The other Sept. 11th – and why we need to remember

Use any search engine to look for September 11th and you get pretty much the same results; articles, blogs, announcements for candle light vigils and other commemorations …

“ The September 11 attacks (often referred to as September 11th or 9/11) were a series of coordinated suicide attacks upon United States on September 11, 2001. On that morning, 19 Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger airliners. The hijackers intentionally crashed two of the airliners into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City , killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. Both buildings collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentegon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania, after some of its passengers and flight crew attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C. There were no survivors from any of the flights.” (From Wikipedia)

The events still haunt us.

Perhaps they should.

Yet sadly, vengeance, not prevention or understanding , is what most the references to 9/11 are about – endless war, yet another excuse for racism and anti-immigrant hysteria, rationalization for torture, and the destruction of basic rights via the Patriot Act.

I can’t help but wonder if this would be different if we ( the world ) had learned the lessons from another Sept. 11th.

On September 11, 1906 Mohandas Gandhi, a 37 year old lawyer from India who had been in South Africa for 13 years, began a movement that would transform him, and mobilize the Indian community to nonviolently oppose racially degrading legislation. On that day he convened a meeting at the Empire Theater in Johannesburg. Those present solemnly declared, despite the consequences, to practice “ahimsa” or the absence of any violence, and resist injustice such as the racially degrading pass laws. Thus, the word “satyagraha” was coined, meaning truth (satya), which implies love, and firmness (agraha) which serves as a synonym for force.

Many this day will we pause and reflect on the tragic events of September 11, 2001. But let us not stop there; let us rather resolve to learn the lessons of September 11, 1906.

Let us break the cycle of violence.

Gather with others, reflect on the teachings of Gandhi and the lessons of the many stories of nonviolence working to bring about change, and stop injustice. Commit to resolve personal conflicts nonviolently, and actively work to encourage the use of nonviolent solutions to conflicts at community, national, and international levels. Work for Justice knowing that real peace cannot happen in the absence of justice.

As Michael Nagler points out in : Hope or Terror? Gandhi and the Other 9/11 : “Two September 11ths like signs on a path pointing in different directions.”

Which direction will we choose? What will you do to honor your choice?

I will honor my choice by spending the day talking to others about the work of 2 organizations who are putting into place Gandhi’s dream of a Shanti Sena; Michigan Peace Team and Nonviolent Peaceforce and will contribute financially to them both.

I choose these organizations because they are the two groups that give me the most hope for our troubled world.

What speaks to your heart? Where does your hope get renewed? There are so many worthwhile organizations that could make good use of your gift. You could send a donation (your wages for the day or some other amount), volunteer your time and talents, or help in so many ways.

Rent the movie Gandhi, or the documentary A Force More Powerful, check out groups like Michigan Peace Team, Nonviolent Peaceforce, Peace Brigades International, Christian Peacemaker Teams or other groups such as this who are building on Gandhi’s dream of a Shanti Sena

This September 11th – choose peace.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s