We Still Don’t Ask Why

English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes in...

English: United Airlines Flight 175 crashes into the south tower of the World Trade Center complex in New York City during the September 11 attacks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really had no plans to right about 9/11 today. At first it was because I could not really think of what to say about it that had not been said before. Then, days before, I already had 9/11 fatigue. Sorry, but it is true. Just thinking about it exhausts me, because I know dozen years later that we still have learned nothing from that awful day. I am tired knowing that all this time after, despite a month or so worth of chanting “we are all New Yorkers” the good will that came from sharing a common foe has broken down into the old fight over which people from which race/region/religion are “real” Americans. Mostly I am just plain beat because in all this time, too few are willing to ask why it happened to begin with.

My word choice above is important. I said “ask” not “say.” Because so many people are willing to say why they think 9/11 happened. So many people will tell you it is because Muslims hate our freedom. Some will blame the Republicans for ignoring the evidence. Others will blame Democrats for “coddling” terrorists during the Clinton years (I wonder if the victims of Billy’s missile lobbing at Sudan feel coddled?) A few think it was an inside job, and all of them have answers. They know they are right and the solutions are oh-so simple. No one actually asks any questions.

No one asks why, after 12,000 years of human civilization, we are still so willing to kill each other. No one wonders why, despite millenia of discovery and curiosity, we do not put more effort in creating ways to interact with each other that does not involve violence. No one considers all the events that bring a terrorist, or lone wolf killer, or abuser to the actions they engage in. We just know they hate us, or are psycho, or selfish. We never ask what made them that way, so we will never be able to prevent it.

We never ask if there is any way we can make the world a better place by changing ourselves. Can we stop tacitly approving of governments that kill far more people than we lost on 9/11 all in the name of protecting or furthering corporate interests? We never challenge ourselves to reflect on the ripples our action and inaction send across an entire world. We never look inward to see if we are helping to raise angry children on the other side of the Earth, children who later will be willing to sacrifice their lives to end others’.

What those dozen or so Arabs and Egyptians (note, not Iraqi, Afghan, or Syrian) did all those years ago was unconscionable. It was vicious and cruel. The men who convinced them to kill themselves to send a message to us were manipulative cowards. There is absolutely no excuse for what they did and not one of those who died at their hands that day deserved it. That does not excuse us from being responsible citizens of the planet, from doing our duty as thinking, ethical creatures and asking what we might have done, what we can still do, to prevent these things from happening. Twelve years later we still don’t ask why, and that is just asking for it to happen again.


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