Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated.
Julie Blake is a lovable and down-to-earth gal who lightens up a room with her laughter. The 25-year-old grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, and today lives in Flagstaff, Arizona, where she works as an education coordinator for the Ecological Restoration Institute. She’s also pursuing a master’s degree in environmental education through a liberal studies program called “Visions of Good and Sustainable Societies.” Julie has traveled all across the western United States, including Alaska, and has ventured deep into Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. Her interests include snowboarding, skiing, hiking, backpacking, camping, traveling, reading, surfing, beach bummin’ and her “boyfriend/honny/partner,” Mike Stoddard.
Julie was on her way to work when she heard about the attacks. As she explains, “It’s strange. I actually went in to work a little late and was jammin’ out to music at home, having a great morning. I first realized something was very wrong when I was listening to National Public Radio in my car on my way to work.” Julie wrote her essay Sept. 17.
I don’t really feel comfortable diving into a huge commentary about how the American economy and way of life has continuously benefited from the poverty and exploitation of others worldwide – but I believe it is true. And I can only attribute Tuesday’s attacks onAmericato a last-ditch effort of extremely impoverished people to take a stand against this world super-power I know as home. What other choice do they really have?
I’m not sure, but my compassion for these terrorists seems to have put me at odds with the rest of my country. I truly cannot comprehend how people, in the midst of such tragedy, can demand that more lives be sacrificed and revenge be sought at all cost. It seems so illogical to me. Since when is more violence a solution for violent acts? What are we possibly trying to do here besides perpetuate a thirst for greed and an overwhelming ego that just might kill us … literally.
When will we, as a country, start to share in a common sense of humility that might help us learn from tragic events such as these? I believe there are great lessons to be learned here, if only blind rage and hatred don’t consume us first. We must examine what would possibly drive people to hate us so much that they see us as the supreme evil to be humbled at all cost. That is where our lesson lies.
I do not understand this push for war, nor do I wish to, but I hope we can come together with a new sense of awareness that will make all this death worthwhile. I hope that, one day, we can build a strong nation of impassioned citizens who will place the quality of life (around the world) before economic concerns.