|How do we rebuild?
The only true way to fight this is with ideas
By Alborz Bahmani
February 4, 2002
This story was emailed five days after the September 11 terrorist attacks.
It's quiet almost too quiet. Life goes on here but there's a muted stillness in the
air. Traffic seems to go slower than usual in the bayou city. Conversations begin
and end on shorthand, a few words and glance is all that's needed. Lovers snuggle
against one another pausing wondering is this the last?
The sky is empty and clear, I now kinda know what it feels like to be living in the
19th century. Horror, fear, and vengeance are in the feelings of today. People have
eyes and ears glued listening and seeing the instant replay footage of destruction
play over and over edited with multiple camera angles, and a voice over track. I
glad didn't see the MTV news edit version of it. It's unhealthy. Bright side at least
no "The View"
Christ I can imagine those corporate pop culture spinsters
trivialize this, "Yes Meredith, it is a horrible thing I feel bad for the families,
and when we return what's Hot in Fall paramilitary fashion". War is the word
of the day. Seriously I'm scared and shocked like everyone else. I keep myself sane
with humor poking fun at the absurdity of it all, hoping Rod Serling would come out,
and do his monologue.
Somehow we all find our own way to cope with it. Flashbacks of Operation Desert Storm
enter my head all along the taunts "Sand Nigger", and the ass whupping
I received in middle school for it. Seems like being or even having some sort of
Middle Eastern heritage is about the same as being black in the 60's, born suspect.
If you have even have 1/10th blood in you, that one tenth is all that matters.
Today my mother suggested it would be all right if I legally changed my last name
to her maiden Gutierrez. "It's better to do it while your young," she says
as I imagine myself "outed" for hiding half of my heritage in some congressional
committee on anti American activities. I imagine Americans of Mideastern descent
buying lawn mowers, and chevy pickup trucks moving into Hispanic neighborhoods to
hide from persecution. Habib is now Jesus (pronounced Hey-Zeus), and Mohamed is now
This is not the old school type of war most of grew up remembering, this is guerilla
warfare. It's a fight against a network not a country. They are there not because
have to, but they are given the idea that they want to. Our darkside is overshadowed
in their heads, dehumanizing us as we do to some extent to them.
The only true way to fight this is with ideas, and facts. Just killing and bombing
the bastards will create more atrocities, and more bastards to begin with. Most of
their population is under and uneducated group of manchilds under-25 years who only
know how to do one thing fight.
Also we the United States trained them in the Cold War, and left them after it ended.
It's easier to fight than learn how to read, make a better life for yourself in a
part of the world with no stable economic infrastructure. It takes less effort to
bomb than to build something more permanent than a dirt road. Women in a small town
in Pakistan had to band together in an abstinance strike to get their village to
get running water as opposed to walking 3 miles to the nearest well.
It's funny how the political pendulum swings a couple
days ago we were in the middle, and now it's swung fully to the right. One moment
we're introspective examining ourselves seeing what's wrong the picture, the next
moment we're clinging to what we believe is left of it. A change from Kerouac's "On
the Road" to Heinlien's "Starship Troopers".
In the end after whatever is left standing, how do we rebuild?
I hope I can reach my goal of being a storytelle. I still plan attending NYU. I'm
not going to run either, but in the meantime in between time, I'm gonna chill, live
life and play the cards life has dealt me the best way I can.
Alborz Shawn Bahmani is a junior Communications Major at University of Houston.