Literally every day since September 11, 2001 – no matter where I am or what I’m doing – I look at a clock at exactly 9:11. I feel a connection with that day that I cannot explain. Like most Americans, I can tell you where I was and what I was doing when the second plane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center. But, although I feel connected, I have a very different perspective of that day than most Americans.
We are upon the 10th anniversary of the horrific event that took the lives of 2,819 people and changed the lives of every American forever. Every day at 9:11, my heart goes out to those who lost a loved one. But I don’t feel the sympathy for America that comes every year at this time. Why not? Because I value every life the same, whether it’s an American life, a Palestinian life, a Jewish life, a Christian life or a Muslim life. I value humanity and it doesn’t matter if that human lives in Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa or America.
So, what does that mean?
That means that the Arabs and Muslims that have been killed in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank are just as human as the 2,819 that died on American soil on 9-11.
That means that the 56,000 military plus 3,500 civilians – all Muslims – killed in Desert Storm were just as loved by their families as the 2,819 that died on 9-11.
That means that the 32,000 civilians killed in Afghanistan since 2001 were just as valued by their country as the 2,819 that died on 9-11.
That means that the 100,000 people who have died due to UN sanctions on Iraq were just as important as the 2,819 that died on 9-11.
Every death is equally important. No more. No less.
So, when we – Americans – speak of 9-11 as if that one incident started the war on terror or signaled the end of the world, those in other countries who know what terror really is and those who know what war and the end of the world really feels like because they live in it every day, wonder why we – Americans – can’t see the hypocrisy, the arrogance, the elitism and the national supremacy that is so obvious in how we look at what has been happening to them over many of their lifetimes compared to what happened to us on that one day – September 11, 2001.
When we, the most powerful country in the world, begin to value life – every life – as much as we value an American life, others will do the same. They will value American lives just as they value their own lives. Maybe then we can prevent another terror attack on American soil.
Thank you so much for reading my op-eds. I would love to hear from you. Did anything resonate with you? Let me know in the comments below.
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As always, thank you for allowing me to share in your journey to purpose. I am forever grateful.