Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thinking Anew -- I watched CNN’s Christiana Amanpour's "In the Footsteps of Bin Laden," a history of Bin Laden from engineer in his father's construction company to terrorist premier and the manufacturer of 9/11.
A terrorist she interviewed said that they struck the US because of what the US and the west have done to Arabs. He said that the 3000 killed on 9/11 were nothing compared to how many the US has killed and what the US has perpetrated in the Middle East. He said the Koran says that killing is wrong but if another threatens you first then it is permissible to kill them. Despicable as I thought he was, I endured the diatribe.
As I see it every side thinks their enemy has threatened them first so they retaliate. So who threatened who first? Unfortunately, one cannot escape the boundaries of where one sits to answer that objectively. Howard Zinn, a left-wing historian, says “The old ways are not working, we need new ways of thinking.” Zinn says too that wars and bombs have not given us security. Perhaps he is right.
I cannot love my enemy, but unless we want to give future generations a world of perpetual war or worse no world at all, we must, I think, at the very least, talk to our enemy and think of new ways to deal with our adversaries. Maybe it does not matter anymore who started what first. No one will agree on that. To save us all, maybe it matters more who will speak to whom first and when.