Tolerance must be maintained

Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2001

Like everyone in this nation must be, my family and I are absolutely horrified and sickened by the senseless, cowardly and barbaric attacks of terrorism that befell New York, Washington D.C., and Pennsylvania. Our deepest condolences, thoughts, and prayers go out to all of the victims and their families. I, too, had family involved. A cousin of mine who was in WTC Tower 1 when the first plane hit. Much to my relief, she made it out and is alive and well, though the fireman who escorted her out is believed to be among the dead after the collapse of WTC Tower 2.

Throughout this tragedy bin Laden and other Middle Eastern factions have been on top of the suspects list. I hold whomever responsible for this tragedy and any country or state that harbored and aided them in the utmost disgust and contempt and wish for a swift and harsh response by the United States. However, much to my horror as well, I have heard stories throughout the day of people of Middle Eastern descent being persecuted, hounded, threatened, and assaulted just for being of Middle Eastern descent. This must NOT be allowed to continue under any circumstance. I know numerous people, generous human beings, of Middle Eastern descent that I hold in the highest esteem whose integrity I would never question. We must not allow ourselves to fall into barbarism just because of someone's race or religious belief. The Arab community is an important part of many areas of our nation. These people are our friends, neighbors, loved ones, and citizens of this great country. To condemn and persecute them for the actions of a few crazed zealots is tantamount to treating dandruff by decapitation. Though we can do little in regards to other parts of the nation, here in Juneau we can make sure that our community remains the community that we all love. Let's not blame the whole for the actions of the few. If we do, were no better than the terrorists.

Mark Veter


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