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AWADmail Issue 48
Special Peace IssueSeptember 20, 2001
A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Interesting Tidbits about Words and Languages
From: Anu Garg (garg AT wordsmith.org)
Messages from readers filled with anguish, concern, sympathy, compassion, indignation, and suggestions continue to pour in from all over the world. While we can't put them all here, a cross-section is featured below. Don't forget the AWAD bulletin board where you can post your comments to share with everyone.
From: Thu Thao (tledang83AThcm.fpt.vn)
I don't know what I should say to all of you now. Every day I watch the terrible pictures on TV. My friends and I here in Vietnam are shocked because it's such a dreadful tragedy. I always say a prayer for all the people who were died, and my thoughts are with you.
From: Paula LaRocque (plarocqueATdallasnews.com)
Thanks to all of you from other countries for your loving expressions of support and shared horror. Our world is small, finally, and the AWAD newsletter is one more way to help us become one community.
Thank you, from our hearts.
From: Ellen Chaco (elcsweetieATmsn.com)
I cry and feel a terrible loss. I cannot fathom the agony of those who knew and loved the victims. Still I pray for their families and friends left behind who now must endure their loss. I feel and know it is my loss too.
For your information, I was born in Mexico, and became a citizen of United States much later. However, I would like to make this comment. Mexico was to celebrate its independence day on September 16, but the President of Mexico Mr. Vicente Fox, cancelled any and all celebrations of independence of Mexico in respect for the attack we in the United States suffered.
Thank you Mexico! Thank you Presidente Fox.
From: Sourena Sarbazvatan Rashid (sourena_sarbazvatanATyahoo.com)
I'm really chagrined about the debacle in USA and I express my deepest compassion with my American fellow kinds. -Sourena from Iran
From: Mark Hahn (hahnATphysics.mcmaster.ca)
I wonder whether you can come up with a week of words which speak to the tragedy of September 11. No, I don't really have any words in mind, except that it would be wonderful to hear about words relating to the kind of cross-cultural respect that we all pray for. For instance, the impulse that put a Muslim and Jewish cleric together in the national memorial ceremony. Or exactly the thing that's being violated by that moronic asshole who shot various people in Arizona. Or, for that matter, the terrorists.
Hmm, a more radical suggestion: the word "jihad", and how it most definitely doesn't sanctify terrorism. Then perhaps other important words in English borrowed from Arabic, perhaps even Koranic ones.
I've never signed a letter this way before:
From: Igor Simicic (simbrosATeunet.yu)
I'm sorry for all the people that died in America, but people die every day all around the world. I don't see that anyone is talking about that. The football, or any other sport, didn't stop when NATO bombed my country. (Yugoslavia)
From: Jacqueline Kiffe (jATkiffe.com)
With all my degrees in mathematics and the sciences, the vast majority of my classmates were of foreign origin. Indeed, if not for them, many classes could not have been offered. The Indians I knew were not violent people any more than Hindu is a violent religion. Anger will come later, but I cried when I read of the murder of an innocent Indian in a nearby city. This is not emotionalism; I grew up in a terrible, violent home, and sometimes the only thing that kept me on track was the understanding that if I became like those evil people, that they would have won, finally and completely. If we allow ourselves either to take out our feelings of rage and helplessness on people on our soil who look foreign (and may very well be American-born) or even to just stand by idly while others do so, we are no better than the terrorists or those who harbor them. They will have won the war and not just the battle.
None of this is meant to diminish the horror of what happened Tuesday, but the worst possible scenario is for us to become the terrorists on our on soil, or to harbor them or condone them by our refusal to take a stand, just because they look like "us" and the victims do not. If people come here for safety or freedom, it behooves us to welcome them and not to contribute to the river of innocent blood, else we become what we hate.
From: BB Wylie (bbwlwATaol.com)
I was very touched by the AWADmail Issue 47 I received today, September 16, 2001- five days after the WTC horror. I live just outside of NYC in Westchester County. Many people's lives have been changed forever. Some will never know of those changes. The heartfelt emails from those first few writers around the world to us in America were well worth reading. Many thanks to all who wrote for it does make the world seem smaller and safer.
From: Simon Jeremiah (simonjeremiahAThotmail.com)
Thank you again. May this bloody act bespeak a new birth that our planet's people may understand our global responsibilities. Let us have weeks of words to promote the understanding of truth, hope, spirit, abiding with each other in an active love. Namaste.
From: Robert Fournier (bob.fournierATsympatico.ca)
As you might realize, Canadians have an ambivalent attitude towards our American neighbours. Until whomever has done this is brought to justice, I have an American flag on my window and my lapel - and consider myself an American. God bless and keep all of you.
From: Lia (liaflightATaol.com)
I would like to thank both AWAD and all those from around the world that send in words of support during these days of trial. You can't imagine how your words have gladdened my heart this evening.
From: Patrick Corning (pdiguyAThotmail.com)
I'm just one American from the heartland, but I want to thank all those folks from across the pond for their kindness toward us. It rather shames me to admit that I didn't expect it. Please thank my caring fellow subscribers from overseas for me.
