Vol 2 May 2002       

mother & child

In the Eyes
of a Child

an essay by 15-year-old
Mira Murphy, all about
freedom and national security
A blur of red, white and blue waving triumphantly in the air; "United We Stand" bumper stickers cutting in front of me on the highway; a nation coming together in unity; it's beautiful, right?

But where is the beauty in hate and anger? Where is the beauty in blood and death? I think the caring and compassion shown for the victims of September 11 is beautiful, but it seems to stop at the US border. Where is the caring and compassion for the victims of US bombing?

I can't support a symbol representing such one-mindedness. I can't support a leader who clenches his fists and rallies his people to hate. I can't justify killing and dying for mere vengeance. As put beautifully by Mahatma Gandhi, "An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind."

Anger begets anger; violence begets violence in an endless cycle of pain. Who will rise above this and act not from pain and rage, but from understanding? