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I have just received an email from a friend in Scranton who took a gun to work.
He took a gun to work because there are arab american students at the nearby university, and he is afraid that these arab americans will celebrate the attacks, as some Palestinians are doing in Nablus, West Bank, Israel.
In undernet.org's #politics, there are howls of anger, comparisons to Pearl Harbor, and, most siginificantly, calls for attacks on ethnic Arabs and Middle East nationals in the United States.
I hope that nobody will allow their anger to get the best of them, and that everybody will stay peaceful.
In a few hours, urban areas and universities may erupt in protest.
Below, a few thoughts.
First of all there is this comparison to Pearl Harbor.
Pearl Harbor was an attack on our Hawaiian base by the Japanese, and it was our reason to enter into war against the Japanese.
At least until we are certain who this attacker or attacker is, we should not be using this comparison.
Many people I have spoken to are calling for a generalized attack on Arab nations, particularly Iran, Afghanistan, and Palestine, employing this metaphor. However, these calls for attack may provoke hatred in the United States, and we should be careful when making these statements.
The true "enemies" are not any race, creed, religion or political movement.
The "enemies" are the callow, cowardly terrorists, whoever they are, and our administration which could not prevent this attack. Other "enemies" are people who would abrogate constitutional freedoms, cause witch hunts, or jump to conclusions.
Remember that after the OKC bombing, many people accused Arabs of the attack. Think about that now, when the horror and fear is so much magnified. It is OUR responsibility as citizens to be patient and wait for the truth, and, meanwhile, to dispel aggression amongst ourselves and in our communities.
I have been praying all morning, and I think that that is a good idea for other people too. My other friend who works at a law office here in Rochester New York stopped at a church on the way home and prayed with people from all religions, and some non-believers, too. It made her feel a lot better after learning that some of her colleagues in NYC were probably dead.
Please stay out of the streets if you can! There is so much fear and terror in everyone's hearts right now. A man in NYC who said the attacks were retribution for American acts of terror, which may be true, got pelted with food and interrogated by the police. Save your words of resistance for a safer time, a time when emotions have abated somewhat and people are prepared to hear your thoughts! Don't risk violence to yourself!!
If you are stranded in an airport, please help your fellow travelers with their basic needs. Watch each others' kids while people go on supply trips or to the restroom. Talk together and pray together.
I personally am very afraid right now, of an authoritarian crackdown in the United States. The city I am in is already beginning to react. The reservoir in my town of Rochester, New York is closed. Primary elections were cancelled here, and our Federal building was closed. Many town activities were shut down, and many people are coming home from work in tears.
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