Four commercial airliners hijacked by suicidal terrorists and turned into
weapons of mass destruction killed thousands of U.S. citizens at the World
Trade Center In New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and aboard
the planes. Why did such mass terrorism rend the fabric of America's
innocence? When I saw the second airliner crash into the other World Trade
Center tower on network television, my mind flashed back three weeks to a TV
story from Hebron near Jerusalem in the "war zone" of the Israeli-Arab
conflict. I remembered the sickening feeling I experienced when I saw elated
Arab youths, who appeared to be about 10 to 14 years of age, as they cheered
beneath picture posters of deceased Arabic suicide bombers. With tears in my
eyes I told my wife that the youths said they couldn't wait to be old enough
to become suicide bombers like the "martyrs" on the posters who had gone on
to "paradise." With the sort of idolization and admiration that American
youth reserve for sports heroes one of them said he wanted to die for his
peoples' cause more than anything else because, "the Israelis are going to
kill us all anyway."
From the great medieval Crusades of the "Christians" to slaughter the Arabs
and capture the Holy City of Jerusalem from the "infidels," to the
interminable bloody conflict over Jerusalem and "The Holy Land" between
Jewish Israelis and Islamic Arabs, the senseless slaughter and madness
Billions of U.S. tax dollars supply the sophisticated weaponry of the
Israelis and the armed forces of Arab nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt
while the U. S. defense industry makes big profits. The U.S. dominated
energy cartel uses Middle-Eastern conflict as an excuse to charge exorbitant
prices to an energy dependent world and increase their revenues. If the U.S.
declares war and attacks oil-producing Arabic countries in retaliation for
the "Attack on America," the weapons industry will rake in even more
profits, the energy industry will have an excuse to charge more for their
products and the big media conglomerate's ratings and profits will soar over
the coverage of the violence and carnage of war.
Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the "Attack on America", is the
billionaire son of a former Saudi Arabian laborer who got rich doing
construction business for the oil industry there. Bin Laden was recruited
and trained by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency to be a leader in
fighting the Russians in the Afghanistan War. This area is vital to U.S.
based energy interests because it is near the oil rich Caspian Sea area.
Since then bin Laden claims to be totally disenchanted with the U.S. because
of our support for Israel and our use of our military and economic power
against Arabic people in places like Iraq, the West Bank and Gaza. Bin Laden
has said that the taxpaying citizens of the U.S. who fund the destruction of
Arabic people are not "innocents."
Many of our leaders who are calling for a "declaration of war" against "evil
people" who perpetrated the terror "against America" are responding to the
primal human folly of revenge that has caused more human suffering than
anything. The real evil is to answer hatred with hatred and killing with
killing. Whether we kill other human beings because of religion,
nationality, race, ethnicity or whatever, the real evil is the notion that
more killing is the answer. Like President Bush, our thoughts and prayers
are with those who died from Tuesday's terrorism and their families and
friends. As one who professes to pray to Jesus every morning in the oval
office, I hope our President will heed the words of Jesus in the Sermon on
the Mount who said, "..it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for
a tooth" ..."but I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse
you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use
you, and persecute you."
A few weeks ago at our Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship in Columbia, South
Carolina we were brought a message by a Middle East historian from the
University of South Carolina. His topic was the Islamic claim to Jerusalem
and he related how the Islamic religion recognizes Muhammad as the ultimate
and the last great prophet. Other great prophets of Islam were Jewish
leaders like Abraham and Solomon and Jesus. According to Islamic tradition,
Muhammad ascended to Heaven from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem to join the
other great prophets. Why can't this wonderful myth of inter-religious
unity be employed by political and religious leaders as a building block for
peace to end the longest and most bloody struggle in the history of modern
Rather than declaring war and continuing the escalation of "eye for an eye"
killing why doesn't President Bush convene a peace conference in Jerusalem
with all the leaders of the nations and religions involved. He could declare
the biblical "New Jerusalem" and gather at the Temple Mount with these
powerful leaders who always seem to call on the poor people to fight and die
in the madness of mortal combat. We need to work harder than ever before for
peace. We must convince our fellow human beings that there is no difference
among people anywhere worth killing one more person over.
Tom Turnipseed, former President of the SC Trial Lawyers Association, is a plaintiff's and civil rights attorney in Columbia, SC. He was co-counsel for the Macedonia Baptist Church, an African American congregation in Clarendon County, SC which won a $37,000,000.00 (Thirty Seven Million Dollar) verdict in 1998 against the Ku Klux Klan for burning their church. A former SC State Senator, he is active in state politics and has been the democratic nominee for state Attorney General and Congress. Tom is President of the Center for Democratic Renewal (formerly the Anti-Klan Network) a nationally recognized civil rights organization based in Atlanta. In 1998, he received the Holmes-Weatherly Award, the Unitarian-Universalist Association's highest honor for the pursuit of social justice. For many years, Tom has spoken and written on political and human rights. He has hosted radio and television shows in Columbia, SC and recently appeared on PBS' American Experience in "George Wallace: Settin' the Woods on Fire", April 23rd and 24th, 2000, MSNBC's "Equal Time" with Oliver North and Paul Begala, February 18th, 2000, C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" with Brian Lamb, January 14th, 2000 and Fox Family Network's series "Courage", September 11, 2000. His work has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlanta Constitution, The Charlotte Observer and other papers.