The need for peace is not achieved by inflicting more fear, hate and suffering into the world. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King said, "peace is not simply a distant goal, but a means of achieving that goal."

Our New World

by Jeff Cuiule and Audrey Cusson


Dear Friends,

The horrendous events of September 11th have taken their toll on all of us. It has taken nearly a month before we could compose our thoughts. Like the rest of the world, we've been looking for answers. How could this happen? Who is responsible? How can we prevent an attack like this from happening again? Everyone seems to be searching for answers, but the truth is there really are no simple "answers" to any of these questions.

The media would have us believe otherwise, and this edition of our online magazine addresses some of those issues - we feel that all of us need to be very conscious of what we're reading and listening to in this very important time we're living in. Journalism is about getting "the story" and good stories are simple stories. Stories that are most likely to attract the most listeners are simple stories. Within hours of the disaster, every network had conveniently packaged this enormous change in the simplest of terms: America Under Attack, America Rises, and - most disturbing - America's New War.

Simple makes for nice terse close-ended stories. Simple is what readers and viewers want to hear. In the end, simple is what sells. War does well too. The Gulf War made media "stars" out of so many broadcast journalists. CNN's ratings went through the roof and made it a cable staple for most subscribers. In the past few weeks we've almost heard of no other alternative on news programming than that military strikes are a foregone conclusion. Of course our leadership has been helping to fuel the stories: we've been told that end will come "at an hour of our choosing", that the conflict will be as simple as a sheriff in a Western hunting down the bad guys, "dead or alive", that flag-waving and singing God Bless America will help us "prevail" and that "you're either with us or against us". Simple.

To the Bush administration's credit, there have been clear declarations that the Islamic faith is blameless, that Arab-American's here at home should be treated with respect and compassion and that hate-crimes will not be tolerated. Unfortunately, those pleas have received little airplay. In addition, shots of isolated groups of Pakistanis and Palestinians shouting anti-American chants are not helping to clarify events for anyone. The inspirational, healing inter-faith ceremony conducted at Yankee Stadium for the departed was only aired in its entirety by one local New York station. The networks chose to air football and NASCAR that afternoon instead.

We believe there is no military action we could embark on that will ever make our world appear as it did prior to the attack. No way that terrorism will ever be put to rest by "taking out" any one individual or set of individuals - no matter how vile the acts they commit - the fact is, there is way too much hate out there in the world right now. This is not the answer. Once again, there is no answer.

The need for peace is not achieved by inflicting more fear, hate and suffering into the world. As the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King said, "peace is not simply a distant goal, but a means of achieving that goal."

We need to more fully understand why this hatred toward America exists in the world, and address those issues in future foreign policy matters (and when each of us visit other countries). Conversely we need to understand that there is an enormous outpouring of emotion around the world in response to this tragedy; we need to understand that we are in this with the rest of the world - this isn't simply an American issue. We need to view ourselves as one with the rest of the world, instead of a breed apart.

And as simple as this idea may seem, it's our hope that we can move forward from this horrific act understanding that peace is only achievable by each of us taking the time to give love every day. To quote another modern sage, Thich Nhat Hanh, "peace is every step."

 

 

 

 

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