U.S. partly to blame
For the last eleven years I have lived as an American in the Middle East, including six years in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and the last five in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. In early June, while in the U.A.E., I read headlines in the Gulf News like “Palestinians use all means to defend selves” and “Palestinian killed, unrest flares in West Bank.”
One week later, while on a plane from Amsterdam to Detroit I picked up a USA Today and read contrasting headlines, reading “Israeli shot and killed” or “Ten wounded in Palestinian suicide bombing.” In light of the recent occurrences of terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, many Americans are pointing fingers at not just Osama bin Laden but at the entire Arab world. This hatred toward the Arab world has come from anti-Arab propaganda in the press and movies stereotyping Arabs as terrorists.
While in the U.A.E., I became friends with several Palestinians. They were all extremely passionate about their homeland and people, because their family members were fighting for their homes, property, and pride back in the occupied territories. Terrible stories would come back about Israeli officials taking a Palestinian community’s only source of drinking water to fill Israeli pools and water their lawns. A large portion of the Israeli population feels superior to Palestinians and will continue to kill, blunder, and attack Palestinian communities.
So why is the United States providing Israel with billions of dollars in weapons and military training every year? Why would they support a country in the United Nations that does not carry out the American belief for justice and fairness for all? The press does not give us the answer, or even ask the question.
The terrorist act committed on Sept. 11 was a horrible and heinous act and is not excusable in any circumstances. Killing innocent civilians is not the way to send a message to the United States. In fact, it has caused more hatred and discrimination of Arab-Americans and the Middle East. But the American public needs to realize that the United States has done some horrible things internationally and the press altered the truth. Education is the first step to understanding, and this is a time to learn and understand why people feel this way about America.
Situation mandates war
Benjamin Thompson made the right call in his column last Wednesday. War is indeed an ugly thing. But far worse is doing nothing. Last October, the USS Cole was bombed, again with all evidence pointing to Osama bin Laden. What was done in retaliation? Nothing. The lack of retaliation was pure negligence.
Now, given the events of last Tuesday, the situation not only warrants war, it mandates war.
Nathaniel T. Lauterbach,
Stop circle of violence
We have reached a time to mourn, reflect and forge toward peace and forgiveness. Our families and friends are saddened, angered, and in shock over the loss of loved ones and fellow Americans. Today, let us also recognize how many around the world have felt similar pains and anger associated with violence and war on a daily basis. Let us also stop the cycle of violence and look for another way of coping. Let us as a nation look at the opportunity to forgive.
We forgive not because those who chose to do this terrorist activity deserve forgiveness; rather, we forgive for ourselves. We forgive because we can choose how to react to those who wrong us, and we can choose how we want to live: in a world that is peaceful and filled with understanding of others.
The United States is the most powerful of nations and has the unique opportunity to show the world that power may come in many forms. As a university, as a nation, consider the option of changing the way the world looks at retribution. The United States can today become an example of alternative ways to look for an end to the violence. We will not forget what happened, but we can prevent it from continuing by choosing a path of forgiveness to resolve this conflict. Let those who died in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania be most glorified by the peace their legacy will have brought to this world.
We can extract justice in the system the world has set up to handle such criminal actions. However, let it be justice without retribution and collateral damage to those who feel pain and loss just as we do as a nation. Let us take time to think of our own actions, to think of what type of world we wish to live in.
Remember the words “an eye for an eye leaves everyone blind,” and begin to search for a new way.
UW graduate student