Monday, September 10, 2007

My 9/11


This Tuesday, September 11, United States will mark the 6th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Known now as Patriot Day, this national day of remembrance was established by Congress and signed into law by President Bush in late 2001. Flags across the country will be flown at half-staff and Americans will be asked to observe a moment of silence. In the East Coast, where I live, this moment of silence remembrance begins at 8:46 a.m.(EST), the moment of the first plane crash on Sept.11, 2001. Others find their own ways and times to reflect on the events of that terrible morning and the impact they have had upon us all. I remember being at work that day, and someone giving the alert about a “small plane heading straight for the World Trade Center” being reported on CNN; we immediately gathered in the big Conference Room and turned on the large TV screen to watch mesmerized as the events developed. It was like a surrealist movie. I watched in silence; everything seemed to develop in slow motion … some co-workers who always behaved in a strictly business manner were crying or screaming. Although the TV announcer was talking about a small plane losing its route … the only words I said to the person sitting next to me, in an almost intimate way leaning over, were “this is a terrorist act”. The person next to me, who happened to be the Big Boss, responded “no, not in the US. It’s a crazy guy who kidnapped a small plane and doesn’t know how to land it”; unfortunately, he was mistaken.

I find this opportunity a good time to reflect on the importance of religion as a way of preserving basic principles of good traits of humanity, but not as a way of separating the human race through extreme fundamentalism. Hinduism says it best when talks about all being One, but we humans love to complicate things, don’t we? Islam is a peaceful religion, as a matter of fact, and to end this post on a lighter note, here are two poems written by Hafiz, a Muslim poet. “His writings could be read on two levels. At the superficial level they were celebrations of life’s pleasures, especially wine and women; at a deeper level they were mystical attempts to penetrate the divine mystery. He died in 1390 as the Persian Empire was collapsing in the face of Mongol invasions.” [from “Sacred Sex” by Robert Bates, 1993]. Peace!

Heat and Coolness
When I am hot with love, a breeze blows over me to cool my body
When I am cold with sadness, the warm sun shines to warm my body
Yu are my breeze and you are my sun
You bring coolness and heat at the right times

In a Pool of Tears
In a pool of tears I will lie tonight
Far away from your bed of love I will lie tonight
I will lie, but my eyes will be open, unable to sleep
Every night without you is a night without rest

Mi 9/11

Este Martes 11 de Septiembre, los Estados Unidos marcan el 6o aniversario de los ataques terroristas de 2001. Conocido ahora como el Día del Patriota, este día nacional se estableció por el Congreso y se firmó como decreto por el Presidente Bush a fines de 2001. A través del país, las banderas se elevarán a media-asta y se le pedirá al país un minuto de silencio. En la costa Este dónde vivo, el momento comienza a las 8:46a.m., el instante en el cual el primer avión se estrelló el 11 de Septiembre de 2001. Otros encontrarán sus proprias formas de reflexionar acerca de los eventos de esa terrible mañana y el impacto que tuvo en todos nosotros. Recuerdo que yo ya estaba en mi oficina ese día y alguien dió el alerta que en CNN se reporteaba de una “avioneta que estaba en ruta directa a estrellarse contra el World Trade Center”; nos juntamos inmediatamente en la Sala de Conferencias y prendimos la pantalla grande de TV para mirar mesmerizados como sucedian las cosas. Era como una película surrealista. Yo observaba en silencio; todo parecía suceder en cámara lenta … algunos colegas que siempre mantenían una actitud muy fría y profesional lloraban o gritaban. Aunque el reportero en la televisión hablaba de un pequeño aeroplano fuera de ruta … las unicas palabras que dije a la persona sentada al lado mío de una manera íntima, acercándome a ella, fueron “ésto es un acto de terrorismo”. La persona sentada al lado mío, el Gran Jefe, respondió “no, no en los Estados Unidos. Es un tipo loco que secuestró una nave pequeña y ahora no sabe como aterrizarla”; ojala hubiese sido yo quien estaba equivocada.

Esta es la oportunidad para reflexionar acerca de la importancia de la religion como una forma de preservar los principios basicos de nuestra Humanidad positiva, pero no como un factor que separa a la raza humana a través de fundamentalismo extremo. Los Hindues lo dicen mejor que nadie cuando hablan de todos siendo Uno, pero a nosotros, la gente, nos encanta complicar las cosas no? Islam es una religion pacífica, de hecho y para terminar este post en forma más liviana, disfruten de estos dos poemas escritos por Hafiz, un poeta musulmán. “Sus escritos podían ser leídos en dos niveles. En la superficie eran celebraciones de los placeres de la vida, especialmente vino y mujeres; a un nivel más profundo eran intentos místicos de penetrar el misterio divino. Falleció en 1390 cuando el Imperio Persa se quebraba bajo las invasiones de los Mongoles.” [“Sexo Sagrado” de Robert Bates, 1993.] Paz!


