I just received this from an author/friend who writes a regular newsletter for teenagers. I think it is worth sharing after yesterday's tragic events.
September 11, 2001
It has been a horrific day. We are all fascinated by the visuals of these tragedies as they race across our news. It's ok to watch - there is a magnetism that glues us to these images, even if we prefer not to admit it - but it is also important to not be captured solely by this very real depiction of the horror but to understand it.
For this is a day without precedent and for those who are in the affected cities, including we in Los Angeles or San Francisco where tomorrow we may be hearing of friends and families who were on those four California flights, all of our thoughts are with you.
It will be said that youth may not be as affected, hardened by continual contact with horror by the films and video games they
watch. But listening to today's reactions around the country and just here at home, it is clear that this is not so. That said, it is time to act.
One important task for youth at this time: turn your efforts not only into positive for yourselves but for the younger members of your family and community. There are many ways you can do so.
1. First, think about what is the underlying horror of this concentrated attack on the United States. For me, it is hate. A
hate and a belief in hate so overpowering that logic has no value for those who planned and carried out this attack.
What can that mean for us? We may want to ask how it can be that minds become so set that others are willing to sacrifice others, and themselves, in the name of terrorism.
It is time to talk. You can organize your clubs or just your fellow
students - middle, high school or college - or your friends to meet and discuss your feelings. Anger is one of them and it is justified. But express it and use it to find realistic solutions to concerns and don't act blindly upon it. That is what these terrorists have done.
An example: my daughter's own high school is taking steps to not only be there for the students but to discuss the safety and treatment of the students of middle eastern origin in the school in this very diverse area. Remember, it is only conjecture at this point as to who is culpable. Even if it would be known, we must also remember that individuals must be recognized for their own integrity and were we to throw them into some grand generalization, that again is what these terrorists have done.
From Martin Luther King, Jr.:
"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
("Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?" pp. 62-63 [l967])
2. Youth can speak to younger siblings and children in the community on a peer-to-peer basis about what has happened today. It is
you who are adept with the Internet. An
important news source suggests the following web sites and magazines with news for kids. Review them first however to see what they say and whether their facts are correct before sharing them with younger siblings or
other children in your community.
*Time Magazine for kids, http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/
(story at http://www.timeforkids.com/TFK/news/story/0,6260,174531,00.html)
* Scholastic Magazine, http://teacher.scholastic.com/newszone/index.asp
* Yahoo! Kids, http://www.yahooligans.com/content/news/
* MSNBC Pencilnews, http://www.msnbc.com/local/pencilnews/default.asp
3.If you want to add your voice or see what
other citizens are thinking in alternative media, check out AlterNet's message boards,
represented by "Paradigm Shift" at http://www.alternet.org/story.html?StoryID=11472
4. What do we do about safety? How do we
balance it with our constitutional rights? Keep a close watch in the next few days, weeks and months to see what it is suggested we forego in the name of security precautions. We must take security measures but we must still maintain the principles of our democracy. Stay aware.
5. Think about the news coverage. Was it accurate? Was it too sensational? News tries to be as factual as possible but on a day of constantly breaking news like this, the adrenaline and the continual
reports can sometimes steer it off focus. As an example, in many of our cities and towns, did the news media give you a sense of doom right where you were? Often the local news of closures of buildings and streets gives the appearance that everything is stopped when, in many areas, this was not the case. Yes precautions were taken, but the reality is that this was a shocking, tragic event, BUT in most cases, your schools and families were safe.
BTW - if you want to see Special Edition front pages from newspapers around the country, check out http://www.poynter.org/Terrorism/PDF1.htm
6. What is needed now: Blood and Rational Thought. a. For the former, if you are old enough (the Red Cross says "17 or
older"), think about donating if you are able. Go to http://www.redcross.org/
or call 1-800-GIVE-LIFE. BTW, there is a
Junior Red Cross. Think about volunteering and helping this critical agency in the future at http://www.redcross.org/services/youth/.
b. For the latter, just please use logic and urge others to do so as well. Most striking: the statements of our representatives as they joined together beyond partisanship to stand behind our
administration at this time. Let us heed this example and stand together to collectively mourn the victims, their families and for our society. We must, however keep this in a perspective and move forward. That is what our President has recommended and it is what we should do.
Ñ Sara Jane Boyers, author
TEEN POWER POLITICS: MAKE YOURSELF HEARD
[ September 12, 2001: Message edited by: Joy ]