Hate is never the answer

~ by Servetus on September 11, 2010.

24 Responses to “Hate is never the answer”

  1. I’ll never forget this day. I tried frantically to phone friends in New York City, among other things.
    I personally will also never forget though who hates the West most, sorry.
    It was also my daughter’s first day at school.


  2. Such an unbelievably sad day!


  3. As a British person this day seemed to symbolise that terroism had gone global. I’m sure the whole world watched in horror. It also tested my own personal faith. So much hatred and violence stem from religon.

    My mother wise women that she is always cautioned about saying you hated somebody because she felt that the person doing the hating always ended up more bitter, unhappy and hurt that the person you hated.

    So no hatred isn’t the answer


  4. Hate is the answer for nobody, I think. There’s plenty of hate operating everywhere. Sadly. This statement of course conflicts with my earlier insight about accepting people as they come.

    This is what I remember, fwiw:

    I’d been in the air the night before; had been doing the last piece of consulting gig and gotten the last flight home. Had just moved to that “home” three weeks before. When I got into the airport, it had been infested with crickets so as I walked down the concourse and out there was a crunching noise under my feet. Now seems vaguely prophetic in a biblical way. I remember thinking “you’re home now.” The events of the next day seemed to say the opposite, and that’s been true — my life has become less rather than more stable since then.

    The next morning I was sleeping and the phone rang but I didn’t get it before it stopped. Didn’t have caller ID and voicemail set up yet (found out later it was my mom). I got up and turned on the tv and saw the first tower burning. Immediately called then-SO in Germany, who was finishing his work day. He didn’t believe me. He turned on his internet and saw it, too. We both expressed utter confusion as to what could be happening. I told him I loved him.

    Got myself to campus. This was before our department had voicemail, so there was a receptionist who answered the phone. She had a big pile of pink slips and when I walked in she gave me one and said, “your mom called. She loves you. Every slip in this pile says about the same thing.”


  5. It was a strange day. I was being subjected to a sales presentation and heard the news when I got in my car to drive back to the office. The radio broadcast (BBC Radio 4 I think) was confusing and it wasn’t immediately clear what had happened – lots of talk about flights being cancelled. Then it became clear and when I got back to the office people were amazed at what had happened. I’m sorry to say that it probably wasn’t as shocking initially to me as to many Americans – we in the UK having grown rather used to news about terrorist acts (ie the IRA) over the years, though eventually the scale of it got through. Also a few months before I had visited Oklahoma City on business and my host drove us past the site of the 1995 bombing and I was struck at the time how shocking and moving that was…but 911 dwarfed even that.


    • I think that a lot of us in the U.S. had forgotten about OK City, too. Another frightening story, perhaps more so because it was Americans who did that.


  6. We were preparing to take my mom to Montgomery for her pre-op for orthopedic surgery–she had fallen and shattered her ankle three days before and been in misery ever since–and I walked into the den. Benny was watching TV and looked up at me with disbelief. “Someone flew a plane into the Twin Towers.”
    And then I stood there and watched in horror as a second plane hit.

    Later, at the hospital, wherever there was a TV, people were huddled around it. There are a hushed silence in the facility that day; normally I’ve found hospitals to be rather noisy places.

    One nurse apologized to us. “I’m sorry, I can’t seem to stop crying. All those people . . . I just want to go home and be with my children.”
    I think she summed up how we all felt.

    As I sat there, trying to sort it out in my mind, I found myself wondering if I was having a really bad dream and maybe, my fragile little mother hadn’t taken that swan dive and broken that bone, that maybe all those people in the buildings and the planes were still safe and sound. But it was all too true.

    Hate is such a destructive and polarizing emotion. I was reminded of that all too clearly this week at work.

    A man from a neighboring county called to speak to our publisher. His complaint? We have black people’s photos in our papers (we publish four through our offices).

    Initially the man was complaining about a series we are running on I-85, but it quickly escalated into a diatribe against featuring black people.

    Ashley tried to be civil with this man, but almost lost his temper before the conversation ended, the fellow was being so unreasonable. When the phone call was over, he stepped out of his office, shaking his head.
    “So much–hate–in that one man . . .”

    I was in south Butler County taking photos (some of which, yes, included black people) when all this happened. I am thankful I didn’t have to speak to this man. I’m afraid I might have lost my cool.

    This is 2010, not 1960. It’s been a long time since water fountains were whites only and “colored” people could not hope to dine inside the air-conditioned comfort of the Dairy Queen. They had to place their orders outside at the “colored” window. I know because I lived it and I have no wish to go back to those days.

    We have almost 50 percent black population in this county; in the neighboring county where this man lives, it’s 65 percent black.
    We also have growing Korean and Hispanic populations.
    Yet we are supposed to pretend people of color do not exist in our area? They don’t “count” somehow?

    It really upsets me there are still people out there with this hostile, hateful mentality. His attitude was a slap in the face to the many hard-working, caring, responsible minority citizens in our communities. Working for the newspaper, you see the best and the worst in people.
    There are “good” and “bad” people of every color, class, creed, nationality and religion. Wild-eyed fanatics–whether Muslim or Christian or Moonies, or what have you–are worrying.

    I want to make it clear most people in our area do not have the horrible attitude this man has. I really, really though we had moved beyond this; but I guess a few haven’t.


    • I never know what to say when I hear accounts like this because I have some hope that as generations pass, things will change.


