The fifth anniversary of 9/11 I sat in bed quite ill. It seems that I’d gotten a nasty case of food poisoning. But in a way, just lying there letting the day pass, being utterly wretched felt appropriate. I suppose because I am sick, utterly and completely sick of all of it. I suppose that may make some people angry. But, I mourn the loss of life. It rocked me to my core. And I wish that I could give those lives back. I wish that I could heal the pain of each person who lost a father or mother or sister or son or daughter. As Americans we see this pain and we weep. We look at television and we are twisted with empathy. I suppose I wish that we could extend our empathy for the women and children and fathers and brothers and sons who are being killed right now by this country. I wish that we could extend our empathy for the people of East Timor. I wish that we as a nation did not prop up dictators when it serves our purposes and denounce them when it does not. I wish we would do something to prevent these events from happening again, something tangible like actually protecting our ports, advancing the dispersal of information that might help people instead of terrify them. Doing something to improve our response in the face of national tragedy as we so sadly did not after Hurricane Katrina.
I try hard not to let all of these thoughts walk with me every day. The sorrow for my nation as well as the deep pain that I feel for so many other injustices and tragedies that happen globally. I suppose my wish is that we all stay conscious 365 days a year, not just this one. I know that there are good people all over the world fighting for change. Fighting to feed starving children, fighting for humanity and life during genocide. I know that there are good people who help others in small ways, I also know that small things add up to greatness. I know that there is a net of love and kindness all over this world. So I suppose on this day, this horrible day when we are asked to remember our loss, that we take time to honor all of those who do not speak our language, who are not from our country, but who have suffered unendurable loss as well. I also ask that we do something, anything to prevent the loss of more human life, more suffering on this planet. In the words of the beautiful poet Marvin Gaye, who died of violence at the hands of his father:
“Brother, brother, there’s no need to escalate, war is not the answer, for only love can answer hate.”