Thursday, September 9, 2010
Beyond the 11th
I opened my mailbox this morning to a really wonderful op-ed by Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times. It opened with the following:
This weekend, a Jewish woman who lost her husband in the 9/11 attacks is planning to speak at a mosque in Boston. She will be trying to recruit members of the mosque to join her battle against poverty and illiteracy in Afghanistan.
Other memorable quotes in the article were:
Devastated themselves, they realized that there were more than half a million widows in Afghanistan — and then, with war, there would be even more. Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley also saw that Afghan widows could be a stabilizing force in that country.
So at a time when the American government reacted to the horror of 9/11 mostly with missiles and bombs, detentions and waterboardings, Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley turned to education and poverty-alleviation projects — in the very country that had incubated a plot that had pulverized their lives.
The organization they started, Beyond the 11th, has now assisted more than 1,000 Afghan widows in starting tiny businesses. It’s an effort both to help some of the world’s neediest people and to fight back at the distrust, hatred and unemployment that sustain the Taliban.
To me, these women and their actions constitute the most sane and humane way to deal with what happened on 9/11. While I do feel conflicted about the war in Afghanistan, I have to think that if we all contributed in the way these women have, against tragedy, without hate and violence -- we'd have less of it. I can sit here on this blog and offer my opinions -- opinions that anger some and that others agree with, I can talk and talk, here and on the phone, with my friends and elsewhere, but do I really contribute in any other way than talking and believing, nodding my head when I agree and shaking it when I don't?
What is real engagement? In the world? In one's corner of the world?
I'm thinking about these things today.
You can read the rest of the Op-Ed HERE.