopelessness and is taught hate. Only a stone's throw apart are communities with complete opposite views on life, one anxious to build, the other to destroy.

Hate begets hate. Hate feeds on hopelessness and the children living with the pain of life learn not to build but to destroy. There can never be a winner as long as there is no hope for living, for what is a terrorist but someone who sees in his own death a reason why he lived, a spectre, a ghost, whose spirit harbours a dedication to meet death with open arms, unlike the Nazis who shouted their artificial superiority aloud and avoided death. Terrorists are men and women whose weapons are their bodies, rather than the highly sophisticated technology that can cause death. How much does it cost to give up your body? What better weapon can adapt within its enemies, assimilate with the neighbourhood, develop, even alter plans within seconds if the need be, always with a finger on the destruct button, ready to detonate and take with him that which he has been taught to hate.

Children are not born with hate. They are taught. As long as despair and hopelessness will prevail, so will there be an army of terrorism. Like puppy farms, the army is being bred and only lacks financing. The real culprits are not, in my mind, those who die believing, but those who feed on their pain under the guise of religion or political upmanship.

They are the real enemies.

They imprison the pawns.

They impoverish the children.

They deny them a future.

The United States has now been subjected to a blow that has opened their eyes that they are vulnerable. The greatest and strongest country in the world has casualties - real casualties and on their own land. The innocent have died and their death will cause blood to flow.

It is inevitable.

But let it not be for revenge.

Let it be for justice.

Let it be not to get back.

Let it be to stop the carnage everywhere.

Let it not be because they have the power.

Let it be to prove that there is nothing more important than life. That death is the end of life, not the reason for life.

Let it be for the generations of children as yet untainted, whether they are American, Canadian, Israeli, Palestinian or Muslim, Roman Catholic or Protestant, white or black. Let it be for a better future.

And let it be over quickly.


New Generation: October 2001