The Day That Opened My Eyes

by Swe
My grandmother always said, ď I hate war.Ē Whatís my feeling about war? How could I know? The only thing I know about war is in the movies, and in history books. Itís a topic that never comes across my mind. However, the events that happened in Washington and New York on September 11 changed my world view. I think crisis brings out parts of us that we didnít know existed. Now I realize that I also have very strong feeling about war; that is, I hate war. I donít want war in my country or on my earth. I want peace not only for myself but also for my generation. Also, war is not a solution for this violent action, but compassion is the only antidote to stop this violence.

September 11 was the day that I donít need to write down in my diary to remember. This is the day I will always remember in my heart. On that day, I was in the Rosenberg library, checking my e-mail trying to finish my ESL lab homework. At that time, I heard an announcement that the school was closed for the day. The first thing that came to my mind was to go home and sleep. Instead, I watched TV news all day long. I couldnít really believe what I saw in the news. The terrorist attack that took place involving four hijacked aircraft and the immense devastation they caused shocked me. It is a terrible tragedy that anyone would choose to target the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. It was unbelievable news that America, the most powerful country in the world, was under attack.

The terrorist attacks have apparently struck a great blow to peopleís confidence. People were dazed and confused by this attack. How could this happen to America, the safest country in the world? Once in America, it was easy to be a pacifist. After the Sept. 11 attack, it got harder. Optimists will have to look hard to find any silver linings. A lot of opinions came out after this crisis. Some want to get even with these terrorists and others donít. I also have a very strong feeling about this attack. I want justice though I donít believe in war. I personally believe we need to think seriously whether a violent reaction is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and the people in the long run. We should be careful not to allow hate and anger to cloud our minds. It is true that it will take time to overcome this present tragedy, but we will. During that time, we need to be calm and make the right decisions.

Before this attack, I didnít have any opinion about war but now I do. As a religious Buddhist, I donít believe in revenge. An eye for an eye is not the way to solve the problem. I realized that when you kill someone, you take away everything he has and he is ever going to have. Also, when you drop bombs on the enemy, you drop bombs on yourself, on your own country. If you want to get even with these terrorists, of course, it is not a difficult job since we are living in a technologically advanced society. The only thing we have to do is send our sons, friends and neighbors whom we love into the war to get bullets into their warm living hearts. Is that what we really want to do? If the answer is ďYesĒ, we wonít be different from these terrorists.

Another problem we have is that we donít have time for other people. We are becoming more and more self-centered and selfish. We are so busy thinking about ourselves and talking and sorrowing about our own problems that we forget to listen to what other people have to say and what their feelings are. In a recent interview, a brown-robed monk was asked what heíd say if he could speak to Osama bin Laden. He said that the first thing he would do is listen. He would listen with great care to understand the roots of suffering that were the cause of the violent action. He added that all violence is injustice and the only antidote to violence is compassion. I canít agree with him more. If we could understand the root of this terrorist attack, we might know how to solve this problem of terrorism.

The best thing that came out of this terrorist attack for me is that it opened my eyes to interest in the world; I am not a bystander anymore. I need to have a say about what I believe in. If we lived in an ideal world, pacifism would be the answer. But we are living in the real world, which is not perfect. Anything can happen, but we need to make the right decision. We need to make sure that we do not lose our freedom in the name of revenge.