It is not enough to condemn these acts
By David E. Price
September 18, 2001
The first patriotic duty of every non-Arab non-Muslim American is to
embrace his fellow Muslim and/or Arab American. Now is the time for every
non-Muslim family to walk across the street to their Muslim neighbor's house
with love and the ability to embrace him, as your neighbor and fellow American.
In this way, we actively physically and emotionally demarcate ourselves,
show how we are different from every other Western country. By this deed
at this time, we reiterate why you chose to come to this country, to become
one of us. I say this not only as an American, but proudly as a Jew.
It is particularly important that we do this precisely because the animals
who did this horrific act, were Muslim Arabs. If we begin to view any one
of us as a fifth column, or have open hatred or distrust amongst us, then
the destruction done will not have ended when we bury the bodies of our
loved ones. Our enemies, process of hatred can begin to spread amongst us,
like a cancer, and we will no longer freely openly act as one, but like
a cancer, cut off one part of our whole.
We must have peace between us here and embrace each other closely if
we are to now turn and heave the broadsword together to sever this snake's
head. We must have as much love and respect for each other in peace, as
we shall have to have resolve and anger in war, else the balance shall fall
heavier in anger, pulling us down as a people.
And much resolve we will need, as much blood shall have to be spilt.
Therefore let us now begin the process with love, and never lose sight of
the balance. It is not enough to condemn these acts. We must condemn the
mentality of the acts.
Never again do I want to hear that we Americans need to "understand
the root causes of terrorism". Blowing innocent people out of buildings
cannot be dignified by pathetic attempts at ethnic or religious rationale.
Nor does it only effect we here: Algeria has lost more civilians in the
past three years than all of American dead in Vietnam -- Muslims slaughtering
whole Muslim families -- women and children, all in the name of God. This
aberrant form of Islam is just that. It is not fundamental, it is radical
and did not exist in our grandparents, day.
And to the Taliban... what should I say? You are an uneducated and unimportant
people of the poorest nation on Earth, 1/3 of your population lives outside
your borders and the other 2/3s is starving. Do we, the most powerful benevolent
nation need to negotiate with you? For what? It is because of you that we
are burying our dead.
I say openly to the Taliban, we are a good and decent people by nature.
You give us Bin Laden's head in a bag, and Kabul shall stand, resist and
you and your whole capital can join him in hell. That's it. And if Kabul
shall burn, then Tripoli, Damascus and Tehran shall draw their lessons.
They are great and ancient cities, and their people are not starving as
Having something to lose can make one suspiciously rational. They must
understand that we are not afraid of making them suffer. It is not our choice,
but theirs. But if they continue to give refuge, provide false passports,
send weapons in diplomatic pouches and we continue to bury our dead... then
they write their own epitaph.
So I say as of this moment at least be on notice and don't claim that
our action is based on hatred of the way you look or speak. That is both
morally and intellectually offensive as well as counterfactual.
Autumn is now among us, and as the leaves fall, it is time for us to
turn many leaves. The way we treat our neighbors, the way we allow ourselves
to be treated. And never to forget, just as King Solomon wrote in Kehilot,
or Ecclesiastes, just as there is a time for love, and to build things up,
so too there is a time for war and bloodshed. This is, unfortunately, also
part of the balance of life.
More important even than the outcome of this war, is it's definition.
It must be, without any obfuscation, a war in which, we, the multiethnic,
multilingual and multireligious of the free and democratic America strike
hard against a band of criminals who pervert to name of God in seeking rationalization
for their crimes.
The first call is not Semper Fidelis, but E Pluribus Unum.
David E. Price is an attorney in Washington DC.