From: Jean (jliningtonATearthlink.net)
I always enjoy your newsletters, but the one sent today was especially touching. It really helps to know that the good thoughts of others in foreign lands are with us these difficult days. I pray for the wisdom of our leaders to help with the next step.
From: Tim Sullivan (timATtsoup.com)
Lisa Pacitto [AWADmail Issue 47] said it correctly when she stated, "We have the power to change the world. Let's make that choice and direct the change for peace."
This whole WTC experience has left me in a state of deep reflection about who we are, what's really important and where we want to go next. I truly believe this is a huge turning point in human history. How the US, and rest of the world, reacts in response may determine the future of our existence on this planet. We can throw more bombs, which will escalate the terror out of control. Or we can learn from it, find out why there is so much hatred and change our ways/policies so that it won't happen again.
Though the world deplores what happened and are universal in their need to see the perpetrators brought to justice, this has to be done with restraint AND in conjunction with honest dialog and action about how we can live together in peace from now on. (Manila, Philippines)
From: Hertha James (hertha.jamesATxtra.co.nz)
When America and other 'western' countries are seen to have everything and marginalised countries have nothing (in terms of resources, goods, infrastructure) we can expect little more than what is happening at the moment. When groups of people are pushed to the wall and see no future for their children or themselves, then retreating to their God's 'will' to destroy something which has taken on the mantle of Satan is the only choice left to them.
Remember, a small portion of the Earth's human population is using an enormous amount of the Earth's finite resources. Unless we take a global view terrorism by those with nothing will stay with us.
From: Lucille Warner (notadoormatAThotmail.com)
Having seen the outpouring gestures of compassion and shared grief from around the world, the most impressive were the scenes from Japan. Of all nations, they were in the most justifiable position to say that we had finally gotten our just desserts for Nagasaki and Hiroshima; but they did not. This is true grace. No doubt there will be terrible and unspeakable retaliation and I hope that my countrymen will mourn our enemy's losses with similar humility.
From: Mona (mannoochAThotmail.com)
Dear Humans, I am a human too, specifically a Lebanese Muslim 22 year old girl. I saw what happened in New York, and I am not happy for you. Although I am not sad as well, but I can know exactly how you are feeling right now, just because we went through a number of disasters (a very large number indeed). The only thing I liked about this crisis is that finally the Americans are going through what we went through for years, but still you didn't feel the same, because most of those who died are businessmen, they are not children, not families. what you are mostly sad about is seeing a famous and financially important quantity of cement and iron crushing down. During Israeli attacks we lost a lot of innocent people, a lot of our friends, a lot of mothers, a lot of people we love. Maybe you saw how Palestinians were celebrating after what happened, but you didn't see a father holding his headless daughter, you didn't see a child who was crying hysterically while seeing his mother and sisters shot, you didn't see homes broken down over one happy family. All these persons were innocent. It's just time to begin thinking that these are humans, and the irony is that you are humans too.
May you have my deepest condolences and I hope this will end pretty soon.
From: Vipin Agarwal (vipinATernet.in)
I'm feeling disheartened while writing this letter, I grieve with the families who had lost their dear ones. Everyone over here in India is shocked while watching those dastardly acts on the TV.
From: Lauris Goldson (goldATcybervale.com)
I am sure that no country has had more prayers going up for their people than the USA. We pray that God will guide and bless all the men and women who are the leaders, concentrate their minds, simulate their prayers and make them open to each other's opinions and insights. As a country we pray for the people who have lost their loved ones and pray that they will be granted the will to cope. May God continue to bless America and its people.
From: Julie/Alex Hudson (ajson24ATaol.com)
Here in Cleveland, there is a large Muslim population. There have been racial remarks and aggressive attacks. Many business people fear for their shops. In our efforts for "united" we heard about this incident.
A small boy, named Osama, was afraid to go to school. He stayed home for two days - Wednesday and Thursday. On Thursday evening, his second grade class mates called him on the phone saying, "Do not be afraid to come to school. We will protect you and not let others hurt you". Bless the adults who guided the seven year olds and helped them find a way to express their caring.
From: Vidhya Ramesh (vidhu_rameshATyahoo.com)
I would like to contribute the following composition to AWAD:
When the twin towers was rocked,
From: Ted Rossiter (trossiteATmdp.com)
Words are important, especially at this stage in the government's campaign to take action against purported terrorists, as our President can attest. I urge you all to keep in mind the power of words and not to throw about with temerity the words "war" and "crusade," as they are strong and carry the baggage of history and lives with them.
From: Barbara Brodie (bbrodieATcalcas.com)
I can't express how thrilled I was with the comments from non-US subscribers published today in the AWADmail. The caring expressed was very reassuring. This is the closest to personal contact with those from other countries many of us here will have and it means a lot. Thanks.
