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September 11, 2001

Day of Hatred

By Gary F. Zeolla

Attack on America, America Under Attack,
Day of Infamy, Day of Terror, Day of Disaster

The events of September 11, 2001 have been called many things. But to me, maybe the best name might be “Day of Hatred” as hatred was surely the motive for the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. And, unfortunately, hatred is being expressed by many as a result of the attacks, both on the day of the attacks and today, the day after.

Inconceivable Hatred

I have often expressed on this site the dismay I feel when I receive “hate email” from people who disagree with me. I simply cannot conceive of how people can got so angry at me simply because we disagree on some point of theology or even over what Bible version to use. I have posted some such emails on this site, but I receive far more than what I post.

For instance, just this week I received an email from someone who disagreed with me on the subject of Bible versions. He ended the email by saying, “Heretic. Your sin will find you out!” What was most interesting about this email is the person did not give his name and used a fake email address. So he didn’t even have the guts to attach his name or enable me to respond.

And this experience is a very small example of the hatred expressed in horrific proportions in the attacks. And as with the email, these cowards have so far hidden who they are. However, the USA will eventually find out who was behind the attacks. And when we do, we will find out exactly what their “beef” is with the US. But whatever it was, it will never justify what happened yesterday.

Also unjustifiable was the incredible images of people in the Middle East celebrating over the attacks. Most despicable was seeing the children being encouraged to join in the celebrations.

Hatred in Response?

Almost as disturbing as these images is what I have already heard said by Americans about how the USA should respond. One caller to a local radio station said we should “nuke Afghanistan.” Another said we should return in kind “100 fold.” Another caller said we should stop immigration and “get rid of all immigrants in the US.”

A Reuter’s news article reported that in an Internet chat room someone wrote, "Drop atomic bombs all over the Middle East.” I even just read a comment in an Internet newsgroup that anyone in New York City who looked like a Palestinian was being beat up. And most distressing, I just talked to my 15-year-old niece. She says the teenagers at school were going around saying, "blow them all up."

There are several problems with such comments. First off, on the day of the attacks we did not yet know who was behind the attacks. Maybe it was Osama bin Laden as has been proposed, or maybe it was Sadam Hussein, Iran, or other known enemies of the USA. And everyone was assuming it was foreigners that were responsible. But we just didn’t know for sure. As with the Oklahoma City bombing, it could have turned out that it is a white American.

Now the evidence at this time does appears to pointing towards the terrorists being Muslims, but that is not cause for the bigotry that such comments demonstrate. We do need to extract justice against whatever Muslims or others who were involved or in any way aided them in the attack. But that in no way means that ALL Muslims are somehow responsible.

I am appalled by the actions of these Muslims, but I in no way hold any kind of ill will let alone hatred towards Muslims in general. And I am also appalled by cries on talk radio for all Arabic Americans to be interned as was despicably done with Japanese Americans during World War II.


As I said, eventually the USA will find out who was responsible for the attacks. And there will be some very stiff retribution. As the above comment about “nuking Afghanistan” indicates, many are not at all concerned about killing innocent civilians in our attempt to “get even.” But, fortunately, I am sure the USA would not respond with such a horrendous act. The US will not purposely kill innocent civilians to “get even.”

However, I also believe that we just might not be as concerned about the “incidental” killing of civilians in our attempts to get the terrorists.

President Bush even said that we would exact justice on the terrorists “and anyone who harbors them.” I am not a pacifist, and do agree that something serious needs to be done both to exact justice against the perpetrators and to try to deter future attacks. And bombing an aspirin factory or an empty terrorist camp simply will not cut it this time. But it does scare me when we start talking about exacting justice against anyone who harbors terrorists.

It scares me as if it proves a nation is somehow harboring the terrorists, we could end up in a full-scale war. Now that just might be what will be needed. And I will back the President if it comes to that, but I seriously pray that it will not. And it scares me as the greater the scope of retribution, the great the chance that innocent civilians will be killed.

But most of all, if say a Muslim nation is involved, it will further fuel the bigotry against Muslims in this country.

Bigotry and Hatred

I will never understand bigotry, and I pray I never will. To paint an entire group of people as targets for hatred because of the actions of a very small few of that group is simply inconceivable and as illogical as can be to me. And I don’t care if it is bigotry of some Muslims against Americans or some Americans against Muslims, it simply makes no sense to me.

I also will never understand the kind of hatred that leads to bigotry, and again, pray I never will. I disagree with many people over many issues, but I do so without holding any kind of anger or malice towards those whom I disagree with. So I continue to be dismayed when I receive emails like the one mentioned above. And I am still in complete disbelief over the magnitude of the attacks on America and kind of hatred that lead to it.

Miscellaneous Ramblings

Comments about hatred aside, I do have some comments about the attacks. I spent the day of the attacks with the TV and radio on and logged onto the Internet, surfing between channels, stations, Web sites, and Newsgroups. As appalled as I was by what was happening, I just couldn’t’ seem to get enough information. And I am sure many other Americans and even those in other countries were also glued to one or more sources of information. What is it about human nature that causes us to act in such ways?

