By Barney Rosset
We Americans have some sayings: “We shall overcome,”
“Our flag was still there,”—we, that part of humanity which has learned, with such great sacrifice, to try and learn to accept all of this; to take the risk to encompass the multi-splendored panoramas of all peoples, to allow the burgeoning of such things as the right to speak out, no matter how unpopular one’s thoughts might be, to take the terrible risk of letting all peoples proclaim their beliefs, without fear of becoming outcasts. Are we now prepared to give this all up for the benefits of a police state which we have fought all these years to avoid, because some vicious groups have tried to destroy the very values which we claim to be part of us?

Can we not understand, that despite the good things we have done to help others, our actions have also resulted in the protracted poverty and misery of so many in the other parts of our common planet and this part of our lives has made us the prey of the monstrous, anti-human creatures, who so often with our complicity, have found us only too easy a target for revenge?

Now our President immediately gets 40 billion dollars more for the defense of our country – and just for a moment, let us imagine how this additional 40 billion might be used.

What if we set aside a part of it, to be used immediately to set up a world park where the twin towers had once been? What if we were to ask all countries and peoples of the world to work with us, to contribute their work, their people, their individual expertise, to come, now, right away, to help rebuild the infrastructure necessary for daily life and then go on to making a glorious site for the celebration of holiness on Earth? Instead of God Bless America, how about letting Humanity bless Humanity in all its sacred forms?

Instead of phallic fingers to the sky, have vistas of beauty to the sea, put there by all of us, owned by all of us; a place for Americans to show their pride and love for all of us. Would the Bin Ladens of the world attack that symbol, shielded by the earth and the ocean? Who would celebrate a destruction of that? Let that place, lower Manhattan, pay tender love for those who perished there in order that a new kind of human consciousness could arise. Let such a place start immediately, with the kind of self-sacrifice now being made by American workers and doctors and engineers and police and military forces, people of all callings and religions, men, women and children, calling upon their peers from all over the world, to come and participate, to alleviate our tragedy, to make what we have lost into a new found value, to not forget those grieving families, to retain this newly generated ability to work together, to regroup and regenerate new life.

Let us think of this pouring out of grief and love and generosity as carving out the pathway for a humanity which can live side by side, without destroying the very freedoms which it has created with such bloodshed, because of the very weaknesses always lurking within ourselves which we so detest to see from the outside.

Let a chance be given to a beautiful world site bordering the ocean, singing a clear message: “All are welcome.” The bin Ladens will need another target. Let us not provide them with more such symbols: twin towers, pentagons, overgrown military installations, mountain hideouts for the elite.

Missile defense and bombs for revenge need not represent our highest achievements. If we can resist the siren call of the closed society, and reach out to the real future, a place of holiness for all, a sharing of bounties for the common good, then one can die, believing that what one has tried to do and believe in can be passed and will be.
Humanity, bless humanity.


*Reprinted from The East Hampton Star, September 15, 2001.*