It's become a strange year for Holiday parties. The first one I attended had the usual cheer and banal conversation...until
the evening wore on. Then everyone started interspersing their conversations with bits and pieces of WTC tragedy comments.
A few of the attendees came from Brooklyn (the party was in NJ) so the WTC collapse had been a traumatic event for them. I
spent the last hour discussing the disaster with a number of these individuals.
Yesterday's party revealed how even weirder this holiday season had become. It was the annual Holiday get together with
all people in our division where I work, held at the usual watering hole. This restaurant has huge televisions hung not only
in the bar area but all throughout the place. We had started our festivities talking about the usual company topics until
one individual spotted the television set. On it was playing the newly released tape of Osama Bin Laden's reaction to the
WTC collapse. The conversation immediately turned to that topic. Slowly as this small cluster of individuals were joined by
others, everyone made comments about the tape. Some had seen it during the day, others had accessed information on it through
the internet. Now Bin Laden had become the topic celeb of the evening!
From tape topic, things moved to a darker vein.
There were comments made about how we should deal with Bin Laden if he's captured. One individual put him up on the level
of child molesters and graphically described what he thought should be done to them and to our terrorist. It was quite disgusting.
Another individual suggested Bin Laden should be put on a stake at the center of the area that had been the WTC plaza. Each
family member or loved one of the thousands who perished, should be given a piece of the rubble and stone him. Some one said
he should just be left out in that hole and then let the weather and the birds deal with him. I even got into the act by suggesting,
that since he loved caves so much, he should be jailed in what is left of under Ground Zero with just bread and water. Section
off one area where he would remain for the rest of his days.
As I drove home, it all hit me that what we had been discussing
was torture. All of the scenarios took a human being, albeit an evil one, and considered justice as inflicting pain upon him.
All these suggestions came not so much from hatred but from anger. Our anger that we just can't do anything to rectify the
situation he caused. If he is killed in the Afghan war, many feel that he will have in one way 'escaped'. If he is caught,
most people feel that none of our forms of 'justice' will suffice for the pain and sorrow he inflicted upon us. But
torture? Perhaps this is one way to vent our anger without hurting one another: to phantasize about an unreachable individual
who was at the center of all of this pain.
But shouldn't this be the season of light? The season of forgiveness? The
season of loving one another? Should that include Bin Laden? Have we regressed to a former, less civilized state of mind?
Will we be able to sit down to our Hanukkah, Christmas, Quanza dinners with thanks in our hearts for all the good things we
have been given? Or will those days be overcast with the darkness, spread like the WTC dust, that Bin Laden has unleashed?
Just a thought.
c 2001 Leona Seufert