Party to the Battle of Terrorism

“There but for fortune go you and I, you and I.”

To live in peace, to be with family and friends, to love, to laugh, to enjoy life — to have a life that helps us escape from the dreary misery of boring existence — to connect with something larger than ourselves, whether it be belief in God, religious worship, service to others, community that bonds us together — this is what most people want from life. To create, to express, to dream, to wish for something beautiful. To share with others, to not feel alone in this world — this is also what spiritual servants do to lift up their congregants.

What gives people the right to kill innocents? Not the right, what gives them the impetus? The hatred? The passion to justify extreme violence meant to send a message of fear to the world? After sixty years, in September, 2008, India and Pakistan took a big step toward peace in signing an accord about their trade routes called the Indus Waters Treaty. Then on the very same day of the Mumbai attacks, India and Pakistan signed a “joint anti-terrorism mechanism.” Is this why terrorists attacked Mumbai’s affluent and popular spots?

There was initial speculation that the murder of the young Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife, Rivka, at the Chabad house in the Colaba district might have been a random act. It seemed obvious to me that once again Jews were a target, the center was deliberately attacked as a statement against Israel. This was confirmed by the captured terrorist, Kasab, who initially pleaded for his own life after being disturbed at the sight of his dead comrade in crime. That chickenshit plea disgusts me.

Israel’s foreign minister challenges the world in her statement, quoted here from the NY Times:

In a news conference broadcast Friday on Israeli radio, Tzipi Livni, Israel’s foreign minister said: “We know that the targets there that were sought out by the terrorists were Jewish and Israeli targets as well as targets that are perceived as Western targets — American and British.”

She added: “We need to understand that there’s a world here, our world, that has been attacked. And it doesn’t matter if it’s happened in India or somewhere else. We have here radical Islamic elements who do not accept either our existence or the values of the Western world. And only when incidents of this sort occur is it suddenly understood from conversations with leaders from around the entire world that we are actually party to the same battle. (bolding mine)

After planning and plotting, hijacking a boat, scouting out their targets in advance, donning police uniforms after murdering their wearers, killing whomever they pleased at the CST train station, then at the Oberion, the Taj Mahal Hotel, and local cafe, it is becoming clear that this was a well-planned attack. Perhaps it’s my love of the gentle, generous demeanor of the Indian people, the way my ears perceive the melodious tones of their accents, or their sensual love roots in the Khama Sutra, or the attack on the world’s largest Democracy. The hotel workers were repeatedly cited as heroes, placing themselves in the line of fire to save hotel guests. They were, afterall, only paid workers, but their dignity shone through.

The innocents the US kills in this battle of terrorism to counter those who killed us. The tribal warfare, the retaliations, enslavement of women, of children, even the anger and resentments, the self-otherness of those who cannot tolerate people different than themselves. The self-righteousness of people who fail to see beyond themselves. Frankly, I’m just sick of it.

Tenets of Buddhism posit that even anger is a form of violence. I’m even tired of complaining about politicians, businesses, governments, systems, and sects that screw others for their own gain. I’m just sick of fighting about anything. Perhaps, it’s just the holidays and families gathering together, attempting in their big or small ways to get along and put their screwed up history of interactions behind them. Perhaps, it’s me resolving to reclaim my dignity and honor that of others.

“I’m tired of fighting, tired of fighting, fighting for a lost cause.”

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5 thoughts on “Party to the Battle of Terrorism

  1. Thank you for this very poignant post, Lady Boomer.

    As part of my morning ritual of journaling and meditation, I’ve been reading Vietnamese Buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh.

    And although I host a political opinion blog (I’m a long-time Hillary supporter) I’m hoping to integrate some of the principles TNH teaches into my commentary.

    I liked your point about non-violence.

    I’m going to link to your blog from Katalusis.

  2. Thanks, VB. I visited Katalusis and will link to you, too. I’m also a long-time student of Eastern meditative teachers, practitioner of vipassana and, before that, zazen meditation. I’ve gotten away from many of my practices over this last year, instead focusing on the political battles. This seems like a good time to resume my practices and ponder how to integrate both worlds in the way forward, in my writing and the dialog to make the world better.

  3. “The self-righteousness of people who fail to see beyond themselves. Frankly, I’m just sick of it.”

    Me, too.

    The problem is that most people cannot recognize their own ignorance, and even if they do go on like before to avoid self-confrontation.

  4. Hello again, Lady Boomer,

    I, too, got caught up in politics this year and looking back, the adversarial nature of campaigns seems so destructive. After its over, we’re all supposed to just forget the verbal abuse and not take seriously any promises that were made. As in, “It was all done in the heat of the campaign, so therefore it doesn’t count.”

    I started reading Thich Nhat Hanh during the summer when I began practicing meditation daily, and I’ve gradually begun to replenish my energy. It has even occurred to me that we might be able to develop an online sangha.

    When I see that visitors to Katalusis come from – all over the world, I find myself thinking what a wonderful tool for peace the internet could be.

    What do you think?

  5. You asked what right people have to kill innocents?

    Well, we don’t have any right.

    From your terrific and thoughtful words, I am hoping that you defend everyone’s right to live.

    Especially the innocent babies.

    Delle

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