11 September 2006

Murder

It's five years now since the day the world changed -- or rather, the day when the real world burst through the fa├žade of the dream world we had believed in.

The magnitude of that event was almost beyond words, but words are important. One word I am tired of hearing associated with September 11 is "tragedy". A tragedy, to me, is something like an earthquake or a tsunami -- not an act deliberately committed by anyone, but something that just happens.

September 11 was not a "tragedy" in this sense. It was murder.

The distinction is important because the word "murder" focuses our attention on an important fact which the word "tragedy" glosses over: the fact that there was a murderer. This event did not "just happen". Specific people did it.

The same applies to all the talk of "healing" and "moving on". That makes it sound as if the main thing we need to do is to come to terms with our own feelings. That's not unimportant, but what's really most vital is the ongoing task of dealing with the people who attacked us, and the people who supported them in various ways, and those like them who contemplate further such acts (or worse) in the future -- to ensure, by whatever means are necessary, that we will not be attacked again.

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