From: Nancy Isern (nancy.isernATpnl.gov)
I have been heartened by those who are speaking out against bigotry in this country, but even one instance of American "terrorism" against another American is too many. And the same is true in our foreign policy.
From: Susan Slasor (susanflgATinfomagic.net)
I want to let subscribers around the world know that many Americans do not think that retaliating with violence would be productive or humane and we are afraid for what our government may do. Thank you for the support.
From: Sampada Pachaury (sampada_pachauryATyahoo.com)
It is truly sad, what happened on Sept 11th to those innocent lives who knew no fear prior to that. In retaliation, War should not be an option in any circumstances. We need to punish only those who masterminded this. Why should a civilian who is working hard to feed himself and family, or a small child who is learning to read and write, suffer just because they were born in that same country or region?
Life is equally precious to all those brothers and sisters who belong to that geography as much to those who became victims of this tragedy.
Our energies should rather be diverted to improvise our intelligence which failed terribly in stopping this tragedy from happening.
From: Lorraine Skrinak (lorraineATskrinak.com)
Here we go again! America is hated for its freedoms, its prosperity, its concern for all peoples in the world. But stand firm, everyone. I've lived through World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the Bay of Pigs scare, the Cold War and now this, the War on Terrorism. Seems to me all those other wars were leading up to this one. With God's help and the steadfastness of America and her supporters, we will have peace on earth again.
From: Terry Gault (tgaultATpacbell.net)
In ruminating over the recent events, I find myself wrestling with my firm belief that non-violence is the only way that our species can mature My belief that terrorist violence must be stopped in some way. The idea that the only language that these terrorist understand is violence.
In one of the books that I read recently, (I think it was Inner Revolution by Robert Thurman) the author relates a story that Buddha told his followers. He recalled a story from a previous incarnation. He was on a ship and found out that one of his 500 fellow passengers planned to kill all the other people on board. In order to stop the slaughter, he killed this person. The story was offered as an example of how the use of surgical violence can sometimes be an act of good karma - saving 499 by killing 1. The question we need to ask ourselves is, "Will killing 100 terrorists save another 1000 or 10,000 lives?" The fear that I have is that by killing terrorists we will create martyrs, strengthen the resolve of other extremists, and engender more violence in the process. This is an opportunity for us to evolve as a nation and as a species. This is not a time to rush to judgment. We must pray & meditate and think carefully before we take action. Can terrorism continue if we are to develop as a species?
From: Sally Gray (rsgrayATindy.tds.net)
I was touched by the messages that came from AWAD subscribers from across the face of this globe. Thanks for your support.
From: Norma Benesdra (benesdranATsinectis.com.ar)
I feel terribly sorry for what happened in the U.S. last week. Not that we haven't had our share of horrendous terrorism here in Argentina. But, well, this is one sin more against humanity.
From: Byron Gassman (bgassmanATqwest.net)
"No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were. Any man's death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee." We have all been attacked, we have all suffered, we have all been scarred.
From: Marta (mshocketATcs.com)
I am a 14 year old in Texas, and after years of listening to where my elders were when they heard of Kennedy's death or Pearl Harbor, I can imagine telling my children about another student rushing into my first period English class to turn on the TV and the shock and dismay that filled the room. Even more horrifying was the attack on an Islamic worship center in Austin today. I thought our city was more open-minded and tolerant than that. I encourage all of you to reach out to all your neighbors and especially Muslims who on top of grieving must deal with being hounded by those ignorant Americans who mistake hate for patriotism.
From: Roland Killick (rolandkillickATbigpond.com)
While agreeing with Lisa Pacitto's sentiments, perhaps a more relevant use of AWAD would be to watch how words are used in the media to create certain feelings. Here are four examples, (my quotes):
(1) During the first couple of days TV coverage I saw here in Sydney, the subtitle couplet read:
"search" for survivors
(2) Initially the innocents who died were victims of a "criminal attack". Later they became victims of a "war", presumably having the same status as the future "collateral damage" in Afghanistan or Iraq as a consequence of the retaliation / vengeance.
(3) I just saw a reporter who couldn't have been more that 30 years old comparing the WTC scene with "Dresden" and "WW2" rather than with "Kabul" or "Beirut".
(4) This crime is described as "sophisticated", when security personnel fear that it is frighteningly straightforward.
If we keep our eyes open, I'm sure we will find more interesting examples of words chosen for their reactive power. And perhaps this is necessary to align world citizens to a common political position. Or perhaps it is jingoism or propaganda. Or perhaps the choice of these words depends on the reaction one wishes to provoke in the reader.
We have the power to change the world. Let's make that choice and direct the change for peace.
From: Jaclyn Duysters (jduystersATlovingproductions.com)
I am a Michigander, but my folks were from upstate New York. Right now, all Americans--and obviously many around the world--can say, "Ich bin ein Knickerbocker" with pride and gratitude.
War is an instrument entirely inefficient toward redressing wrong; and multiplies, instead of indemnifying losses. -Thomas Jefferson, author, architect, and third U.S. president (1743-1826)