Re: Why?

Date: Thu Sep 13 2001 - 21:30:57 BST

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    On Wed, 12 Sep 2001, Luisa F. Robles-diaz-de-leon wrote:
    > I also agree with Lawrence that we should be thinking why this
    > occurred. Such a strong statement, what are the causes of it? Why do so
    > many peoples, individuals hate the US so? What has the US done to them?
    > I would like to hear some of your opinions.
            I'll preface this by saying that I haven't been hearing anyone
    else make this statement, and since it is what I feel, I think it may
    be useful to share. (Your opinions are appriciated.)

            "Human beings are not rational beings, they are rationalizing
    beings." It is important to remember that regardless of the meme or
    memes that motivate people, the things they do are real.

            I think that you've hit at the core of the matter. The United
    States is and has done things that offend people throughout the world,
    and we (as Americans) live completely unaware of the issues that some
    people would kill us over.

            There are several tangents possible here. The most common and
    direct one is international politics. Another is the effect of the
    various forms of mass media and their focus and spin on the world. But
    I think there is a bigger peice of the puzzle we're missing.

            The real problem that we appear to be facing, at every level
    of our lives, is a fundamental lack of understanding for eachother.
            It is to the point where we seem to forget that the people
    around us are human, just like us. That they have feelings, beliefs,
    emotions, opinions, and that these projections are shaping their view
    of the world just as much as ours.
            Most people appear to me to function with a sort of
    social-isolationist mentality. They develope a small stable social
    structure, often based on marriage, family, work, or school - and
    subsequently detach themselves from the rest of the world.
            While I'll agree that this outlook provides a sense
    of stability and security, it has allowed us to stop relating to
            For example. Where do you go to meet new people? - Often
    people meet at bars or parties, but this form of acquaintance still
    tends to be limited to similar tight social (ideological) groups. By
    far the best place that I've found to meet people is coffee shops.
    Most coffee shops are not social, and are useless for meeting new
    people, but every now and then you'll find one where people go to hang
    out and be themselves. That's the best I've come across, anyone with
    suggestions, please make them.

            I recently visited Nova Scotia. While I was there, I was
    talking to someone who told me that she liked to go to Ceilidhs
    (pronounced Kay-Lee) which are basically weekend gatherings where
    people gather to play music and socialize.
            She went on to say that one night she realized that she
    (single, white, female) was walking approximately 5 km in the middle
    of the night back to her hotel, and realized the situation she was in,
    and just how uncomfortable that would have made her if she had still
    been living in the US.
            Appearantly it is common for as many as three or four
    generations of any given family to show up for a Ceilidh. This sort of
    event brings the whole community together, on a regular basis. In the
    US we don't have much like this. Even the biggest events only interest
    one or two generations at the most. We live in communities physically,
    but often have no social relation to them.

            So what's the point of this? Tuesday's acts of aggression and
    destruction are horrible and wrong, in so many different ways.
            Our expectation that someone else will, or can protect us,
    will only lead us to less freedom and more pain. We need to work
    together to rebuild after this disaster, both our cities and our
            If we are going to have any revenge for our losses, we should
    have ultimate revenge, and that doesn't just mean killing the people
    who have done this, it means killing the memes that lead them to it.
    And in order to do that, we're going to have to get to know them,
    eachother, and ourselves.

            - Nathan

    [ I am 22, a student at Seattle Central Community College, in Seattle
    Washington. Anyone in the area wishing to have beer or coffee some
    time, rsvp. Thanks. ]

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