Do we care more now about the Taliban, or Survivor 3?

by David Webb

September 12, 2001

Thank you for your memoriam Sean. It was very measured, well written and greatly appreciated. I wish we could have heard a statement like this from one of our national leaders. My wife Joanne asked for me to express to you how it restored in her a level of comfort that she'd lost in the events of the day. Thanks from her.

Joanne and I seem to be surrounded by friends and family members citing the dawn of the Biblical Apocalypse and urging us (yet again) to start reading the popular "Left Behind" series. We're frustrated by their apparent inability to see that this is exactly the kind of religious sensationalism that lies at the core of this outrageous terrorist attack. We're even more puzzled by their "Christian" recommendation to study erroneous fiction rather than read the Holy Bible. Go figure.

Joanne and I believe that we live in a universal state of free will, which is largely unregulated by divine manipulation. Yesterday's events illustrate this all too well. We are all victims of great and small evils performed by ignorant human beings. As has always been the case, the innocent pay for the evil of the iniquitous. This is not news. What may have changed overnight is not the realization that the potential for evil exists in our world, but that the evil can penetrate our borders, topple our icons, and kill thousands of our loved ones. Yes, it can happen here.

The fact that these acts were accomplished for no more than the price of 25 one-way airline tickets and a few utility knives underscores the notion that the main resource for this mission was not tremendous economic backing, superior weaponry, nor divinely inspired ideologies but the simple self-righteous evil that grows like a cancer in the hearts of men. This tragedy has not come about via the temptation of devils or world dominating antichrists but is the result of misplaced hatred, unrelenting anger, fear and abject ignorance. Human ignorance!

I expect the US response against the perpetrators to be substantial as well as the response to what you so aptly described as the "complacency" that allowed these people to board planes and so easily change the course of history. If found to be responsible, I expect Osama bin Laden and his terrorist network to be pursued, apprehended, and brought to justice in a world court - whatever the cost. I also expect that any country harboring these fugitives be served notice that negotiations will be sharply limited after which they may expect anything from air strikes to a complete invasion of their country until bin Laden (et al) is proved dead or in international custody.

But let me be very clear, we as the United States, are not without our own evil. Our evil is largely the evil of global greed and unbelievable international apathy. We have allowed our corporate industries to parasitically rape third world nations for natural resources and cheap labor. We pollute the air and waters, create dependencies within these countries for our products, then punish the peons rather than the national leaders with economic sanctions.

US government agencies have routinely deposed legitimate foreign leaders, sold arms to "democratic revolutionaries", and set up puppet governments in every hemisphere of the world. Our manipulative "influence" be it political, economic, military, or cultural has permeated every continent, nation, archipelago, and atoll on the face of the earth. We give them McDonald's, Lethal Weapon II, Starbucks, and the universal panacea for all that is wrong with the world.Coca-Cola.

Are we, the US taxpayer and consumer, guilty parties in the US politico-economic global dominance "conspiracy"? If so, perhaps the most enabling force in this "conspiracy" is the apathy of the American people. When it comes to knowledge of world current affairs and the involvement (overt or covert) of our own government and industries: we don't know, and we don't care. The World Trade Center is gone now, the Pentagon is still in flames after 40 plus hours, and hundreds (perhaps thousands) of Americans are now dead or dying beneath the rubble. Do we care what the Taliban is now or is the third season of Survivor more important to us? Open another can of brown carbonated sugar water, won't you?

War will not solve the problems that confront us. Just as the decisions made at the end of World War I created the conditions that resulted in World War II; the world order that was put into place at the close of World War II set the stage for the cold war and the current Middle Eastern conflict. War begets more war. We cannot stop aggression with more aggression especially when fanatic religion is the motivating force. Faith in such ideologies may not be quelled with anything less than genocide. War is by nature a physical manifestation of the conflict of divergent and stubbornly held ideologies. In that respect all wars are religious wars. It's perhaps the ultimate irony that so much of mankind is willing to die for their religion when it might be far better if religion were to die for the sake of all mankind.

Suffice it to say, we will endure as people and as a civilization. We will not be seeing the rapturous disappearance of faithful Christians being taken to heaven before the great apocalypse - as per their interpretations of the Book of Revelation. Neither will we see the "Judeo-Christian Capitalist devils" crushed before the eyes of the downtrodden nations of Islam. What we will bear witness to is that, in spite of this unspeakable tragedy, the outpouring of true selfless love, human sacrifice, and heroism will eclipse all the acts of cowardice and hate from which they've emerged. This is happening in New York City as we speak. I believe this is the true path for all of us, it's the treasure that indwells us, and the message I wish to pass on to all children of the Earth:

The minority of evil in the world is overwhelmingly dwarfed by the majority of love that lives in, and among us.

If there is a "sleeping giant" in this story - it is the story our love for our neighbor and our recognition that we have the strength to persevere, the integrity to judge fairly, and the love to guide civilization into an enduring sense of international brotherhood. God help us all come to this simple realization.

Thanks for lighting your candle Sean, I too have lit mine.

David Webb