Monday, September 11, 2006

Who Is My Neighbour?

When later interviewed, the neighbours of the young men all said that there was nothing in their growing up – in the bosom of their community – to distinguish them from all the other boys, boys with their ambitions to be shopkeepers and doctors; nothing to suggest the sinister arc that was to come.

And yet, somewhere along the line, these few came under the influence of older men, ideologues and war-mongers, who took them off to training camps far from the prying eyes of the world and systematically filled their heads and hearts with doctrines of superiority, and hate; who taught them in the ways of weaponry and art of war.

They returned home, these who had gone off mere boys and come back men with zeal burning in their eyes; and said goodbyes, and met up with their comrades once again. On American soil, they had flying lessons; and then, one fateful day that changed the world forever, they took control of planes and flew over a proud skyline, targeting its famous towers, obliterating steel and stone; and leaving only widows and orphans in their place.

How should we feel about these young men; and about the older men whose orders they carried out?

And does it make a difference whether the men in question are those who planned and executed the destruction of the Twin Towers; or the Shock and Awe destruction of Baghdad?

God of the Holocaust People, be with all those made scapegoats to justify the evil in our own hearts this night and always; and save us from the making of scapegoats – save us from ourselves. Amen.


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