Ardor y frialdad
Cuando ardo de amor, una brisa recorre mi cuerpo para enfriarme
Cuando estoy frío de soledad, el cálido sol brillante entibia mi cuerpo
Tú eres mi brisa y tú eres mi sol
Tú me brindas frío y calor en los momentos precisos.

En un charco de lágrimas
En un charco de lagrimas voy a recostarme esta noche
Lejos de tu lecho de amor voy a recostarme esta noche
Me recostaré pero mis ojos estaran abiertos, sin poder dormir
Cada noche sin tí es una noche sin descanso

10 comments:

Sergio Meza said...

Siendo muy franco, y pecando de objetivo, todo lo que se conmemora este día, me produce sentimientos encontrados, en el subentendido de que la realidad es compleja en su manifestación, y nada es solamente de una manera, por mucho que cada quien esté convencido de lo contrario.

Paso!!!

Lilian said...

Sergio,
"Pasaste" rapido pero dijiste harto en pocas palabras. Gracias por el comentario.

mila said...

Lilian,
It took me a few minutes to compose myself before I could write. The poems were beautiful. All I could think was that this is the first year since then that I did not have nightmares that used to begin a few weeks before the anniversary which would have me screaming. The first time. I am so grateful that I did not have to relive the whole thing again.

I wanted to thank you for bringing up the point that Islam is a peaceful religion. Nowhere in the Qu'ran does it mention these types of attacks being ok. I know, because I have read it. The Qu'ran is a poem. It is beautiful. It is a celebration of God, life, and love. The extremists, who represent a very small minority, are using other so-called holy texts that do condone acts of violence and murder--but not the Qu'ran.

In true Islam, men are taught to treat their women like queens. Women are to be placed on a pedestal. They are not to be trodden upon or treated like second class citizens.

When we look at the Christian Bible, we are taught that Jesus spent a lot of time with the sinners. He wasn't hanging out with only the saintly people. He led by example. He taught that love was the most important thing there is.

All of these religions teach love and peace. They teach us to be non judgmental--judging is for a being much greater than we. We are the ones who have taken the words of all these holy men and women and turned them into justification for hate and killing.

Like you, I will never forget that terrible day. It affected me at some elemental level and changed me forever. Whether the person was in NYC or here in Arica, I haven't spoken to a single person who was left untouched by the events of that day. We all know exactly where we were and what we were doing. We all felt something--even the monsters who did it who felt joy--and I think that connects all of us more than we know.

We all have our stories of that day--some dramatic, some not so dramatic, but almost all traumatic, because it happened in the west. It touched a nerve in all of us; we no longer felt safe in our "civilized" countries. It shook and rocked us at our very foundations, yet it did not break us.

Thank you for sharing your story, Lilian.

Un abrazo,
Mila

Lilian said...

Dear Mila,
I know you were much closer to this situation than many, therefore, this anniversary is deeper inside of you than the rest of us, who although shocked by the events, did not see the horrors of this tragedy in front of us. I thank so much for sharing your thoughts, I know it's difficult. Actually, this is the first time I talk about it myself; I used to prefer to avoid it.

You are so right: "it did not break us", and life continues...

Un abrazo!

Anonymous said...

Hola Lilian:
Pienso que esta fecha no solamente afecta a los americanos (USA), si no tambien a mucha gente en Chile, asi es que este es un dia de mucho dolor, sin razon, sin color.
Lis

Lilian said...

Lis,
Gracias por la visita.

Anonymous said...

Y el 9/11/1973 en Chile ahora todos se olvidaron del trauma que le causo a bastantes ninos y ninas es Santiago centro al ver como los aviones bombardeaban la Moneda Que sabe un nino de 9,10,11 o 12 anos de politica. Solo ve muerte gente matando a otra gente.
Pensando cuando le va a tocar a el? Si le van a matar a toda tu familia, ve que sus padres estan aterrorizados y las balas llueven en la calle, las ambulancias ya no dan a basto pa recojer heridos y muertos, Parece Vietnam por los helicopreros que pasan volando con las puertas abiertas ametrallando a los franco tiradores en los techos de los edificios, Cuantas vidas se perdieroh ahi?
Nunca lo sabremos pero si que queda grabado para el resto de su vida.
Al igual que el Nuevo 9/11/2001

Lilian said...

Anonymous,
Tiene que haber sido terrible ... Gracias por compartir tu impresion.

Palm Springs Savant said...

this was a lovely post thanks

Lilian said...

Rick,
Thank you! :oD