My thoughts regarding recent events
9-11-2001

Well. Clearly, some truly abominable stuff has happened, and may continue to happen. Of course, abominable things have happened from the beginning of time, and aren't ever going to stop. America's various foreign policies and actions bear a certain degree of responsibility for what's going on, but that's no good excuse for terrorism. There's no such thing as a good excuse for it. Hopefully, we live in a world in which any sane person could see some sort of official recourse, channels to go through to make their legitimate grievances heard. Admittedly, such efforts have been made and indeed have never ceased, often to very little if any avail. It can be unbearably frustrating how impossible it seems to be to cure the world's countless ills, and satisfy everyone. It is not possible to satisfy some people, but these are generally extremists, and not truly representative of the people they may claim to represent. If their people do agree to any degree with such extremists, it is usually because their legitimate grievances are not being heard, or at least not being seriously addressed. If those in a position to do so would take such things more seriously, make genuine efforts to fix the problems, then there would be very little support for the extremists. There are countless problems in the world which need addressing. For starters, every single human being on the planet must come to see that every single human being on the planet is fundamentally equal, that everyone deserves equal rights of every kind. And the people and nations that say they believe this need to demonstrate it through their actions. As it is, we can very often seem a great bunch of hypocrites. We must not help or accept help from any nations which obviously do not agree with our most basic beliefs (such as the fundamental equality of all human beings, and everyone's right to practice their own religion, etc.) We must also strive to create a world in which everyone has an acceptable standard of living, and the opportunities for proper education and advancement. A world in which no one is hungry or homeless or unemployed, or hated or repressed based on nationality, race, gender, religion, orienation, age, financial or social class, or any other arbitrary line of division. Not only must all individuals be able to have homes, but so must all collective peoples have that chance. Anyone who disagrees with these ideas is, in my opinion, an extremist. That being said, I do understand that many issues are of complexity beyond my ability to settle or fully comprehend. Nevertheless, negotiation is the only answer; but it must be done in good faith by all parties, with the genuine best interest of all parties concerned, not merely their own interests.

Major pipe dreams, have I, the born idealist. In the meantime, let's at least strive, as Americans or citizens of similarly-minded nations, to remember the ideals we are meant to hold. Never stereotype anyone for any reason, never deal from ignorance, never hold the actions of a few (who completely fail to understand the prime tenets of the religion to which they claim to adhere, be it Judaism, Christianity, Islam, or any other) against the larger group, most of whom will hold the few extremists in as much contempt as you do. Be patriotic, but avoid nationalism. No country on Earth is perfect, certainly not America. Extremists may not need justifiable reasons for their thoughts or actions, but they do need reasons to persuade others to follow them. Always remember that the western world has provided some of those reasons; even if some of it is pure propaganda, some of it is legitimate. We need to fix that, and act as we always should have. We must do our best to help those who need our help, without imposing our beliefs on them. And while we may need to engage in war as well as relief efforts at home and abroad, we cannot afford to abandon our own civil liberties. Without them, our homeland could become very like the oppressive and repressive regimes we fight. We do not now fight nations, we fight tyrannical groups which control nations against the wills of their people. We do not want to simply get rid of governments we disagree with and set up new ones who will see things however we tell them they should. We want to get rid of oppressive governments so that the people will have the ability to freely elect their own governments now and forever, so that all the world's governments will be of the people, by the people, and for the people- even if they disagree with us. And when all governments truly represent the feelings of their peoples, we must do our best not to give them just cause to hate us.

And just so you know, I'm not saying the U.S. and its allies have not been trying to fix these problems. Obviously we have. We've done a hell of a lot to fight hunger, poverty, hatred, ignorance, oppression, and attempted to help mediate many complex disagreements between nations and groups each with valid grievances or points of view. We've done a great deal to advance the cause of democracy and equality over the years, through diplomacy when possible and war or sanctions when necessary (though such things may go on longer than is necessary sometimes). And sometimes it's just not possible to fix the problems, or it will obviously take a great deal longer than some people are willing to wait. Even so, as much as we do and as hopeless as it sometimes seems, there's always considerably more we could and should be doing. We certainly shouldn't wait until a crisis arises to step up our efforts, nor should we slacken in our efforts, nor abandon our "allies of convenience" once a short-term goal is achieved. True alliances and efforts to improve the world for everyone, should be ongoing, to the best of our abilities, for as long as it takes to achieve such long-term goals.

Well, I guess that's all I can think to say for the moment. Maybe I'll say more later, maybe not. Meanwhile, if you have any questions or comments, you can reach me at ektomage@lycos.com.


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