Four years after 9/11
For many Americans, the sense of utter horror and disbelief accompanying the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon seem to be fading into the mist. This numbness induces a complacent tendency that is very unhealthy and must be countered by periodic exposure to the awful images of that day. When is the last time you saw broadcast video clips of people jumping to their death or the towers crashing to the ground? Are we too terrified (!) to relive our recent past? PBS broadcast a program this evening in which Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clerics reflected on what that event and the conflicts since then mean to them. It is always encouraging to hear voices of reason and moderation in troubled times, but as all of them agreed, the Islamic faith is at present under a particularly dark cloud in which zealous fanaticism dominates. We must remember that all religions, including the Christian and Jewish faiths of the West, are subject to the same perversion through which good intentions are transformed into evil deeds. This does not mean we should let ourselves be paralyzed by moral relativism, it just means that even as we endeavor to defend our nation and the broader civilization of which it is a part, we should keep our ears attuned to the occasional gestures of peace and reconciliation that emanate from the proud but tormented and bedeviled Arab-Islamic world.