With time, healing from 9/11 is possible

By Amanda Ayers

Opinions Editor

After reading Gabriella’s remarks regarding the healing of our nation now a decade after the events of Sept. 11, 2001, I cannot help but respectfully disagree with some of the points she raises.

First, Gabriella talks of the Bush administration’s focus on revenge and how this motivated and justified U.S. intervention in the Middle East. The act of revenge can be defined as “avenging (oneself) by retaliating in kind or degree; Inflicting injury in return for.” U.S. involvement in the Middle East was not simply for the purpose of “getting back at” Muslim extremists. President Bush’s intent was not to give the Middle East a dose of its own medicine just because we could or to first and foremost heal the American people. Rather, the aim was to ensure the future domestic security of our nation from extremists (never implying all Muslims) that espouse  beliefs that are fundamentally in opposition to the United States and the American way of life. I agree with Gabriella’s observation that revenge is cyclical; however, in this case, I do not think that the United States was acting out of revenge. Intervention in the Middle East had a purpose far greater than getting “rid of a bad guy … and his terrorist group.”

When Gabriella spoke of the night when the “hoards of the most patriotic Americans took to the streets in celebration of Osama’s death,” I could not help but smile and vividly recall partaking in those events myself. The merriment for me, however, came not from a sense of finally “getting what we wanted,” but rather from knowing that we as a nation had taken a step forward in combating everything anti-American that Osama bin Ladin stood for. This was exactly the kind of forward movement that, as Gabriella observed, is necessary for a nation to heal from a collective trauma like the Sept. 11 attacks. Yes, we only killed one man, but he was symbolic of something larger than just himself.

While it would be ignorant of me to suggest that the nation is completely healed from the atrocities that occurred a decade ago, as evidenced by the polemic surrounding the building of the Mosque near Ground Zero, I think that this healing is absolutely possible in the future. What our nation needs is more time. To use Gabriella’s reference to the Christian Crusades, the majority of the population is probably not upset about those simply because they occurred centuries ago. It has nothing to do with the fact that they were carried out by Christians. While I don’t think that it’s necessarily “moral” to associate all Muslims with the extremists that carried out the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, I can sympathize with those who are sensitive to the building of a mosque in such close proximity to Ground Zero.  I don’t think that these people are plagued by “Islamophobia”–they can perfectly well distinguish between an average Islam-practicing American citizen and a fanatic terrorist. The Sept. 11 attacks occurred 10 years ago, which is a relatively small amount of time. The problem is that the terrorists were so overtly and radically Islam that people still, having only had 10 years, automatically associate the beliefs of loyal Islam-practicing American citizens with those of  the far-out terrorists. It’s not that they are being immoral, but rather need more time before they can subconsciously discern between the two. In bringing up this point, I am neither praising nor admonishing their way of thinking; rather, I am saying that it is for this reason that I can understand why they are uncomfortable with the idea of the Mosque.  I do think there will come a day when this will no longer be a reality, made possible by events that move us forward like Osama bin Ladin’s death did. We still need more time, but we’ll get there.

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