Friday, May 6, 2011


While enjoying a cleansing hot/soapy shower on, hmmm -- was it September 11 maybe, and 2001 I believe was the year -- Robert handed the phone to me past the shower curtain. It was my sister. All she said was, "Turn on the television."

Keeping her on the line, I dripped my way down the hallway, into the living room, and turned on the TV. Standing there soaking-naked-wet, I watched in silence the repeating imagery of planes crashing into towers -- towers yet to crash to the ground.... I heard, as yet, no narrative.

"Oooooh," I said quietly. "we'd better start building more schools and hospitals around the world...." But I knew we wouldn't.

So did Osama binLaden. He knew we would explode into a fury of playground "hit back harder!" mentality. He knew we would fracture the fabric of our society, and stretch thin the financial and economic fabric of our nation. All he needed to do was make one stupendous, brilliantly engineered, visually stunning attack.... and then sit back and watch us fragment.

For that, I view him as a... what adjective can I use?.... worthy, true, formidable, challenging? ... nah. I'll stick with brilliant.... he was a brilliant opponent. And because of that, I am relieved to read that his body was treated respectfully, and given the proper religious rites of his faith, and that his body was relegated to the sea----that great equalizer that accepts all. And yes, I lit a stick of incense for his spirit... as I always light one for ourselves as well, we who are formidable opponents in our own way (I haven't seen much brilliance lately from our side).

And so NOW!!! Only today(!), in an English-language newspaper printed for us English-speakers in Mexico, do I read of the reaction that I asked for back then. Let me quote, with tears in my eyes:

"It's time to end the wars that have created more enemies than have been conquered. It's time to move forward... Bombs and guns aren't needed for that task. Teachers, doctors and engineers are the ones we need to enlist now. Democracy will come, sooner or later. One of the lessons I hope we have learned in recent months is that freedom can't be a genetically engineered crop.

"More than anything else, U.S foreigh policy must shift to reflect the best of what America has to offer. No longer can support for brutal dictators be justified in the name of so-called strategic interests at the expense of the democratic aspirations of people around the world. That murky euphemism for corporate profits and US goals must be redefined.

"Let the celebration that erupted on Sunday be a celebration for a new way of relating to each other...

"Let us celebrate our shared humanity, our shared global interest in the support of peace, justice, freedom, and the kind of prosperity that takes into account the consequences of nature itself, which is the foundation of all life on the planet we inhabit...."

(by Nafisa Haji of the Bloomsberg News; author of "The Sweetness of Tears" and "The Writing on My Forehead" -- article republished on Friday, May 6, 2011 in "The News" from Mexico: )

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