It's a day that will always bring me to my knees on its anniversary. It was a pivotal day that changed our world forever. Nearly three thousand people died as a result of those attacks.We've had eleven years of war, of vengeance, of sorrow, of pain. And we're not done yet. We will never be done.
|An ancient Celtic depiction of warriors|
I also realized I had two opposing groups of people, both groups (I was thinking originally of races) didn't know much about the other, and didn't think of their opponents as worthy of being called humans. In a college course on Culture Clash, I had been told that when cultures meet, they clash. Both cultures have their belief systems, their world views, and it's not just a simple matter of talking things over and agreeing to disagree. A group that has different beliefs and actions is a threat to the other's way of life- to their life as a culture. And things can be pretty calm initially but later on as the cultures come closer together, the conflict usually increases. These days, one of the most obvious conflict is with the increasing numbers of Hispanics in the USA. As more contact occurs, more points of conflict occur. However we choose to look at it, there's an aspect and a feeling of threat on both sides. Maybe it gets easier in some ways, but in others it seems to get harder.
|An artist's vision of the Battle of Hastings,|
Norman against Anglo-Saxons
When I first published FIRE DANCE, I sent a copy to a friend in England, who read it. It deals with one of the most impacting events in English history, the Norman Conquest and settlement. She had a lot of comments, but the one that stuck with me was that she had a hard time sympathizing with the Norman hero because she was a direct descendant of Hereward the Wake, a famous leader of resistance against the Normans. (Read about him-he's fascinating.) Nine hundred years after the Conquest, people in England are still taking sides. But in their time, what the Normans did wasn't all that unusual. They saw, they conquered.
|An artist's concept of the Battle of Stirling Bridge.|
How could the Celts, Angles and Saxons of the Dark Ages possibly have looked on the invaders from Norway, Sweden, Denmark as human when they saw their kin hacked to pieces or carried off to slavery? But if they'd had a good grasp on their own history, they might have known that their ancestors invaded the British Isles in pretty much the same way. They hadn't just pushed the original inhabitants into boats and said, "Go find someplace else to live". In fact, DNA testing shows that not many of those earliest people survive in today's gene pool.
|The Duke of Wellington directs a vital assault|
at the Battle of Waterloo
So who's human and who's not? Why do our cultures enforce our beliefs that "we" are the good people and "they" are not worthy? In thousands of years, we have not solved this problem. Will we ever?
I don't know. Do you? What do you think? When will we all be human? I do believe, though, that through all their turmoil and pain, people as a group keep on being people. They do fall in love. They do learn to love. They do care about and help each other. Whatever happens around them, they don't stop living.