Friday, September 11, 2009

9/11 Remembering...learning...acting

I, like many if not most Americans, have had the events of 9/11 on my mind all day. My heart still aches for those who died in fear and pain, and the families, friends, and shell-shocked nation they left behind. That pain extends to the perpetrators of the attack, who also lost their lives in an attempt to fulfil what they believed to be a God-given mission. My heart aches, too, for the affect that event had on this country and the world.

My friend Sitara sent a private email that I found particularly insightful and on target. With her permission, I'm sharing it here. It's a powerful call to action that each one of us can answer and that, if answered, can change the world.

Please read with an open mind, an open heart, and a willing spirit. Let us build peace from the ashes.

Greetings, dear friends...

Today is the anniversary of a recent disaster: the bombing of the WTC in New York. As you go through your day, you are likely to see many references to this event, memorial services being held, news coverage and hype. There's even a ritual vigil at the Chattanooga Spirit Gathering this evening (if you're planning to attend).

Remembering 9/11 isn't about hyping our military or the war or terror. As much as it may offend someone to hear it, those that died in the WTC bombings are no different or more special than anyone else who is the victim of a violent crime spurred by hate and prejudice in which the victim loses their life. Those that died on 9/11/01 are no different or more special than those killed by gay-haters, wife-beaters, child-molesters, rapist-murderers, Neo-Fascists, or the good old boys down the road who don't want a black person on their block. We have funerals for people lost to tragic circumstances, but rarely do we have repeated funerals, every year, with the brand of Patriot Day slapped on the funeral event to muscle everyone behind the memorial lest they be branded unpatriotic.

So, rather than light a candle and sit passively by looking patriotic, I would like to ask each of you a simple question:

What do you do daily to encourage peace?

The memorials being held are still mostly about the people holding them -- "Look at me! 9/11 is still important! I'm so patriotic! I'm so sad for the people who died and the families left behind!" But at these vigils, where is the money being taken up for Anti-Violence associations? Where is anything being done to change the NOW? A lit candle in the darkness does NOTHING except provide a bit of light to show the face of the person holding the candle. And if it's all about you, then it's not all about them, or the cause you're speaking out about.

We cannot bring about world peace by lighting candles. We can only bring about that peace by being the light. By becoming that force for good in the world, standing up for those oppressed, giving our time and money to organizations that mobilize for those goals. We bring about peace through our actions, and the first action must be seeking and embodying peace within ourselves so that we move in peaceful ways each day.

So tonight, I ask that you light no candle. I ask you to stand in the darkness and realize that you are the Light. I ask you to commit to one thing that you will do actively this year to promote and create peace, preferably in a way that extends beyond yourself. You may choose to pray daily, to volunteer for a local organization or make a monetary donation to a larger one. It's up to you.

Don't stand around holding a candle. Choose to be the fire that transforms the world.

Blessings on this day of action,
Lady Nefersitara

Photo by RickyDavid via Flickr

1 comment:

  1. So poignant and so intensely true! I think we willingly forget that, whether victim or perpetrator, families were torn apart on that day. That we seek peace for all, no matter what the "status," is the truest healing any of us can have. It may not be "PC" or widely accepted, but it is true and right and just. BB dearest friend!


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