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9-11



I grieve. This is my city. These are my capitals. This is my country. This is my world. These are my children, my friends, my family. Thousands died without warning, hundreds died trying to save them. The holes in my skyline are not as big as the ones in my heart.

What is mine is also yours, and theirs. We grieve for our cities, our capitals, our countries, and our world. We all grieve for dead friends and family. We are stunned by such appalling images, terribly real, by the smoke in our lungs, by the fighter jets overhead, by the eerie quiet of the skies soon after. We are on edge, and on the edge. What we do now will decide if we fall or if we stand.

September 11 was an attack on all good people of the world. Not just America. We were all attacked. Those four deplorable acts of violence, whose aim was punishment and terror, were as inevitable as they are unacceptable. We yearn for swift and severe justice to those complicit in these attacks, and rightly so. Those attacks are, in truth, a call to action for all of us to face the complex problems separating the peoples and countries of this planet. We must deal with them head-on, fairly and squarely, because desperate people will always go to desperate lengths when they have nothing to lose.

People have always believed that there are causes worth killing for and causes worth dying for. There are. But consider this: A happy, healthy, unhungry child with a loving family in a just world will not and cannot be a suicide bomber. Removing the power that evil men hold over others should be our vengeance on such people as time, politics, and geography always create. We will do this by force, if necessary, but keeping these men powerless, wherever they are in the world, through our generosity to those they would otherwise recruit, is the only revenge the dead ask us to pursue and it is the only justice worth having. It takes only a few to conduct such terrorist acts, so the generosity, the empathy, and the resolve of the many must be great to do any good at all.

Unlike those who have nothing to lose, we have much to lose. The world has much to gain by our example. We have all been anointed citizens of the world with blood and smoke and kerosene--some of us, decades ago; some of us, last week--and we are all complicit in its governance or its chaos. Our sorrow is our passport; our outrage is our common currency. We must look beyond short-term vengeance and towards the future we will build from this disaster or destroy because of it. There is nowhere to escape to, no place to hide, no other way to be safe. No technology or border can make us secure. Only together can we make this right. This is the most important work that any of us will ever do. To not do this difficult work is to bring dishonor to those who have died and those who will surely die trying to save us. The emergency call has been placed, and we all must answer it.

-- Timothy Prickett Morgan, September 15, 2001, New York, New York



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