I am just like you. I live, I work, I try to fulfill my duties as a citizen and as a professional and yet, I am stuck. I would even say “haunted.” And I’m wondering if you are, too. In the following anecdote, typical of what happens to me, I’ll tell you why.
In my bedroom, a Time magazine sits meekly on the bureau. A picture of a handsome Islamic boy looks out from the cover. An article and more pictures of the god-awful tragedy in Beslan, Russia, are within, begging my attention and reflection.
Two of the magazine’s photos are especially memorable and, after reading the articles, I can vividly see those images in my mind days later. The first shows a group of agonizing schoolboys, in tears and bewilderment, huddled together against a backdrop of terror. The second depicts the somber, black-clad Russian leader, his face pale and ghostlike. Surrounded by associates, he, nonetheless, bears an aura of solitude, as though inwardly reckoning with the full burden of the tragedy: the lives horribly wasted, the devastation, the pain that will never go away or abate. Having denied the validity of the specter of terrorism, he is now being forced to acknowledge the reality of its unquenchable fury.
As are we all.
Russia one day, and who will be next?
I told you that I was haunted. But it’s not by the fear that I may be next. It’s because I feel that I am connected to those people in Russia and that their suffering impacts my life to the degree that I can’t live as if I didn’t know. As if it didn’t happen. The tragedies and needs of the world are real in an outer and inner sense. They are my own. I feel that I participate with all human beings, no matter how remote or isolated they are from me, and whether they are victims or perpetrators.