Toward a New Paradigm: suggestions of appropriate responses to the events of Sept. 11, 2001
We would like to hear from our visitors suggestions of how we can assist humanity in growing and moving forward from this situation, away from vengeful thinking and toward a new paradigm of world family. Also any news of efforts in this direction wherever they may be taking place. Thank you for your participation, prayers, and efforts.
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If Terrorists can use modern technology for a heinous purpose, perhaps Reasonable Citizens of Planet Earth can use a modern global communication network to promote Peace. Please pass this message to anyone you think will pay heed.
What follows is an open letter from Tamim Ansary, a writer in San Francisco, and the
son of a former Afghan
I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing. I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.
But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.
Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.
We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.
New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time
So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.
And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?
An Open Response to Tamim:
I have often looked to Eastern Philosophy when I am conflicted. I offer a quote from the I Ching:
"If Evil is branded, it thinks of weapons. If we do it the favor of fighting against it blow for blow, we lose in the end because thus we, ourselves get entangled in hatred and passion.... The best way to fight Evil is to make energetic progress in the Good."
What if The U.S., together with all our NATO allies, Flew over Afghanistan dropping food and medicine? Would other Islamic countries complain? Could we ever be accused of atrocities? Would not the entire Human race applaud our acts and help us force the perpetrators of the attack against the U.S.to stand trial for their actions?
I know this is an insane notion. I must be crazy to think it, but does it sound any more rational to think that "Bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age" will end Terrorism? Consider this:
On its way to the World Trade Center, the American Airlines flight from Boston flew directly over Indian Point, an active Nuclear powered generating plant only forty miles north of Manhattan..
If the terrorists had been thinking strategically instead of politically, America would now be measuring a return to "normalcy" in terms of radioactive half-life. Are we, as citizens of a very fragile planet, willing to risk future catastrophic reprisals from a "cult of ignorant psychotics" by stooping to their level of barbarism? For our own Sake...
PLEASE... Let us use strenuous effort to make Peace prevail on Earth.
Joe Di Gennaro
This message is excellent and informative, but it has a fatal flaw. It does not mention the only person whoever lived on earth that can bring peace, Jesus Christ. If the Jews of the middle east had followed Christ 2000 years ago this would not be a problem today. However, it is never to too late follow his tenets....Love your enemies as implied in the food drop suggestion, but food without the Gospel would fail too like all of man's attempts in these situations. The Taliban would get the goods like other such air drops in these cases. It may be better to drop missionaries, food and troops ...they would all be needed. Also, if the terrorist plane had hit the Indian Point Nuclear Plant near New York many more lives would have been saved because the plant's staff is only in the hundreds, and more importantly the plant was designed to with stand such an accident like all US commercial nuclear plants. - Don Gillispie
A HOPI ELDER SPEAKS
"You have been telling the people that this is the Eleventh Hour
From Poppa Neutrino in response to Don Gillispie's comments: I agree that Christ is the answer, but part of my mission is to show it with action and love and not with words. To go to a Muslim Nation and preach Christ is futile. To go to a Muslim Nation and live Christ is the way. When I meet people I let them know gently through words, at the right time, that I am a Christian, and I never mention it again. I am attempting to express the beatitudes through my ministry without saying a word. Christ consciousness embraces every living being on the face of the earth.
A violent response to violence can only further the cycle of violence and destruction. No good can possibly come out of seeking retribution. We know that prayer helps and all of us who believe in a greater power must pray more earnestly and sincerely than ever before that this madness will stop before it spirals into something even more horrible that we have already seen. Pray that our leaders will somehow hear the still, small voice of love and not respond with war. NTH
I thought I had something to say until I saw the conditions imposed. So.... I'll realize that I still do, but I'll change it to your specifications. You cannot assist humanity in doing anything. Humanity will do what it will. You can only do what you think is correct, without thinking. (i.e. act don't speak) Without succumbing to the 'larger', (and I use the term facetiously) concepts of divine morality, spiritual cleanliness, or personal enlightenment that have allowed us to judge, sentence and condemn those who harm us as bad, evil, or "less than ourselves". We need to realize that noone thinks of themselves as evil. A child, though he has been told not to, does not think himself to be evil when he steps on a bug or takes a cookie from the cookie jar. ----Blah-Blah --Lost my train of thought
Train of thought regained... We all want more than what we are. When we think of creating, we think of creating something better. When we think of doing, we think of doing something better. How long will it take, and how many more will die, before we tie this concept into our concept of God and thereby realize both what we are and what we can be.
Peace will be gained when the evil is vanquished. Love thy neighbor but it is difficult when he is holding a gun on you juan de la paz
"A Native American grandfather was talking to his grandson about how he felt. He said, 'I feel as if I have two wolves fighting in my heart. One wolf is the vengeful, angry, violent one. The other wolf is the loving, compassionate one.' The grandson asked him, 'Which wolf will win the fight in your heart?' The grandfather answered: 'The one I feed.'" ..........Native American Story Through much prayer and healing I have uncovered the original source of my rage. I know the Great Spirit has given a great gift with this healing.
Letter from an American friend in Ireland, dated Oct. 24th.: The IRA decommissioned their weapons yesterday. Even a few days ago that seemed impossible. Many believe that the step was finally taken as a direct result of the attacks of 11 September, that no one here wants to carry the name terrorist anymore. I was at the house of some close friends here when the news broke. My friend's uncles were in the IRA; they had blown up the Coast Guard station near Eyeries in 1916, were dragged through the streets of Bantry, and then exiled to Canada. We shed tears when my friend quietly said, "It's over." May this new beginning be of some solace to the families and loved ones of those who have lost their lives in the U.S. over the past weeks. May a spirit of true and lasting reconciliation be behind this unprecedented action and may that spirit ripple through our world and make a difference.
Praying is the way to go in daily life; with the creative power of our thoughts we can individually (and collectively stronger) aim to the better for the whole mankind. But its a long proces, there are many people on the road, its a long cortege, people far ahead, people in the middle, many people coming after. All going in the same inevitable direction. ... Too much to tell, all is said but all must be repeated for those coming after. All day and every new day brings astonishing new good things to the prayer. Reveilings are brought to his mind as if whirling in a spiral of miracles. All this makes him more confident; the anxieties resulting from the rude material envelope will fade away. It never happens suddenly but rather like fog at dawn. This is speaking from a very comfortable position, I know, but it is this circumstance that offers the opportunity to take the responsability for what must be done. Dont let this occasion aside: pray, act in the good way, do the good things, observe, learn, read, and most of all use your creative power only in a selfless manner, ask in our pray for the creative powers and they will be given to U. Pray for them coming after in this long seemingly interminable procession. Pray and do the good things. Joseph Heeren.
February 29, 2004 (leap year day!) Thanks for the opportunity to post comments. A note on the various responses that talk about the "christian" way of responding to the world. Whether we call it Christian, Muslim, the One Way, the Path, the Force - what does the name matter? Language is just a set of symbols we place on a meaning. And isn't the true meaning of Christianity the same as the true meaning of Islam, or the true meaning of Buddhism? The right and true concept behind all these religions and names is the same (and each religion, and each set of written books within each religion, can be interpreted by men, fallible beings, in a good way or a misconstrued, misleading, and downright wrong or evil way). The true path is the same, no matter what name your religion is. Since I was raised a Christian, the Biblical quote that comes to mind is "all find what they truly seek". If you truly seek the path, you will find it, whether you call it Christianity, Islam, or whatever.
education, reduce the human population
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