In response to my last post, Conversations, Part I , I received this comment from a good friend in the States: "The families of the victims of 9-11 are asking the same question, and the dead victims would ask if they could: 'I didn't do anything wrong. Why am I being punished for something I didn't do?' Maybe your friends can relate?"
I'm not really sure how to respond to this. I know by what I've heard from some students that when 9-11 is mentioned here, the response usually involves numbers of civilian deaths being compared. A good deal of Bush bashing is also often included. I would rather not discuss these topics as I don't find it helpful. I'm much more concerned with forgiveness and healing.
Concerning this question, "Why am I being punished for something I didn't do?" I don't know the answer. But I can see from the perspective of the victims on either side. I remember how it felt to be terrified, watching the twin towers fall and being worried that my family in the military might not come home. I also remember the group of little Iraqi kids, who lived in the same building as me, and who couldn't hear because their ear drums were so damaged by explosions.
I once heard (though I can't remember where) a tradition of forgiveness practiced in some part of Africa. If someone is murdered, once the murderer is caught he is bound up and thrown into the middle of a lake. The victims family is then given a choice: take revenge by allowing the murderer to drown, or save his life and be free of grief.
Whose life can I save? If freedom comes by giving life, how can I give more? How can I live forgiveness? Maybe these are the better questions to ask.