If God's On Our Side, He'll Stop the Next War
I was heading to the nearest coffee shop in Manhattan Tuesday morning when
I looked to the south (because everyone I passed was doing so) and saw the
smoke billowing from the World Trade Center's two towers. My desire for
coffee was put on hold as I stood there with 50 other folks and stared as
first one, then the other, towers collapsed to the ground. While I
watched, I listened to the conversation around me and, along with the news
broadcast coming from a radio in the crowd, figured out that two plans had
crashed into the towers setting them aflame and killing countless numbers
of innocents. Meanwhile, another plane had been crashed into the Pentagon,
killing even more folks. As the morning wore on, news reports and rumors
filtered in regarding other flights and bombings and the locking down of
Manhattan. Meanwhile, my thoughts were on finding out how long I would be
stuck in New York City, getting in touch with my family in Vermont, and
finding my friend in Manhattan who was to have reported to work in the
disaster zone that morning. In addition, I was trying to digest the
meaning and enormity of what I had just witnessed and what it would mean
for the world in the days and years ahead.
By day's end, I had contacted my family and assured them I was okay, found
my friend hanging out in the Village, and figured out that the earliest I
was going to leave Manhattan would be on Thursday, September 13th. I still
didn't have a clue, however, as to the meaning or enormity of the day's
tragic events. The only thing I knew for sure was that, if these acts were
truly those of some terrorist group angered at the United States' role in
the world, especially as regarded their particular part of it, then the man
standing next to me on the corner that morning was absolutely right when he
looked at me and stated: "It's like Malcolm (X) said, brother, those
chickens come home to roost sometimes." Too bad there is no positive way
to say that and, even worse, too bad it is the innocents who have to pay.
And will probably pay even more in the future both at home and abroad,
especially if war is declared by whatever coalition of the world's
governments the U.S. convinces to join their capital crusade.
There can be no winners if war is the route the United States chooses.
Only the war industry and the coffin builders will profit. Oh yeah, and
those who thrive on death and killing on all sides. Justice is what we
should be calling for, not revenge--and the two should never be confused.
My godson Savon was born Thursday, 46 years to the day after I was born. I
want him to live to be more than twice my age and I want him to live in a
world where hatred in all of its disguises-nationalism, racism, religious
and cultural bigotry, sexism and homophobia-is nonexistent. To achieve
this, it is imperative that we continue our struggle for global justice:
economic, social, and political. Callous disregard for human life, whether
at the hand of a terrorist wielding a knife or an air force bomber pilot
pushing a button in his cockpit, will achieve none of the above. Fair and
equal access and distribution of our planet's multiple resources will.
(The title of this piece is borrowed from Bob Dylan's song With God On Our
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