A MEMO TO OURSELVES
Even as the people of Afghanistan
it might be a good time for us to take
stock of ourselves,
who we are and what we
We seem to believe that if the
inhabitants of the
communities only got to know us better, and
we stand for, that they would understand us
may be so, but it can cut both ways.
much do we know about the rest of the world
and that area in particular, that we didn’t
after September 11? How many of us
knew where these
countries are, or really cared, in
spite of the fact that,
as we have seen, we ignore
them to our detriment and
claim to be educated but had never heard of
Chechnya, Kosovo and Afghanistan until
crisis occurred. We learn about Scotland
about Rome from “The
Greece from “Zorba”, and we
why do we study Geography in our schools if
pinpoint half the world on a map? Why
if it is only our own and gives no
mindset of those with whom we share
print media report regularly on happenings
but the man in the street today gets most
information from television news channels, and
to make any situation easier for us to
they often bring things down to the
if we understood others a little more, we
embrace them, too.
course, I am not referring to the terrorists
them. There is not a people on God’s earth
advocates terrorism as a matter of
to the ordinary person, in any country,
we, like it or not, have our own terrorists, who
capable of doing terrible evil as those abroad.
any victim of the IRA in Ireland, the ETA in
the Tim McVeigh in the USA.
does not always wear a turban. Sometimes it
a white sheet and a pointed hood.
it is always the result of ignorance, of fear of
and we are as susceptible as anyone
else. It is
easy to ridicule and condemn what we
and all sides are equally guilty of
wonder at the mentality of those who are so
beliefs, and so terribly paranoid
about them that
shun day-to-day discourse
with the ordinary man
hide themselves away in
caves to avoid serious contact
with those who do
not agree with their beliefs. Who
the teeth against whatever perceived
on their lifestyle.
yet we too have our paranoid groups, heavily
hiding out in mountain enclaves,
the sky for black helicopters
and waiting for
apocalypse that never comes.
have their suicide bombers, their people
the ultimate sacrifice for their often
beliefs, but so do we. Remember
It is said that “a
cause is not necessarily true, just
a man is prepared to die for it.”*
condemn those who use fundamentalism as an
inciting hatred, but we have our
have preachers who are as intolerant as any to
elsewhere; who preach hate and
divisiveness as so many
always in the name of God.
bemoan the tribalism that generates so much
we ourselves have our own ethnic
divisions, our own
biases and prejudices, our own
paint in broad
and it is not
always a pretty picture.
yet, with all our faults, we are basically good
trying our best in a less than perfect world
the right thing. But, in order to be equitable,
be fair, and honest with ourselves.
do not have a patent on Morality, only the
that comes from being a powerful country
many weaker ones, and the courage to hold
hand to our fellow man, regardless of how
may be from ourselves, and the
him to his own greatness,
in his own way.
the far-off people in far-off places, let us lead
example. We are all citizens of one globe, and
very diversity of our peoples that enriches
offer with pride, but not hubris, our best and
minds and our warmest hearts to help the
people of Afghanistan take the first steps
a path that we have long since trodden, and as
look back at what we have achieved let us also
with confidence to a time of peace and
prosperity, for all God’s creatures.
them, and for ourselves.