Today marked the 20 year anniversary of the World Trade Center Bombing, where a group of six Islamist extremists detonated a truck bomb beneath the north tower. A moment of silence was observed at 12:18 and the names of the victims were read as people gathered to remember the fallen. Over 1,000 people were injured in this attack.
Yesterday marked the 19 year anniversary of the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, where an Israeli man entered the Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron and killed 29 Muslims praying within, injuring an additional 125.
This past year marked the 11th year after our nation came under attack on 9/11. Ground Zero remains a place where hundreds of thousands stand and remember the countless men and women who died in the act of violence that brought our nation to its knees.
While studying Art History at Anderson University under Dr. Korb several years ago, we began to look at the responses to violence, conflicts, and war. When asked what a terrorist looks like, several of the students responded with “Arab”, “Middle East”, and several religious followings. That question was followed by a history lesson in the violent past of Ireland.
Terrorism is the use of violence to spread fear. It doesn’t have a face. It doesn’t have a nationality. It doesn’t have a religion.
When the same Art History class was asked if a Christian has ever conducted an act of terrorism, several individuals immediately stated no. History proves otherwise.
Freedom Fighters. Jihadists. Rebels. Extremists. Politics and the rabble that follows them. The mob and the peaceful protestors.
There are extremists in every Religion, every nation, every community that for some reason decides to act out in violence, but I have come to realize that violence cannot be contained. Nations are ripped apart. Families are torn. Revenge and retaliation takes control and we are left killing one another.
An eye for an eye, until everyone is blind.
Politicians say we need more laws, more control. Take away the rights, suppress your anger. Religion tells us to forgive, but we can never forget what they did to us. Our nation is driven by war, so we seek out the next fight, be it in the big sand box overseas, in the jungles of our past, or the foreign shores of our rivals.
What we need are extremists who will take a stand to forgive and to love unconditionally. There has been enough blood shed by our generation. We need warriors who will fight for peace, who will take a stand against retaliation and embrace the faith that teaches us forgiveness and acceptance of others.
God Bless and PEACE