Today is the anniversary of the deaths of app 3,000 people killed in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States. May it remind us of the preciousness of human life and that people were not created to be sacrificed for political or nationalistic causes. May we remember that all humans are created in the image of God and that human life is sacred. To keep this tragic event and all terrorism in perspective, here are a few reminders of other acts of terrorism in human and US history.
1. The destruction of hundreds of Native American tribes, their languages, cultures, and the stealing of their land.
2. The kidnapping of Africans for use as slaves. In 1860, only 150 years ago, the population of the United States included 3,950,528 slaves, 13% of the total population.
3. The Nazi killing of app. 6 million Jews and others with a total death toll in the 10 to 17 million range.
4.The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima killing 135,000 people instantly and over half a million eventually from injuries and cancers caused by the radiation.
5. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Nagasaki killing 64,000 people instantly and, like Hiroshima, many more from injuries and radiation poisoning. Both the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings were deliberate attacks on civilian populations.
6. The Vietnam War, which resulted in the deaths of 3-4 million Vietnamese plus 1.5 to 2 million Laotians and Cambodians. As in all wars since World War 2, 75 to 90 % of the victims were innocent civilians. Such a high percentage of civilian causalities makes all contemporary wars acts of terrorism.
7. The first Gulf War, often called Desert Storm, which killed 100,000 Iraqis.
8. The current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which has killed and injured hundreds of thousands of innocent people, and as in all terrorist attacks, they were killed and injured with no regard for individual guilt or innocence and no due process of law. Millions of Iraqi and Afghanistan families have been damaged or destroyed and many people have become refugees as a result of these wars.
There are many more acts of terrorism now going on around the world. Although US citizens were victimized on 9/11, history shows that, in past acts of terrorism, frequently we were the terrorists. Let us pray that we will not be so blinded by idolatrous devotion to a political entity, or to trust in military violence, that we are willing to engage in acts of terrorism against others. Our security as a nation is intimately connected to the security of other countries and peoples around the world. We can never be secure if we are threatening the safety and security of others.