This week I planned to write about campus issues. After all, the issues facing us as students seemed so important two days ago. Now it seems that there is nothing more ridiculous than bickering over ASM, seg fees, and what the Board of Regents is doing. I can’t think of anything more benign than the everyday conflicts in which we take part. We, as Americans and as human beings, have experienced a tragic attack on our livelihood.
After having some time to reflect on what has happened, I have settled on feelings of dull pain and bitter anger. The terrorists’ aim was to disrupt life and frighten us into inactivity. Making the general public feel vulnerable at all times is their goal.
We must not allow this to happen. As a people we can mourn our loss, pick up the pieces, and move forward. But we mustn’t allow atrocity to sway our beliefs in freedom. As a campus community we should support those who have lost loved ones and allow this moment to unite us.
Senator Chuck Schumer of New York asked every citizen of this country to fly an American flag this week, and I can’t think of a better way to show our oneness as a nation. Every citizen in this country is united now. We can all be proud of the way our nation has responded to this act of war.
There is something that I have seen first-hand that is an unnecessary by-product of this tragedy. I witnessed several people yelling racial slurs and threatening a young man of Arab descent.
This only adds to the damage. I think it is important to point out the fact that the suspected hijackers are of an extremist Islamic sect that refutes in every way the true teachings of Islam. Suicide and murder are not actions sanctioned by the teachings of Islam, and no one should associate those who trample those teachings with others of true faith.
Finally, I would like to address the students whom I have seen waving peace flags, and carrying signs around campus yesterday. I sympathize with those who wish the violence to end, and I hope that eventually peace will prevail.
However, those that perpetrated this act of war must pay, and they must pay dearly. Terrorists must not feel safe in this world. If we allow them to get away with this, the most heinous act of terrorism in history, there will be no end to the type of destruction we witnessed. There is a great need for solidarity right now, and even if you do not agree with the steps the government is taking you must support our country.
The justice department has begun the largest investigation in history to bring those responsible to justice. I can only hope that our reaction is swift and severe, and leaves little doubt in the mind of anyone who would have the effrontery to attack the United States that America will not back down. There is a time for peace and a time for war; this is not the time for peace.