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Six Around The World

Thursday, Sept 13th 2001 

For what seems an age now, although it's only been less than two days, I've been sittingin the safety of an apartment in Taipei, watching with a deep hollow feeling the reports coming in from CNN on the horrendous and cowardly attacks on the U.S. and the consequential loss of life.

As you probably know, I'm not a U.S. citizen, however many of the friends and loved ones I've gotten to know, especially over the last ten years, are. Some friends who've become such an integral part of my life that every time I return to the U.K. to visit 'home' I receive numerous comments on the changes in my accent. Some I regard as 'brothers'. Even as a Native Briton abroad I feel deeply outraged by this needless loss of life caused by those who profess to be waging a Holy war.

But don't be fooled. This surely has nothing to do with the name they give their God or the way they choose to worship. How many innocent people who have died in these attacks are of the Islamic faith? Surely the point of religion is a set of guidelines for man to interact with his fellow man. Isn't the First Commmandment "Thou shalt not kill"? And isn't the old Testament a part of the Q'ran? So to call it a 'Holy' war is surely to disgrace the religion in question.

Not that my country is innocent of this. Who knows how many European Christians and how many Muslim Moores died centuries ago in the Crusades, in the name of a 'Holy' war? Who knows how many people die each day in the 21st century just because of their particular faith - Muslim, Jewish, Protestant, Catholic, Hindus... the list is long. We, the British, certainly are not innocent. .

Hey, but who is innocent?

Which nation of the whole world can stand up and say that they have never wronged another nation. Which government can stand up and say it's never wronged it's own people, even. Let that nation stand proud.

How many businessmen have never made cuts in the name of greed for profits which didn't result somewhere along the line in workers becoming unemployed, homeless, even. Or how many have kept wages down in the face of rising prices which lead to mortgage payments unpaid, broken families and the breakdown of families?

Who has never wronged their fellow human being in one form or another?

Who can we say is innocent?

Well let's start with Christine Hanson, 2, of Massachusetts or Juliana Valentine McCourt, 4, of Westford, Massachusetts who died in United Airlines Flight 175. Did they at such young ages do anything to warrant their lives being taken before they'd learnt to walk, talk, tie their shoe laces or even before they'd learnt so much of this world?

The fact that so much suffering has been caused on a massive scale leaves me, and I know I'm not alone, with feelings of shock, bewilderment, and deep hurting anger. For hours I tried to reach New York on Tuesday night from Taipei to ensure that one of my own loved ones and her sister, visitors to New York, who were so happy to mail me to say that they'd found an apartment in Manhattan, were safe. I also feel a deep profound sorrow for those who have family, loved ones, friends and just the guy you meet on the street that every once in a while who smiles and says, 'Hi, how're ya doin?', untimely, cruelly taken from them.

It is my sincere hope that the American people can come together after this tragedy and give each other the love, strength and support which is so needed now. Evidence of this is shown in the record numbers of people giving blood.

It is my hope that the perpetrators of this cruel and barbaric crime against the people of America willl meet swift and fitting justice, by the hand of God or Allah, and may God or Allah have mercy on their souls for their crimes on their fellow man.

It is my hope that this justice can come about without the need for excessive force against those who are genuinely innocent and have no part to play in the crimes of September 11th 2001. A crime that is claiming more victims with every passing minute the courageous rescue workers risk their own lives and pitch their hearts and efforts against the odds. This crime that has been perpetrated by nameless, faceless monsters. Somebody knows their names. Somebody knows their faces, and somebody knows where they are hiding.

Rob Price