Thirteen years ago, something unthinkable happened in America and it struck at the core of what they believed was their safe world. Thirteen years ago, I watched very briefly the fall of the twin towers after my assistant dragged me, at work, into the news room to watch a replay of what had just happened. Thirteen years ago, I had to walk away from the news room because I felt incredibly overwhelmed by what I was witnessing, albeit with a delay. I had just moved to the UK.
Since then, i have learnt to shield myself from the bombarding of terrible news that people who watch TV on a regular basis experience day in day out. I have learnt to see that there is a very real bias towards the bad and the ugly and that this conveniently feeds the fear that is already dormant in us. I have also realised that anyone in pain would create a similar pain in me and I couldn’t carry on taking on the pain of the world. Witnessing once the twin tower collision and the death of hundreds of people had me in tears. When I reached home that night, I went on my knees and prayed. I prayed for the people who had lost loved ones. I prayed for the world. I prayed for the mistaken souls who thought that they could claim to kill in the name of God. I prayed for peace.
When I woke up the next morning, I was inspired to do this mosaic (a picture of my mosaic will be inserted here as soon as I have a chance to get to my computer). I had never been inclined to think about angels before. I was only just getting used to the idea that I had a guardian angel. I had never seen the symbol OM before. And yet, there it was. All.
As I progressed into the making of the mosaic, my soul was looking for a meaning. What was this all about? An idea started to sprout in my mind. I wondered if those extremists weren’t speaking for the outrage of the Arabic world at what was being done in Israel to the Palestinian community. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t condone violence in any form. On any side. Not even when someone else started. I wouldn’t accept it from my kids, why is it considered acceptable by adults? I am myself French from Jewish ancestry but I prefer to see myself as a citizen of the world. I will not take sides.
I knew, however, that from all big tragedies, hidden blessings come, in time. And love and behold, as the months rolled over, some friends who lived in NY reported how people started talking to each other. How people were more helpful. The tragedy had turned what was a rather dehumanised city into a neighborhood. My heart started to warm up from the big freeze it experienced when witnessing the waste of so many lives. They had not died in vain.
But on the verge of a big war on ISIS by the USA, I can’t help thinking today that one message has been missed from the tragedy of thirteen years ago: the USA doesn’t seem to understand that the Arabic world needs respect. All my friends who had Arabic roots or who were married to Muslims and who lived in the US were being targeted by humiliating checks. It was happening before. It became worse after 2001. And unfortunately, I think it’s not getting any better.
Today I pray to the angels that not only the USA and the UK not go to war. I pray that all beings are considered equal. I pray that someone sees common sense and goes got the root of the ire of the Muslims (not all of them, of course, the extremists) and see the obvious link. It is so easy to overlook anger in the “minority” (I am laughing here because Islam is the first religion of the world) when you represent a country that chips in for the white Anglo-Saxon establishment. I pray that our leaders understand how arrogant they can come across. We know that in our schools, bullying cannot be tackled by threatening bullies. Bullies are usually individuals who have suffers abuse or neglect. Why can’t adults practice what they preach before hundreds and thousands of human beings are thrown into a bloody war?
Can’t we learn the lessons of the past?
Ange de Lumiere