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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

“I am Charlie!” “Je Suis Charlie!”


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               About a week following the attack on 9/11 of the civilians at the World Trade Center, David Letterman decided to return to the air. His first guest was Dan Rather who had been called upon for a week to report this insurmountable tragedy to those of us that stayed glued to the TV that week.

               It had been our first chance to forget the horror, but something happened that has stayed with me for so many years. During his conversation with David, Dan Rather said that he would never be able to hear America the Beautiful again without remembering this hateful manifestation of evil.

               Before he broke down into tears, Dan Rather uttered the words I have never forgotten. “We have lost the war without firing a shot…” And then Dave called for a break and upon the return, Dan Rather said that during his career he had witnessed much of the horror and bloodshed that man had committed. He said that he should have been more professional and not have broken down.

               David comforted him and the show continued.

               “We have lost the war without firing a shot…”

               It was not the first act of terror we had experienced; it was not the final act we have witnessed. A war ensued and another.  Innocence was slaughtered, we learned the unselfish way in which an IED would maim or take the life of anyone passing. Bombs exploded in markets and coffee shops. Blood was spilled in the name of gods on nearly every continent.

               As we concluded a war, the hate spread. As we withdrew young troops, the ancient soil reddened with blood. While we fought in the hills of Afghanistan, the hate surfaced in Malaysia. While we tried to control the loss of children in Africa, bakeries exploded. Marathons were disrupted, planes fell from the sky, Military bases filled with fear, rattled with gunfire, schools and clinics were bombed.

               It became a bloody and godless game of Terrorist Wack-A-Mole and our planet was the playing field. And the people paid in blood and loss with their lives. The more we struck out, the more we spread the virus of hate that plagued.

               “We have lost the war without firing a shot…”

               An enemy we can fight. Our Army can beat your Army. Our soldiers can kill your soldiers and if we kill more: we win. But when they have no Army, when they are filled with delusions and motivated by mythologies, when their realities are twisted by leaders whose only dreams are filled with blood and slaughter, how is it possible that we can fight and win.

               Do we kill them all? Do we slaughter entire families so no one would be alive to rise up against us in the future to topple our world? The Romans tried that a thousand years ago and their culture is still in shambles. Is Genocide a solution in a world that doubles and triples in population every few years?

Have we asked for a solution to a problem for which there is no solution? Can we round up hate and isolate it in barbed wire?

               Is it too late for love? Has Peace run it’s effective course and it is no longer an answer? When you are faced with an enemy who seeks to destroy even the tiniest crumb of your perceived corrupt society and even their death is warmly accepted as a reward and assurance that they make it into their infinite eternity of Nirvana, how can you possibly overcome the challenge and overcome the enemy?
     

               I am not sure who the enemy is...
              
               I have no more answers today than I did when I heard the newsman utter “We have lost the war without firing a shot…” 

               I am not even sure it is a war.

               I recently watched The Walking Dead. I had assumed that the walking dead were the zombies that roamed the countryside, searching for their next fleshy meal. At the conclusion of my binge-watch, I realized that the true Walking Dead were those of us that were left to survive the plague. The characters wandered from survival camp to survival camp. They had little control over the threat.

               The rest of us caught up in the middle of this explosion of hate that is filling the world around us are much like the Walking Dead. When a mall explodes or a plane crashes into the side of a building, we are victims of something we of which we have little to no control.

               But today, as we witness another slaughter of our brothers and sisters, we can stand tall, shoulder to shoulder with our millions with our middle fingers held high in the air and proclaim in a voice that will be heard in every village “I am Charlie!” “Je Suis Charlie!” “I am Charlie!” “Je Suis Charlie!” “I am Charlie!” “Je Suis Charlie!”