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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Remembering the fallen

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In slightly more than 12 hours from now, New York City will see the dawn of another bitter anniversary – the attacks that happened on September 11, 2001.

September 11 Memorial, image taken from  Second Edition, hosting by Photobucket

Walski, like many others around the world, remembers exactly what he was doing when he first found out about the tragedy that happened 9 years ago. Let’s not get into the polemics of who was responsible, etc. A tragedy is a tragedy, regardless of whom it befalls.

Today also happens to be the second day of Eid-ul Fitr – Hari Raya Aidil Fitri to Malaysians. And perhaps while we visit one another and ingloriously feast (Malaysians love food, what else can Walski say?) perhaps it’s apt that we forget not the fallen who died that day.
(hate is easy, and more, in the full post)

But it wasn’t just American citizens who died that fateful day 9 years ago. All told, citizens from 54 other countries perished as well, including 4 from Malaysia:

  • Ang Siew Nya
  • Gerard Phillip*
  • Khoo Sei Lai
  • Vijayashanker Paramsothy
* unconfirmed, but remains on most 9/11 casualty lists

Of late, the controversy surrounding the September 11 attacks have been renewed, and centered around the proposal to build the Cordoba House, a few blocks away from the area known as Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center used to stand.

There are opponent and proponents for the cultural center, and Walski doesn’t really wish to get into the debate. The point is, however, that September 11 has officially been attributed to the Al-Qaeda terrorist collective, headed by the elusive (and some say imaginary) Osama bin Laden.

In the minds of some, and by association, however, the blame has been laid squarely upon the religion of Islam. In the United States, since the tragedy, there have been many reports of hate crimes against Muslims, or those “looked like Arabs” (including Sikhs with turbans). Some say that there has been a marked increase.

And as if to perpetuate this claim of blame upon the entire Muslim populace, one slightly loony pastor in Florida has plans to burn as many copies of the Holy Quran that he could find. Fortunately, the planned book burning, slated for today has been indefinitely postponed (via The Miami Herald).

To lay blame for the September 11 attacks upon all Muslims is, of course, as ridiculous as saying all Christians wish for nothing more than to burn the Quran and be hateful towards Muslims.

Image taken from, hosting by Photobucket

One thing is clear though – as exemplified in the cartoon above – hate breeds hate. An act of hate (burning the Quran) will begat more hatred among Muslims worldwide, not just towards one off-kilter fringe pastor in Florida, but perhaps against all Christians.

It is therefore fortunate that the pastor has called off the burning amidst pressure from the majority of his countrymen (and women). Fortunate not so much because his act of hatred will inflame others and perpetuate the hate, but because what he intended to do is, in fact, dishonoring those who fell today 9 years ago.

We shouldn’t remember September 11 with hatred, because when we do, the real winners are those who thrive on hate and mayhem. Whoever they may be. Hate is all-consuming, and in the end it becomes a zero-sum game – everybody loses.

Don’t know about you, but Walski definitely doesn’t like to lose. Or, be a loser – what Walski feels people who intrinsically hate essentially are.

Nope. What he will do today is remember, with some amount of sadness, those who fell 9 years ago on this day. But at the same time, he will also be thankful to God for giving the majority of His children the world over the strength to not hate.

It’s very easy to hate. To understand, empathize with, and wishing upon others peace and love – that takes effort. But it’s effort worth making, as we remember the fallen as well as all the others who have suffered because of the events that took place nine years ago…