14 years ago today, out of a sunny blue sky, two planes hit the towers at the World Trade Center.
Since then, the United States has fought two wars—Iraq and Afghanistan—and, as of this writing, a third war might be ramping up to start against Syria.
When an event of the magnitude of 9/11 happens, the typical, talking head tendency is to wax poetic about “what ifs,” “might have beens,” and to mourn the victims while also demanding endless cycles of vengeance.
What tends not to happen is the asking of different questions about the event, or the placing of the event in a geopolitical and historical context.
We in the United States tend not to stop and consider the nature of events that happen to us context, because our nation, for good or for ill, consists of the multi-generational descendants of immigrant populations that had a strong desire to exist outside of history, politics and the past—and to escape those ties that bind by coming to these shores.
But, as a conflict engagement consultant, I believe in two things:
- Sometimes war—or conflict—is the answer. It just depends upon what the question is that has been asked.As for the violence and bloodshed that war produces, along with the political, cultural, historical, emotional, psychological and spiritual disruptions, well violence is never inherent to conflict, though managing disruptions is key to navigating toward successful resolutions.
- The sins of the past revisit us over and over again in the future until we figure out new ways to resolve them. The 16th, 17th and 18thcentury pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial sins of the British and French Empires toward the Ottoman, African and East Asian Empires, have yet to all shake out and everything that has happened in the first 14 years of the new Millennium is proof of that.
Let us honor the dead, keep consideration of the living and work toward positing more questions that can be answered with peaceful conflict instead of the violent kind.
-Peace Be With You All-
Jesan Sorrells, MA
Principal Conflict Engagement Consultant
Human Services Consulting and Training (HSCT)
Email HSCT: firstname.lastname@example.org