Sunday, September 11, 2011

9/11/01 - 9/11/11 Lessons learned

So what have we as a nation learned in the ten years since 9/11/01?

I submit the primary lessons have focused on fear and hate.

Had we been attacked by radical Christian fundamentalists, like those who kill doctors who perform abortions or encourage the suicides of their followers, we would have been assured that these killers did not represent the goals and attitudes of the vast majority of Christians. We wouldn't have protested the building of Christian churches in this country, we wouldn't look nervously at everyone who wears a crucifix or worships the Christian god. We would not have been tempted to consider every Christian a potential mass murderer.

But those who flew the planes on 9/11 were Muslims, and Americans don't understand Islam or Muslims. We fear what we don't understand, especially when we believe it can hurt us. That's human nature. Fear, in some cases, can preserve our lives. And fear, nurtured over time, becomes hate. We hate that which makes us afraid.

Those who attacked us ten years ago hated us then and hate us now. They hate us because they fear us. They fear our religious beliefs, they fear our Western attitudes, they fear our motivations for being in their countries.

There's a solution to the cycle of fear and hate; knowledge. The more we understand something the less reason we have to fear it. The less we fear it the less reason we have to hate it.

It should be obvious by now that terrorism will never be defeated with guns and bombs. A militaristic approach simply provides more fuel to the fire of fear and hatred. We need to fight fear and hate with education and enlightenment. We need to encourage people to learn about each other, to meet and exchange their thoughts and opinions. They may never agree on much of what they believe, but in gaining understanding they will be less likely to fear and hate each other.

Besides coming to fear and hate Muslims, what did the events of 9/11/01 teach us?
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