Seven Years Later
I'm sure that every tribute imaginable has been proffered in the name of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and yet, seven years later, it is as important as ever that this event not be minimized. Like so many cataclysmic crimes, we often can immediately call to mind a visual of the perpetrator (be that Osama bin Laden, or, more tragically, a group of generic Middle Eastern-looking men) but not the victims . Memorializing this event without politicizing its context seems difficult. Even in its immediate aftermath seven years ago, when I attended a candlelight vigil in UC Berkeley's Sproul Plaza, it took all of five minutes and two speakers before the tone of the wake became one not of remembrance, but of blame: our nation, the great Satan, was the true terrorist. Through our actions, we had invited our own demise; the terrorists were acting out of centuries of mistreatment and injustice.
Without exonerating the crimes of the past, which perhaps can never be truly redeemed by future generations anyway, I'd like to suggest that we put aside our political differences and remember the lives that were lost on that fateful day. Many have commented that the attacks ushered in a new era; and certainly, our strategies have changed in light of a new type of threat. But maybe this kind of evil has always existed; only the tools and methods of carrying it out have changed. Perhaps many of us have similar aims - to reduce the injustice in the world - but different ideas of how that plays out in everyday life and politics. The fact remains that seven years ago, nearly 3,000 people died in an act that cannot be justified, no matter how much self-hatred some desire to pour into it. Among the 3,000 victims were children , husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, those with aspirations of greatness, those with potential that hadn't yet been truly realized. Families still suffer because of the senseless killing that took place on that day. So on this day, rather than focusing on the plethora of conspiracy theories in existence or on refuting them, I propose that we save that for tomorrow. Today, let's ponder the tragedy of a life prematurely ended, and value the ones who are still with us.