Since the initial horror of Sept. 11, the drumbeat of war – on TV and in the halls of congress – grows louder by the day, as we search for quick answers and a target for our grief.
As many of us cling to our families, our friends and our faiths, our fears grow. How many mid-eastern-looking persons who fit the “profile” of the assumed mastermind of the horrific criminal acts will be harassed, jailed, or killed in the search for revenge? How many innocent people in Afghanistan will die under our fire power? How many Afghanis will become permanently displaced persons, moving to refugee camps across borders to escape our wrath? Will civil war erupt in Pakistan, as the U.S. government pressures the Pakistani government into submission?
Will the true criminals be uncovered, tried in courts, then punished according to law? or will we react as in the “wild” west and distribute “cowboy” justice outside the court system?
While our questions are steeped in gloom, there are bright rays of humanity that pierce the darkness: young people of various faiths are training to help protect targeted local communities; neighborhoods are organizing marches for peace and gatherings for reflection. Mosques, churches, temples, parks and university assemblages overflow with people searching for peaceful and meaningful ways to respond to the deadly crime committed last week.
And among the bright spots, special mention must be made of the courageous act of U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee who stood alone, deserted by the Progressive Caucus and the Black Caucus, when she said a bold “no” to open-ended funding of a war against we know not whom.