As an aside to the celebrations in the Middle East, it was interesting that in the background of the celebrations was a PepsiŽ machine. If they hate us so much, why are they using our products?

As others have pointed out, it is interesting that the date was 9-11. We’re not sure yet if this was intentional, but it is ironic.

It’s especially ironic for those of us in the Pittsburgh, PA area given a 911 cell phone call was made from someone in the plane that crashed near Pittsburgh. The caller was telling the 911 dispatch the plane was being hijacked.

Another cell phone call was made to the Pittsburgh area to a woman by her brother who was trapped underneath the rubble of one of the Towers. He tried calling 911 in NYC but wasn’t able to get through. So he called his sister, who called 911 here, who in turn called the NYC 911. The rescuers then called the man’s cell phone number and were able to locate where he was. However, it has not yet been reported if they were able to get to him under all of the rubble.

But I cannot image the terror him and others must be experiencing being trapped under all of that rubble. For that matter, I can’t image the terror of those who were in the buildings at the time of the attacks.

Words cannot express the gratitude that should go out to all of rescue workers, firefighters, police officers, paramedics, and other medical personal that are risking their lives and putting in untold number of hours trying to help the victims. From what I last heard, 202 firefighters and 57 NYPD officers were missing. And the emotional turmoil alone of dealing with such a massive number of casualties must be unbelievable.

Even those recovering the remains of the crash near Pittsburgh will probably have nightmares for their efforts. I just heard that none of the bodies are intact, and they are currently marking the locations of body parts and pieces of the plane for the investigation before removing the remains.

But on an up-note, reports of survivors are going in. In an incredible story, a man who was on the 86th floor of one of the Towers survived when the tower collapsed underneath him! The best guess is that he “rode” the crumbling debris as it went done. His descent would have been slowed as each floor ”pancaked” on the floor below.

I also heard that four trapped firefighters and one trapped police officer were rescued. I pray others who might still be alive will also be rescued.

And it is very heartening that not all of those close to the attacks are harboring hatred. The above mentioned Reuter’s news article reported, “But expressions of anger, gloating and hatred were matched by calls for prayers and sympathy for the thousands who died and their friends and relatives. ‘Let us pray for those who died. Christians, Jews and Muslims,’ said one New Yorker, who said that people from all three monotheist religions had died in the attacks.’” And in fact, there are plenty of prayer vigils going on in the Pittsburgh area as will as across the country.

In addition, blood donors are flooding in across the country. The Pittsburgh Penguins had previously scheduled a blood drive for the day after the attacks. But the number of people donating is far exceeding previous expectations. And, of course, the Red Cross, the Salvation Army, and many other organizations are fully mobilized to provide whatever assistance they can, both from here in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.

All of these are instances of Americans coming together to deal with these attacks. And it is my hope and prayer that these attacks will continue to bring Americans together rather than divide us.

Newsgroup Posts

Below are a couple of posts I made in the fibromyalgia newsgroup the day of the attacks. Yes, it was rather off topic for the group, but what else was there really worth discussing at the time?

A plane crashed in Somerset County, PA, about 80 miles south of Pittsburgh. I live about 20 miles NE of Pittsburgh. There were no survivors. The largest piece of the plane still intact is smaller than a telephone book. There were 44 people on board, including the crew.

The plane crashed in an unpopulated area. We may never know what actually happened. My best guess is that there was some kind of fight on board, and the pilots were able to get enough control of the plane to crash it rather than let the plane be taken to its "target." There will be more than one unknown hero before this is all over.

An interesting point is someone made a cell phone call from the plane to 911 reporting the highjacking. That call is now being analyzed by the FBI to see if it can give any clues at to what happened. And they are still searching for the “black box." I do pray it is found. It also could give us come clue as to what actually happened.

Pittsburgh has basically been shut down. The USX Tower (the tallest building in the city) was evacuated first. The rest of the tall buildings were evacuated. All government buildings were closed, and many business are shutting down. Most schools have left out earlier. I'll be calling my niece and nephews when I log off. Traffic is a nightmare coming out of Pittsburgh.

I assume the same scenario is being repeated in major cities throughout the country.

I picked up an order at a health food distributor this morning. There wasn't a dry eye in the place. And they couldn't even run my credit card through the system. The just wrote down the number and said they will wait until tomorrow to process it.

What a nightmare!!!!!

I just got some good news about relatives in NYC. My cousin lives and works in Manhattan. But he was on a plane coming back from Greece at the time of the bombings. His plane got diverted to Newfoundland, Canada (thank you to our great neighbors to the north).

Another cousin was in upstate NY, and his wife says he's stranded there for now. And the wife says she used to work in the WTC, 96th floor, but works elsewhere now. The rest of my relatives in NY appear not to have been directly affected.

Meanwhile, my brother was supposed to be on a plane going on a business trip. But he canceled going. His co-workers are now stranded in Atlanta.

Thank God for their safety, but my prayers go out to the ones who were not so fortunate and to their families.

For follow-ups to the above article, see September 11, 2001: Day of Hatred - Comments.

The above article was posted on this Web site September 12, 2001.

Ethics, Spirituality, Christian Life
September 11, 2001: Ethics, Spirituality, Christian Life

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