Today is September 11th. A Tuesday even, just like it was 6 years ago. It’s a day that can hardly go unmarked. Many will talk about what the day means, I’m sure many already have. But others will just remember in silence.

I’m sad today about the events of that awful day. That shocking, appalling, mind-numbingly terrible day. I don’t have the right words to describe the tragedy of that day, the grief of those who lost loved ones, the fear and hardship of those who died, or even of those who survived. I can mostly say that I am sad.

But I’m also sad about what’s happened to the world since then. Because even more people have suffered. More have died tragic and violent deaths. The loss continues.

In the hours and days after the news of the September 11th attacks broke, the world was a changed place. There was an outpouring of solidarity from people the world over. I was moved by the images of people in many countries displaying US flags, holding vigils, displaying signs with words of sympathy. “We are all Americans, today.” As an American by birth, I was humbled. I am humbled. There was the sense that many individuals who were critical of the US, hostile towards the US, even, overlooked our differences, and joined together in grief. More than anything, I felt the shared humanity.

Naive as it sounds, I thought that maybe that moment of shared humanity could lead towards peace. So much hostility was dropped in the face of such sadness, in the face of the horror and outrage, that I imagined the avenues of diplomacy opened.

Of course, I was wrong.

Instead, the attacks of September 11th were used by the US government as a license to wage war. The tragedy and brutality of that day have been used as a political tool, to spread fear and hatred. The result has been more tragedy and brutality. More fear and hatred.

So now my grief for the victims of September 11th is compounded. I grieve for victims in Afghanistan. I grieve for victims in Iraq. I grieve for the soldiers, American and other nationalities, who have lost their lives. I grieve for the pain and physical hardship, for the psychological traumas, that all of these people have gone through. That they continue to go through. I feel for all of their families. I feel for the refugees. I feel for the prisoners. And for the many, many others whose lives are impacted. And I am sick with worry that violence will continue to escalate. The murmurings of a war with Iran quite frankly scare the crap out of me.

There is too much to fear, too much to grieve for.

And on top of it all, I still carry grief for that lost opportunity to wage peace.

6 responses to “squandered

  1. Yes, yes, and again, yes. We took worldwide good will, and turned it against us. It’s horrible and shameful. We have inflicted upon others years of horror, in supposed retaliation for our day of sorrow. I mourn with you.

  2. Someone in power, on either side, needs to understand that violence only begets violence, and to take the difficult step to say ‘enough is enough’, cut their losses and walk away.

    The idea that the continued presence of troops, American, Australian or otherwise, in Iraq is beneficial to that country, is a fiction. It’s even becoming clear that the reason our respective governments are so stubborn in their Iraq policy is because of electoral imperatives. Playing with the lives of soldiers, not to mention innocent civilians, is certainly no way to conduct local politics.

    Moreover, contrary to various governments’ (stated) beliefs, waging war against a third-party country in retaliation for an attack they had nothing to do with, except for the assumed in-principle support, does not dissuade would-be terrorists. It actually encourages them to take up arms and fight against the oppressor in an unjust war.

    Finally, the way in which the horrific attacks of 2001 were hijacked for this purpose sickens me greatly, and is disillusioning to my hopes of a better, more peaceful planet.

  3. That is sad dear. But again being in grief doesn’t really help and is of no use. Get up and do something so that next year you would not have to say the same. You have a beautiful mind, mind of a human which is comparable to that of God, get up and work against those who created this grief, who compounded what happened 6 years back. Collect evidences make people aware of these opportunists politicians who play with people life to make some $$$ and to enforce their supremacy on helpless and innocents. Take action do something!!!!……

  4. Alejna. Thank you. Thank you for saying this. It’s exactly what I have been feeling but have felt unable to say because it was not my loss – at least not in any way more than every loss of a person in any place in the world on any given day. I take comfort that there are those whose loss it is who are saying the same things.

  5. It was squandered. In the wise words of Dr. Seuss: such a shame, such a shame, such a shame.

    And you’re right the fear and violence just marches on.

  6. Painted-
    I think it helps the grief to know that others also grieve.

    I know what you mean about the disillusionment.

    Thanks for your comment, though I disagree that grief is useless. Acknowledging grief and discussing the causes are in themselves a form of action. There are other actions to take, and you are right in that, and I am looking into more ways that I can get involved.

    Thank you. It was hard for me to put into words, so it helps to learn that others have also felt this way.

    Yes, such a shame.

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