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for Eric Herring's contact

Surely in all this horror, pain and disbelief the unasked word is 'why' and
this is just one eloquent piece of the jigsaw. The horror is that
Palestinians only have the suicide bomber option - Israel has cruise
missiles labelled made in the USA. The world should build a peace garden in
memory of every unimaginably terrified and tragic life which will haunt us
all - on the site of those towers and the west end the siege mentality in
their memory and put out a hand to the world - rather than bomb another poor
far away country, already reduced too, to a preindustrial age. best. f.

A Palestinian's perspective: The brotherhood of sorrow By Susan Abulhawa

I am a Palestinian and I am an American. But today, the title I cherish most
is that of a human being.

Tuesday, I was supposed to be in New York for a meeting. Instead, I sat
red-eyed in front of my TV screen in disbelieving horror. Treachery was
engulfing innocent mothers, fathers, sons and daughters before my eyes.
Clouds hovered above screaming souls desperately reaching out of the windows
of the World Trade Center. Some jumped. It was too much to bear.

I didn't realize that my 4-year-old daughter was behind me, watching a
of our privilege collapse upon itself.

"Why did that building fall down?" she asked.

Then the phone rang. Six hangups in a row. Another one: "Die," said the
at the other end.

Reactions on television from people across the country were similar. Many
echoed the sentiment of graffiti written in dust on a New York street: "Kill
Arabs." One C-Span caller recommended that we seek out Arabs and Muslims
wherever they are and bomb them.

The outcry is for vengeance. That is normal. I have seen and heard similar
sentiments from Palestinians whose sons and daughters were shelled, shot or
caught inside their bulldozed homes. And I have heard it from Israelis whose
loved ones were killed. I have read calls to vengeance from Iraqis who have
watched half a million of their children die of starvation, diseases of the
dark ages and strange cancers (from exposure to radioactive bullet casings).
The rage, despair, vulnerability, I think, are the very feelings that helped
drive the act we witnessed Tuesday.

I was appalled to see Palestinian children celebrating in the streets, but I
also know how many times we turned a blind eye and left them to pick through
body parts to find their loved ones beneath their bombed buildings. I was
pleased to hear that Palestinians donated blood and marched in a candelight
vigil for American victims. It seemed cynical that CNN did not show those
images. Most of those people are refugees, and all of them have at one point
or another been the victims of aggression. But most Palestinians interviewed
reached through their pain to condemn the act and expressed sorrow for the

"We know how they feel," said one Palestinian. "We bury our dead day by

Today we are suffering the fear, insecurity and bloodshed that many nations
have been experiencing for decades. We can lash out indeed. We can destroy
Afghanistan. We can round up all Arabs and Muslims in this country. Or maybe
we can step outside of our labels and pull together as human beings, all of
us, for the victims, who I'm sure are as diverse as America. Awful,
gut-wrenching stories are emerging. The little girl who hasn't heard from
either of her parents yet. The man who lost his brother but isn't sure on
which plane. The woman sifting through rubble and tears looking for her
fiance. The wife who pledged her love to her husband on a cell phone moments
before crashing into the Pentagon. The valiant firefighters who gave their
lives to save others. We are all touched, indeed shaken. We are all
by our collective nightmare that came true.

Perhaps we can use our pain to understand the suffering of the world around
us, be it in Palestine, Rwanda, Puerto Rico, Iraq or Bosnia. The American
people, I think, are the kindest, most generous people on this earth. I pray
that we will reach beyond the pain to find the stuff that will make us
stronger and wiser, the stuff that will help us ask difficult questions and
listen to voices ignored for too long. I pray that our leaders will find the
courage to reexamine our foreign policy and the use of our weapons that shed
innocent blood all over the world, in corners where there are no cameras to
capture the horror.

As I look to answer my daughter, I know we can make no sense of this. But I
pray that we can breathe reason through rage.

"Something bad has happened," I say to her. "But you needn't worry because
you're perfectly safe."

I pray I'm right, and I pray for the parents and children who lost each
Tuesday. This day of endless grief will live until eternity. May God bring
all humanity together with his infinite grace.

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