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September 11

The terrible attacks of September 11th have brought out much of the best in Americans – heroism in the evacuation, search and recovery at the World Trade Center; the tremendous outpouring of compassion, goods, time and money to those affected by the destruction; the space in the heart that transcends personal boundaries to embrace our neighbors and countrymen as kin, sharing grief and sorrow, hope and pain. Against the darkness of violence and hatred, we stand united.

World conscience, too, was roused by the horrors of the attacks. Images of our centers of commerce and power besieged, the crumbling of the massive WTC towers, the unbearable loss of lives, innocent lives – it all struck close to home around the world. If this could happen in America, it could happen to any nation, at any time. For the first time in a long time, the world stood united. Every country, every council, every corner of the globe decried terrorism.

From this unity and world consensus, from this suffering of innocents, a genuine opportunity has arisen to move away from the scourge of violence that has been splattered across our consciousness and tv screens to a profound rejection of violence, a new and shared courage. The American people have never been stronger than by joining together. We and the world have seen enough, have suffered enough, have lost loved ones enough. It is time to stand against violence. It is a difficult stand and requires a courageous truthfulness. The first step is for each country to shine the light on its own acts of terror, its own support of terrorist groups and violent acts, its own financing of terror and violence. I believe most of the nations of the world, ours included, will have a long confession to make. If terror is the killing of innocents to further one’s own view, political or economic vantage, then few nations, rich or poor, stand without fault. If we wish to end terrorism, we must face its presence truthfully, whether it hides in the mountains of Afghanistan or in the School of the America’s covert trainings in assassination and torture. We must expose the poison gas of Saadam Hussein and the deadly herbicides we rained on Vietnam and now, again, in Colombia. We must expose the torture chambers of Pinochet as well as those used in Israel and Guatemala, China and in some of our own maximum security prisons. It is not to accuse or condemn. It is so that the secret lie can be broken: violence has too long been the creed of governments and men who proclaim freedom while imposing cruelty and terror.

It is a hard road; it seems so implausible, and yet where else is our choice? Shall we end terrorism by taking up assassination and murder? Shall we build security at home by obliterating the homelands of others?… As soon as darkness can cure darkness.

Americans stand united before an uncertain future. Let our choice truly sing of freedom and hope for the generations to come. No more killing in the name of God, country or Freedom. The promise of that path is a lie.