In response to Pietro M. deVolpi’s letter (“Defending Patriotism,” Sept. 12, p. 5), I would like to bring attention to the fact that over seventy countries’ people fell victim to the tragedy of September 11. If we truly mourn the lives lost, we have no business discriminating between the ethnicity and nationality of the victims. What right do we have to rally around those deaths as solely American, just because they occurred on American soil? Or do you mean to say that your heart only goes out to the “American” victims?
It seems that the American flag is meant to send a different message altogether. Invoked as a symbol of our country’s resistance and ability to rebound quickly after such a massive disaster, it is meant to symbolize America’s strength. The author points out only some of the flaws of such a mentality. The denial of visas, investigation of foreign students, privacy and human rights violations under the justification of “national security” are only some of the policies undertaken which can be mistakenly referred to as “patriotic” or, more accurately, “nationalistic.” We do not celebrate the anniversaries of monumental policy decisions. We do, however, remember tragedies and disasters; we light candles for the victims.
As young scholars it is important for us to be able to distinguish between the political implications of an event and humanitarian ones. It is unfair to accuse someone of not being cognizant of lives lost, just because their mourning isn’t matched by the scorn you and your co-patriots choose to feel toward those not represented by the American flag.
I’m not sure what the point of your editorial was, maybe it was to accuse Mr. Wright of not being an active participant in the Freedom Quilt’s event. My purpose, however, is to refute the opinion that this anniversary of September 11 should have been a time for the United States and its citizens to huddle together and remember how American soil was attacked, American citizens killed and the spirit of Americans challenged. Instead we should grieve, as the world grieves, for the people who lost their lives in senseless violence. Death has no nationality, ethnicity or race. As wise members of a pluralistic community, as GW is, we should remember that.
Georgetown University sophomore