kurt vonnegut did it best when he organized his novel galapagos into two halves, and i will now use those same headings.
part I: the thing was
9 years ago as i begin to write, it was a beautiful, sunny morning--not unlike the one sneaking its way past my heavy, brown curtains this morning.
i felt like garbage, and was just getting on the bus--attempting a full day of school at the behest of my mother. at 8am, i was sitting in mr. adaseks 9th grade social studies class. about 15 minutes into class, me & the rest of the advanced math students in the 9th grade were called out of class to take a beta version of the new 8th grade math exam. with the completion of each question, i grew sicker. i completed the exam, and went to the nurses office, and shortly thereafter--i received my clearance to go home. as my mother made her way to the high school, i went to the guidance office to make them aware of my leaving such that they could distribute a memo to my instructors that day indicating that i was legally excused from school and that my homework assignments were to be sent to the guidance office. but as i entered the guidance office, i was hit with some news by mr. cook: that the world trade center had been hit by a bomb. in my young ignorance, i thought he meant a US embassy, and so i asked him a question that still made a lot of sense: "which one?". he said that he didnt know--if i recall.
my mother showed up, and i asked her if she had heard of the news that which i had just received. i forget her answer. she drove me home. the construction workers of dave holleran were working on the siding of our home. they had the radio on. they were well aware of the disaster. i went into the house, put on my pajamas, and got on the long couch in our living room. i turned on the television. and inevitably: my life was changed forever. i watched as the north tower bled flames, smoke, infrastructure, and desperate human bodies, whilst insets showed recently-acquired footage of a plane flying into the north tower. i forget if the south tower had already been hit by then. but what i do know that i saw was both towers collapse. and all of the terror that ensued. all of the panic that ensued. all of the interviews that ensued. and the presidential address from the oval office.
i remember mass mobilization of us, nato, and coalition troops. remember the invasion of afghanistan. skip to 9 years later, and i still see my brothers and sisters in uniform in a desert half-way across planet earth. i see a nation transformed by fear, hatred, and paranoia--a nation that is barely identifiable with the great & prosperous nation of pre-9/11 america. and it is sad.
never forget those who were lost that day. never forget those who were lost in the subsequent war. and never forget what our country was before it was consumed by fear, hatred, and paranoia.
part II: the thing is
the terrorist attacks of 9 years ago today turned this country into a land unsafe for muslims & those of the islamic faith--a peace-loving demographic who are separate, and who do not associate and who do condemn those extremists who kill in the name of their god. and it is sad. there are extremists of beliefs--be it religious, political, ideological, moralistic, etc. if a roman catholic rapes a woman, does that mean all roman catholics are rapists? no. if one feels the absolute need to make the association, here is the correct one to make: a rapist also happens to be a roman catholic. here is the incorrect association to make: roman catholics are rapists.
but unfortunately, the majority of this country's citizens are so stupid and blindly follow their political and religious leaders that when considering the orchestrators of the terror attacks on 9/11, they eagerly make this association: muslims are terrorists--the islamic faith preaches terrorism. NO. this is absurdly incorrect. if you must make the association, this is the correct one: the orchestrators of the terror attacks on 9/11 are muslims, and they justify terrorism by twisting the quaran until it spills out a message of hate--despite the fact that the quaran is in fact a book that preaches peace, and charity (coincidentally, it was in that very same 9th grade social studies class in which my classmates & i were taught the peaceful messages within the pages of the quaran.)
this enrages me to the point where my blood boils and my skin welts. there should be no question about the building of an islamic community center near the site of the world trade center. it is their constitutional right to establish a religious community center on private property. what is disturbing is that those who would be the first to throw the constitution in ones face are also the first to say that the imam responsible for the building at this site cant do it. wrong. they can. read your constitution before you chuck it at somebody.
pastor terry jones is a bigot. a bigot who has no understanding whatsoever of the religion nor the demographic that he is so stupidly & violently attacking. let us revisit the aforementioned logic: terrorists are muslim, and use the quaran to justify terror, even though that is NOT the message of the quaran. so to say that "islam is the devil" is such a ignorant thing to say. because it is not, pastor jones. it is even more ignorant because he admitted on national television to having not actually read it. how can you classify a holy book as "the devil" when you havent even read it? bigot. and then go and decide to burn the quaran--an unquestionably violent act--drops one to the same senseless, violent level on which all terrorists representing any ideals slither. and not only that: it feeds into what terrorist organizations like al-qaeda want: they want us to become violent. they want us to fight. and by inciting violence--not only against terrorists, but in your ignorance, against all of the islamic faith--you are helping them, and NOT this country, mr. jones. you are a mindless, soulless bigot who--like the terrorists behind the 9/11 attacks--is using your god to justify violent action against an entire demographic of peace-loving people. by definition, sir: that makes you a terrorist. and even though youve called this off, i know deep in your black heart you hate all who followed the islamic faith, and believe that all of them are terrorists, and believe that your god has enlisted you to mobilize this country against not only international muslims, but its own natural-born citizens & immigrants. you sir, are stupid, brainless, heartless, gutless, and downright evil. i am an atheist, but i still leave you, sir, with this: may you rot in hell.
muslims are not evil. those who are of the islamic faith are not preaching violence. but our country will blindly follow the naive, and our own religious extremists right the doorsteps of mosques nationwide, and deliver their own message of hate.
and that is sad.