I lived and worked for several years in Egypt and India and I have come to know that being from different cultures, worshipping God differently, speaking different languages do not make us dissimilar. In fact, I have come to know that we are alike in the ways that we are human, the ways in which we experience life within our families and communities.
On the false mantle in my house is a picture of my son, standing tall among the members of his platoon, graduating from basic infantry training. I think these young men and women are another kind of casualty of 9/11. They have been swept away from their families and communities by conditions arising from catastrophic events, mean political forces and, the stories that political leaders have spun about who on the planet is to be called evil while simultaneously wrapping themselves in pretensions of goodness.
I imagine, with some vividness, another father like myself in Iraq with a picture of his son standing tall among his military buddies. It is the same picture of the same son being swept away by the same conditions.
There have been so many people in the past 60 years who have been ravaged by greed, hatred and ignorance, which are the flesh and bones and blood of war. It is a great pity the people on this planet can not sit down together, drink a cup of coffee, socialize over a game of backgammon and let the kids play soccer and listen to music. Is this vision of what is possible too simple?
I hang a "No War" sign on the front window of my house, give money to campaigns that promote peace, attend community meetings that keep hope alive, I keep myself informed, demonstrate, write letters, discuss the situation with friends, and pray. It sometimes seems like such a puny attempt to save all the sons and daughters in this world but, it is the best I can do right now.
One day this planet will be healed and one day nobody will be able to move the hearts and minds of children in such a way that they might join together for the purpose of hurting one another.