September 11, 2001: A Blessing in Disguise?  
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The horrific event of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and the events revolving around them have come and gone and are gradually passing into the annals of history. However, the agony, the wounds, and the scars left by them remain for ever unhealed. Those who lost their loved ones, the people who meant everything to them, continue to be in deep pain for nothing can replace the lost lives of such people. All humane spirits weep as they consider the tragic events, though they may not know personally any of the people who were directly struck by the September 11 horror. Who could have imagined that large commercial airplanes with their crews passengers and tons of fuel would be piloted to crash on office towers at a time when thousands of people were starting their workday? This is unheard of in the history of horrors perpetrated by human beings. That incident left America—in fact, the whole world—stunned. People said, "My God! What is the matter! Is the world coming to an end?" When the second plane struck in the manner of the first, it became clear that this was the action of terrorists. The World Trade Center, the marketplace of the entire world was hit. What are the terrorists after? Why take aim against the symbolic heart of world trade? The attack killed thousands of Americans on American soil without any declared provocation; it killed Russians, British, Chinese, in fact citizens of many nations—on American soil. Why? Surely America could not have taken it lying low, and her reaction was justified. Yet, America did not just jump into conclusions. It investigated; and the investigation showed that Osama Bin Ladin and his Alqueda organization based in Afghanistan masterminded the acts of terrorism. The Afghan government, at the time headed by the Taliban, was asked to surrender Osama Bin Ladin and his cohorts to the United States to answer for their terrorist actions. But the Taliban refused, and by this action the ruling power in Afghanistan implicated itself in the actions of the terrorists. In October 22, the US government declared war on Afghanistan for the purpose of capturing the terrorists, bringing them to justice, and eradicating the evil of terrorism and its bases of support. Thank you, America, for this decision aimed at ridding the entire world of terrorism and to bring to justice those who would terrorize the world.

The subject of this article, however, is how September 11, 2001, is a blessing in disguise. The relatives of the victims of this barbaric act of terrorism will shut their eyes and shout, what is this person talking about? CNN related in its "People in the View" the story of the head of firefighters who was out of duty on that fateful day but on seeing the ugly sight of crash rushed to the World Trade Center to help his team of firemen only to lose his own life in his attempt to save others. What will the young son who lost his father will say on reading this title, or the young girl who was rescued from the rubble after she had remained there for twenty-seven hours. She came with her feet crushed—this is being written three months or so after the event and she is still on crutches; what silver lining? Then what about the chief executive, who although not on the scene of the event is faced with demands from the surviving families of his workforce all of whom perished in the crash. CNN showed this man bemused and confused, in tears. He did not know what to answer the families of his workers because he has been incapacitated—where is the silver lining here? In fact there are many more tragic stories, in spite of talk of relief from philanthropic organizations and the Federal Government. Yes, money cannot repair life in any way; it is only a palliative. Yet, I want to say here categorically that the incident, for all its ineffable horror, is in a sense a blessing in disguise. We should not allow the enormity of the pain and anguish to make us forget the maxim that in every dark cloud there is a silver lining. Throughout history, those who have worked with God always find the silver lining around dark clouds, and the very dark cloud of September 11, 2001, will not be different.

Let us examine the sequence of events since the disaster. America was frontally and viciously attacked; but in spite of that she took the matter calmly and resolved to eradicate terrorism from the face of the earth once and for all. It investigated thoroughly and it became very clear that Osama Bin Ladin masterminded the attack through his organization with the support of the Taliban. At that time Bin Ladin was in Afghanistan and cooperating with the Taliban who held power in Afghanistan. After the disaster the US gave the Taliban an ultimatum to turn over Bin Laden to America to be tried. The Taliban refused. The president had to declare war saying that those who harbor terrorism are terrorists. The result of that war is everybody’s knowledge. America not only destroyed the Taliban and the Alqaeda bases in Afghanistan, but also under the auspices of the UN has installed an interim government in the country selected from all the tribes of the country.

