For the past week, I have been afraid to voice my feelings about the events of Sept. 11. I was afraid I would be called unpatriotic or a sympathizer with the people who committed those heinous acts.
I do not support military action in Afghanistan. I am fearful of the ramifications of intense nationalism fueled by such deep anger. I am skeptical of a very emotional response to a problem that is not going to go away if Osama Bin Laden is brought back “dead or alive.”
Like many Americans I do not fully understand what is going on in Afghanistan or the Middle East. I do know we are getting ready to bomb a country inhabited by people living in poverty and heavily oppressed by a government they fear. We must question why this anti-American sentiment exists. We must look at how this situation can be rectified in the long-term. Is war the only answer?
Other students on this campus feel this way. I am not asking people to agree, but I am asking for understanding. Do not deny us the grief allotted to everyone who lived through this tragedy. We were here, too. We scrambled to call loved ones and tell them we were safe. We watched in agony as the World Trade Center collapsed. We want to see to it that this will never happen again.
During this time of intense emotion, I offer this challenge. Let us as a nation use the pacifists and the activists as our conscience. Allow them to keep us always questioning, always asking why. Let them remind us we are not alone in our suffering, that there are children in this world who wake up every day to explosions, carnage and despair. This dissent, this breach of unity will not weaken our country; it will make us stronger, for mandated conformity is the vile enemy of liberty.
Anyone who demands the population not break away from a unified group should ask themselves whether or not they are truly American.
-The writer is a junior majoring in sociology.