Rachelle Lyndaker Schlabach remembers the horrors of September 11, 2001 and looks at the United States’ response to the tragedy, which has resulted in tens of thousands of additional deaths. An excerpt from her Third Way Cafe Article:
How do we as a nation respond to our complicity in the suffering of Afghans and Iraqis? A study by several social psychologists indicated that the trauma Americans feel from the Sept. 11 attacks makes us lesslikely to empathize with the grief of Iraqis and, perhaps more disturbing, less likely to feel any responsibility for it. They theorize that President Bush’s statements linking the Sept. 11 attacks with Iraq (despite evidence to the contrary) has led to an attitude of “they had it coming.”
I’m reminded of a conversation last year with Rabbi Jeremy Milgrom of Rabbis for Human Rights. Our delegation from Mennonite Church USA had just toured Yad Vashem, Israel’s holocaust memorial. Rabbi Milgrom commented to our group that people use the phrase “never again,” but really mean “never again to us.” What we should all be working toward, he suggested, is “never again to anyone.”
May we, as a church, find ways to help our nation transform our pain from the Sept. 11 attacks into a deep passion that no one should suffer from violence again.