This article is not historical, but aims to tell Americans that Afghanistan, which for the past two decades had been at war, is by the grace of God and through the military might of America, coming to settle to a democratic government. And it’s not only the people of Afghanistan that benefit as a result, but America also. Hurt by the barbaric attack, it is re-examining her security laws and antiterrorist policies. Today, terrorists may no longer have a field day on American soil, nor in American aircrafts.

An additional benefit is the following: Before he took action in the Afghanistan war, the president of the United States went out on shuttle diplomacy to sense the opinions of other world powers. The result was the denouncement of terrorism by all the superpowers, in fact most of them showed positive response in the fight against terrorism and the UN took over the issue of establishing a peaceful democratic government in Afghanistan. I want to show here that the action of the president of the United States in his shuttle diplomacy brought about the elimination of the cold war into a matter meant to foster peaceful coexistence and the annihilation of terrorism. The president of Russia even visited the President of the United States, a practical demonstration of his willingness to stand with the US in this trying times.

Even Moslem countries, which Bin Laden pretends to fight for, all expressed solidarity with the US. If this is not silver lining, I don’t know what else it is. Although the US continues to make sacrifices in this matter, these are sacrifices intended to bring about world peace and to create democratic governments and way of life while eradicating the sort of barbarism, which the Taliban and Alqueda wish to see prevail. Terrorism must be fought at its root declared America—a silver lining to the world. Today, peace which had never been the case in the cold war has become entrenched. The UN has installed an interim government called transitional government to prepare Afghanistan for democratic elections. Alqueda is on the run and the Taliban are on the run, while the world body is flooding Afghanistan with all sorts of relief and is planning for a peacekeeping force to maintain peace and stability in the country before the election. This is a silver lining indeed, and the Afghanis acknowledge it. America, thank you! The Afghanis will never forget your work.

To end this essay, let us examine some of the utterances and babblings of those Muslim extremists who call their barbaric attacks "jihad." As I am not a Muslim, I cannot describe what their religion calls Jihad. But to my mind, based on what I know about the attributes of God, I would describe what they call Jihad as wishful thinking—the belief that an individual who has killed himself, who has in fact committed suicide for a cause, will go to heaven. In my own religion, the attributes of God who rules the Heavens are love, peace, order, and fair dealing. A central divine injunction, in my religion, is "Thou shall not kill," and that includes the prohibition of suicide, the killing of oneself. There are circumstances in which God allows killing and this is only in extreme and very specific cases self-defense. Never in my Holy Book does God ask anyone to kill himself and others in retaliation. My Bible tells me "What will it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his soul?" When you kill yourself you have transgressed God’s holy laws.

How can the same God receive you into his Heaven? In his tape, Bin Ladin relished over the destruction of the World Trade Center and the killing of so many people and thanked "Allah" for the act. If "Allah" refers to God, which god does Bin Ladin mean? If it’s the Almighty in heaven, the extremist is laboring under a deadly delusion. Surely he does not mean the Loving, Omnipotent, Supreme, God of the universe! I am sure he is talking about his myopic satanic god of destruction and hate! And I know that well-meaning Muslims do not share the extremists’ views and concept of Jihad.

A god that will raise his hand to fight civilization is not my God, nor is he the God of civilized people. God gave man knowledge to build the airplane and pilot it to safety. Only Satan can show the evil man how to fly the plane in order to crush it and kill innocent people. I am glad that true Muslim leaders go all out to decry the rape of their religion by fanatical extremists who have some ax to grind against civilization.

I praise America, the actual and symbolic center of present-day civilization, for the great civilizing work that it is doing. America should not be deterred by actions committed by extremists—infidels in reality without humane, God-based values—in the name of religion. Light and darkness cannot compete. Light will always disperse darkness. America, go on to democratize the world! No evil power can stop civilization! No one can deter you, America! Take the events of September 11 as a cloud—a cloud of horror beyond words—but a cloud whose silver lining is your ultimate success in civilizing the world. Ride on!

Elder O. O. Onwuchekwa, J.P.
Posted from Arochukwu, Nigeria






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