I'm glad I didn't have the chance to catch the PBS 9/11 special last night.
Both Sheila O'Malley and Jeff Jarvis watched it and they both do a good job decomposing the complete lack of humanity in this special. You should go read their posts for some of the more unbelievably cold hearted quotes.
After reading the transcript and feeling somewhat angered at the coldness in the words of the participants, I was heartened - yet saddened - by this beautiful passage spoken by Mario Cuomo:
I would like to see some depiction of all the religions list them all: atheism, ethical humanism, Catholicism, etc., etc. All of them. And you notice that each of those religions, these value systems, have two principles they share in common. And the two principles started with monotheism and the Jews: tzedakah and tikkun olam. [Tzedakah] means generally: we must treat one another as brother and sister. We should show one another respect and dignity, because we are like things. We are human beings in a world that has nothing else like us. And we ought to treat one another with love, charity-use your own words. And the second principle is: Well, what do you do with this relationship? Well, we don't know exactly how we got here, why we got here, etc., etc. That's for minds larger than ours. But we know that we are like kinds, and we should work together to make this as good an experience as possible. Tikkun Olam -- let us repair the universe. Now Islam believes that. Buddhism that has no god believes it. Every ethical humanist I ever met believes it. Those two principles: we're supposed to love one another and we're supposed to work together to make the experience better. That's all the religion you need, really, to make a success of this planet. And I'd like to see that in 9/11 somewhere. I'd like to see that captured somehow.
Beautiful as that sounds, it will never happen as long as people keep perverting their religions and ideologies to fit their demented needs.
It is my deepest hope that some day we do see a world such as that. I want that more than anything for my children, for their children, for the future. But all people have to be willing, not just some of us. We have to come to a future where people aren't striving to be martyred by bombs for their cause.
I hope and I wish and I strive to teach my children exactly what Cuomo was speaking about; tzedakah and tikkun olam. I am only one parent, one teacher. I cannot change what others teach their children, especially others who see their own religion through martyred-colored glasses and show the same to their children.
I long ago left behind the naive young girl I was. I used to believe that if we all joined hands and wished for peace, we would get it, so to speak. It's no longer possible to make this a joint effort. We have to do it one person, one parent, one teacher, one child at a time. Perhaps someday my great-great granchildren will reap the benefits of that. And perhaps that day will never come.
I feel less and less certain about my hopes being fulfilled as the years go on, and the hate and death in the name of religion does not subside.
How do you repair the universe? I don't think it's possible. You can only repair your own heart and soul when they feel torn and worn out, and hope that when you feel renewed and hopeful again, you have enough faith and belief left to help repair someone else's heart - and then to pass that skill on to those who come after you.