Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

I was only in third grade. What had happened was alluded to over morning announcements. I think the teachers understood. My teacher told us what happened, but didn't tell us about the number of fatalities, or that the third plane, headed for the Pentagon, may have even flown over us that morning. People started getting taken out of school one-by-one, but I think eventually the principal ordered that no one else leave (a lockdown, effectively). When I went home only then did I learn that thousands had passed away, New York City was a giant cloud of dust, and that there was a fuselage sticking out of the Pentagon.

I don't think that getting rid of Al-Qaeda or whomever is going to fix this problem. It seems to me like the the real issue is that the West (or rather, the more developed world) has taken the "invader" or "imperialist" stance several times towards the Middle East, which some smooth talkers like Osama bin Laden can misconstrue into an attack on Islam or whatever. You have Lawrence of Arabia, the English and French post-World War II, the creation of the state of Israel (and its inevitable backing by the West, even in light of frequent questionable actions), the Gulf War, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and so on. It doesn't help that some of Western culture (clothing and sexuality are the two most obvious examples) goes against Islamic teachings.

A friend of my father's phrased their motivation nicely: "greed for good deeds." In Islam, the ultimate good deed is dying while fighting for Islam--martyrdom. Martyrs are guaranteed heaven. Thing is, there isn't always a martyr-inviting situation ready. So the terrorists fabricated one. In Islam, it is forbidden to kill innocents, and killing a Muslim is explicitly referred to as comparable to having "killed all of humankind." Obviously, they feel like their supposed martyrdom carries more weight than the heavy sins of murder (or maybe they don't even understand what the Qur'an says, Greg Mortensen suggests). If that is what the Qur'an truly means, that's fine. But I have a hard time thinking that this was any sort of "holy war" at all. There is no physical war on Islam, and there hasn't been since the caliphate. Thanks to my basic education in a Western school, I know that. I guess the mountain-billies hiding in caves who've been planning these attacks don't know that.

Killing them is only going to encourage more young boys and girls to join their cause, as they see friends and family die, of whom many are innocent bystanders in the wrong place at the wrong time. Hopefully, given time, the presently-dysfunctional governments all over the Middle East can get these lawless areas under some more control and educate their people.

May God protect us from those loons.

(If you think this is a hateful or bigoted piece, send me an email and I'll explain to you why it most certainly is not)

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