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From the Z-files

Web posted on September 17, 2001

The Z-Files
I realize this article is supposed to be about events in Guelph, but I feel that every one of us in Guelph has had little on our mind since 9:07 a.m., September 11, 2001, when the second jet crashed into tower two of the World Trade Centre in New York, New York, United States of America. This was the beginning of one of the most difficult days of many of our lives.

Like many in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, North America and indeed the world, my initial emotions were that of fear, anger, and sorrow. Now that I have had time to think, I am ashamed of myself for letting fear be my first emotion. At a time like that, one should not think about oneself but about the uncounted number of innocents who died.

My initial reaction of fear is pretty easy to explain. I was afraid of what would come next, and of what could happen to me and my family. I don't think I need to explain why I was angry, as I am sure everyone else felt the same as I did: "why did these thousands of people have to die for a point to be made?" Then, there was the sorrow. I once read that "real men don't cry or eat quiche", well, I don't mind telling you, I cried... lots. I never once thought of revenge.

Now, several days afterwards, we are starting to see the effects. After the rain of Thursday the dust has cleared from around the site of the former World Trade Centre, but not from the minds of some people in the States.

For example, television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two very prominent religious voices in the U.S., have said that liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday's terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God's anger against America.

President George W. Bush, a very religious man in his own right, stood in a place of worship and said, "Our responsibility to history is clear: to answer these attacks and rid the world of evil. War waged against us by stealth, deceit and murder. This nation is peaceful, but fierce when stirred to anger."

Our own politicians, like opposition leader Stockwell Day, agrees with our Prime Minister, who is saying that these terrorist should be dealt with in the swiftest way.

Yesterday, while touring (strange word for it isn't it), the carnage of the dust, steel, concrete, and broken glass of New York, President Bush stated, "I can hear you! I can hear you, America can hear you, and soon the people who did that to these buildings will hear all of us."

President Bush, his Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and many of the leaders of the world, including our own Prime Minister, are now throwing out threats of war - or is it just that they want revenge for what happened? I think the latter. Cooler heads are needed by our leaders right now, not ones who just want to increase their raw vote by pushing our anger, fear, and sorrow buttons.

What has this type of rhetoric gotten us?

Since the events happened, there have been many cases of angry citizens, both in the U.S. and Canada, attacking Muslims because of the accusations that they are the ones responsible for what happened. This weekend a Sikh mosque in Hamilton was set on fire. Islamic schools are telling parents to keep their children home because of threats of violence.

In closing, I would just like to ask the following to politicians President Bush, Prime Minister Chrétien, Stockwell Day, and Guelph-Wellington MP Brenda Chamberlain: When we actually do go to war over this, as you are pushing for, are you going to be the first ones in line to enlist?

From what I have heard on the streets, you do not speak for the entire population of Canada when you say we will support the States in whatever actions they deem necessary to deal with this attack on "freedom". But, then again, in our current culture, if you speak out publicly against the possibility of us going to war, you will be called names, you will be accused of siding with the terrorists, you will be black-listed in this community. So you might never hear from those people, but they are out there, you just need to get over your anger to be able to hear them.

Someone once said - "an eye for an eye will only leave you blind in the end."