Thursday, April 10, 2003

Perhaps the second day to live in Infamy

You know how life is full of contrasts, extremes and ever-conflicting emotions? You know how you can sometimes support one thing but then not another... even if they are compatible, or not? How sometimes those lines are so blurred that not even you can convince yourself of your opinion, even if you declare it? How sometimes you waffle between one thought and another thought, and the emotions inside of you are an anxious turmoil that threatens to drag you down into the quagmire... We are afterall, only human. We try hard, we try not to be too righteous, we try to defend what we believe in, we try not to give in to emotions like hate, revenge, anger..... we try not to let events color our interpretation of life, not to be too judgmental without knowing the other side, we try to be good people. I believe people, for the most part are good.

Lots of time we fail. Too often we get caught up in emotions and have reacted before we rationally consider what has happened. Sometimes it is easier to lie to ourselves, pleasantly protected in our denial, instead of bravely facing reality as it is presented. Again, we are only human.

Sometimes we just need friends to catch us as we fall, or help us pick up the pieces. Sometimes we are sorry for feeling a certain way (or something we said), and others we absolutley offer no apologies for. Somethings we feel we can't forgive people for, and there are somethings we can never ask forgiveness for.

But always.... always, there is another side to every situation. There is always someone feeling differently then you, someone who disagrees with you, someone who is afraid and sad when you are happy, someone who has lost when you are celebrating, and visa versa. It's very hard to engage this world of ours today without trying, at the very least, to understand how the other person feels.

Don't mistake this as a rant for moral realitivity - but perhaps recognize it a way of understanding how my own thoughts can differ from one day to the other, how my loyalties are torn, how demands are made on my opinions, how my age (now I am in my 30's) precludes me from being absloultey sure of right or wrong..... how I have an awareness now that what I think is right is not always right for someone else. How I realize my opinion or needs are not more important than someone elses.... how I know I am not perfect, or sometimes not even the best person I could be.

I am happy that I live in a country where I am allowed to express how I feel, talk about what I think is right and/or wrong, encourage dialogue on hot topics and how I am allowed (for the most part) to change my mind when it is needed. I like that I can allow myself to be influenced by the experience and knowledge of those around me, or across the world. I feel pretty confident in alot of my beliefs, but make no mistake that it is not easy. I am among a majority of Canadians who don't believe that this war, and the way it is being waged, is right. I am happy our military is not involved in this aggression. But, in the circles that I move, I am sometimes in the minority - a good portion of people in my life are pro-war (although I think when I ask them about it, it appears they are more pro-american then actually pro-war). It is sometimes hard to stand up for yourself when emotions are so high, but I, thankfully, manage to do so and everyone seems to keep their dignity entact. We are allowed to disagree.

This morning Duncan threw a bunch of songs on my MP3 player for my run. It was a great morning (weather is beautiful) and I sang along to the songs whilst refelecting upon how happy I am in my life, how lucky I am, how lucky we all are. Then one of the songs surprised me... I can be your Hero (Enrique Iglesias) turned out to be a remix from the events of September 11th. George Bush's voice, in my head, "Two airplanes have crashed into the world trade centre, in an apparent terrorist attack against our country". Then more.... quotes... memories... feelings..... the day came flooding back so quickly from where I had so neatly placed it.

"Freedom itself was attacked this morning, by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended". "People are walking around in shock. He actually acclelerated into the building.... and it exploded". "It's a scene of utter devastation." "Make no mistake, the United States will hunt down those responsible...." "... Echoes of 1941..." "So frigthened because we think something else is going to blow up" "Perhaps the second Day that will live in infamy"

I remember the day as clearly as I am sure everyone else does. I was in Cochrane, with my (other) best friend (Dawn) watching it on the TV, with my best friend (Duncan) on the phone, as we all tried to reassure ourselves. I remember the shock, the disbelief, the horror, when I first saw the scene unfolding. The first tower had already fallen down. Part of me thought we were at war, duty would call me back to the army, that I would commit to fight whatever evil has just transpired. Part of me thought it must be a trick, a hoax, a cleverly designed made for TV drama. All of me knew that my world would never be the same. There had developed, in my comfortable world, a crack, as if we were on thin ice..... and I was afraid to sneak a peak into it for fear of what I would see. I was afraid of the anger I felt, the need to punish those that had done this. I didn't want to lose control. I didn't even know who to be angry at (at the time).

Anyone who knows me well knows that I wore a ribbon, and a pin (United We Stand), collected pictures of tributes, cried many tears, and even thought of going there myself to help pick up the pieces. They also know that I was torn between my disdain for American Foriegn Policy (and thier cold war tactics) which I felt had brought this pain down upon thier people, and the anguish I felt for the victims of the WTC, the fire/police men who were killed in the aftermath, the families that would exist forever torn apart, and the absolute senslessness of it all. I was soon conscripted into the situation anyways, and into the crack I ventured as my community seemed to need me. But that is history, and not what I was thinking about all morning..... it's indeed another story.

Today I am wondering, as Baghdad lies in shambles, if the end is justified by the means. As the lives of Iraqi children have been severed I wonder if I played some part in thier deaths. I look into the eyes of my own children, see the hope and love of life contained there, and I know that what has just happened in our world can not possibly be justified, or right. There has to be another way. But I don't have the answers. Sometimes I don't even have an argument.

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