  7. I’ll never forget that day… my youngest was just barely a toddler. I foolishly left the tv on with all of the coverage blaring all that day. He still talks about “the buildings falling all down.” So much changed…. and yet so much stayed the same.~♥~


    • that’s a good point, Diane. We’ve got a lot of attitudes that we can be proud of in this country, too, that have persisted despite challenges to them.


  8. I was living in NJ as expat when it happened. The night of the 10th I had had dinner in Jersey City and driving home that night I could see the twin towers, half in the clouds, but still majestic. I always had a hard time keeping my eyes on the road when I drove there, because I loved the sky-line. I still can’t believe that 12 hours later they would not be there anymore. I was at work the following morning when my mum called from the Netherlands to tell me what was going on. And then everyone got phone calls and stopped working and started looking for information (we did not have tv there). My mum called 3 times within the hour, and all my friends sent e-mails too. We were sent home by noon, and I spent the next 2 days glued to the tv, not believing what was happening. And for months to come I would grow very sad while hearing bagpipes, or seeing fire engines plus crews drive by. The world really changed that day.


  9. Stranded at Logan Airport. Noon flight back to Canada. Long weekend was a bit longer than anticipated. Heard the news just before 9 am, girlfriends and I rushed up to hotel room, switched on CNN, saw it happening, (in real time, or almost real time?) It took more than a day to absorb – there was a sense of such unreality; a feeling of watching a disaster movie. Friends weren’t flying till the following day. So I high-tailed it to the airport, expecting long security repurcussions (never airport/flight moritorium, or communications channels and border closures). Young African-American taxi driver had the car radio on, refused to drop me until I checked the news of closures, insisted on getting me to a nearby hotel, despite protests of being perfectly able to look after myself (I am). The kindness is never forgotten. It is that aspect of Americans generally, which is very real and leaves a long impression.

    It is the unreality that took days to fully comprehend, the panic of family back home (was she on one of those planes, with the clogged phone circuits, my son’s boss, who sent him home to check the filed itinerary, with orders not to return before he found his mom), which remain vivid for us all.

    And, both at the time, more poignantly, when the reality had penetrated, the awful sorrow, the sense of the utter damage and futility of such hatred. The courage of all those most affected – reminiscent of the Blitz in England – and the futility, in the end of hatred. Above all, the deep sorrow for all those who lost their nearest, mainly American, some of other countries, and of all religious beliefs.

    I’ve been on postings in countries, during which our embassies have been both directly and indirectly threatened, but not quite as long-lasting an effect as this. We just do the Blitz thing; NYC went on and re-built, never forgetting the families, we do survive, and turning hatred toward the those of the perpetrators’ races and religion would diminish us and achieve – futility.


    • Thanks for this, fitzg. I always hope that Americans will be kind, and that they will be perceived that way. It’s actually something that ties me to my native land in times when I’d like to throw up the towel and leave — the belief I have that Americans can still be kind and generous.


  10. That August my husband, three kids and myself had enjoyed a super three week holiday in California with my siblings and their families who live there. I look back at it with great affection as a care-free time when airports were interesting places to be, rather than interrogation centres with endless queues!

    On the actual day I was making dinner when my eldest son burst into the kitchen babbling about planes flying into buildings in New York. I thought he was joking or that it was some sort of prank on tv. He was quite insistent, so I went into the sitting room to see what he was talking about and remained there the whole of that evening as Norwegian tv ran all the unbelievable stories. My cousins live in New York and one of them worked in that area, but it wasn’t until the next morning that this realisation hit me. When I entered the classroom that morning, one of my pupils remarked that I looked like I’d been crying. We spent a great deal of time that day and for many days to come talking with the children, reassuring them, while sharing in their fears at what this mad act meant.

    This was an event that has affected so many people around the globe. Norway has soldiers serving in Afghanistan. My husband’s friend lost his 19-year old son there two months ago.

    Straddling two cultures (Brit and Norwegian) I’ve learnt not to take things for granted, to look at things from both sides, to be detached. Working with children also teaches tolerance and openness, as they are so immediate in their responses. So, no, I have increasingly become even more convinced that hate is never the answer! Hate generates more hate and the viscious circle continues. We must work together to leave the world a better place for our children and those that come after us.

    What I enjoy so much about the RA-fandom is that we are from so many different countries around the globe and find common interests (not just the gorgeous actor! :))whilst exchanging views and learning from each other. Your blog provides a marvellous meeting place for us, Servetus!


    • So true about the airports, MillyMe.

      And an excellent point about living cross culturally forcing one to look at everything from multiple perspectives — particularly if you are part of a minority in one setting. It’s not so much that we lose or even relativize our own perspectives but we must constantly ask questions about our basic assumptions. I think this is good. And I know I’ve learned a lot from the people who comment here, too.


  11. Around 5 s.m.(Pacific time) on September 11, 2001, I was awakened by screaming. It wasn’t me. All the family were fast asleep. I wondered who was screaming. As I walked into work several women grabbed me and said things like ,” isn’t it horrible?” I said, “Tuesday’s are always bummers.” Then they told me the President was up in Air Force One and we were under attack.

    There is a scientific experiment where a scoop of brine shrimp are lifted from a tank-full of other brine shrimp. The scoop of shrimp is plunged into a vat of boiling water. The experiment shows that the shrimp in the main tank “scream” when the scoop-full is killed. I remembered the early morning screaming and knew I’d heard the screams of those about to die and the rest of us who felt it somehow.

    Friends in New Jersey told of all the cars left at the train station that had not been picked up weeks afterward and never would be picked up by the people who drove them there for their last ride to the twin towers.


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