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11Sep

9/11: The Day Pandora Walked Out of Her Box

Though I have a lot to do today. I have been flicking from one news channel to the other, just to see what they are all saying as the world remembers 9/11.  One thing is certain, I am overloaded with information and I have now had enough. It is newsworthy but I am not sure how much more I can take. The wound feels fresh for me, who did not lose anyone. Hence, try and imagine how those who lost loved ones feel today? I have read numerous Facebook status asking ‘where were you when it happened?’ I can never forget where I was. I was hooked up to a dialysis machine when the news broke and saw the second plane, going into the second tower as the tragedy unfolded. Nine years on, my life is very different from the days of dialysis but the world is still fighting with the monster of terrorism that was unleashed on that fateful day.

Today, war rages in Afghanistan and Pakistan continues to fight the ills of terrorism and suicide bombings on its soil. What’s sad is the continuous mistrust between the nation on whose soil this heinous crime was committed and the backlash with Islam. What has made this year’s anniversary more dramatic are the events leading up to it; the proposed building of an Islamic Centre near Ground Zero and  the preacher man, Pastor Terry Jones, who planned to burn Quran’s but has since stopped and I for one hope it remains that way.

I will not lie about this. When I first heard about the plans to build an Islamic Centre near the site of 9/11, I thought it was insensitive, not because the group of people/individuals who own the building, and are planning to turn it into a place for learning and ‘building bridges’ are wrong. It is not that they do not have the right to build either. For me, it was simply the arguments and pain that would ensure, especially for those, whose loved ones were cruelly taken from them. However, one must acknowldege that Muslims also died on the day and like the other victims, had no hand in what happened to them. Overall, it just seemed like another Pandora box was about to be opened and it was one that would force all sides to tread carefully in order to avoid giving the extremists another reason to say, ‘See, we have always said, America is against Islam.’ It is a shame that thousands were killed in the name of a religion and that is the way many people still view it. Yes, it must be separated but that has not happened and the fact that numerous books which do nothing but add to the feud, as to what and who was responsible for 9/11 have been written, does not help either.

I have given thought to the fact that the world has not really moved on and I do not not think America has moved on from that day either. Its impact and residue will always be in people’s hearts and minds. America calls itself land of the free but we cannot be naive and say, we all think the same way. Every human being has a right to believe in a higher being of their choice, belong to a religion and serve their god the way they want to but we cannot deny that the actions of a few has put a ‘Scarlett Letter’ mark on millions of people. Bottom-line, many people still blame Islam for what happened and find it hard to differentiate between being an ordinary Muslim to being an extremist.  No matter the number of Presidents or people who say, America is not at war with Islam, it is a message that will take time to percolate down to the grassroots, where people do not trust Islam or see it as a peaceful religion. While it is an unfortunate and sad reality, we cannot move away from respecting each other to hating, and allowing discord to fester for generations to come. More than 3,000 people from over 80 countries died but the majority of lives lost, were Americans. Hence, there are those who feel violated by what happened. In my humble opinion, the world was violated by the barbaric act of a few crazy and deluded assholes. Who wouldn’t? When someone comes into your home and strikes at the heart of what you hold dearly, reduces you to your knees but more so, takes the lives of your children and laughs in your face while doing so; this would be painful for anyone to take in.

Due to the high level of distrust, so many people have been subjected to pain because of their religion. You hear horror stories of mistreatment at airports and discrimination based on a person’s faith and you wonder, where did it all go wrong and how did we get here in a space of 10 years? What I find disturbing  is when a group of people get together and decide to take actions, which will do nothing but provoke and evoke, negative reactions and emotions. Terry Jones being the best example that comes to mind right now.The memory of 9/11 is a pain that’s forever etched in the psyche of American history and society. As I write there are plans for a demonstration against the Islamic Centre near Ground Zero. On the other hand there are those who will also march in favour of it. So, I ask, when will Pandora go back into her box? When will respect and tolerance return? I sure hope it happens in my lifetime.

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One Response to “9/11: The Day Pandora Walked Out of Her Box”

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Renal Dialysis, Belinda Otas. Belinda Otas said: 9/11: The Day Pandora Walked Out of Her Box http://bit.ly/diHSUo via @AddToAny […]

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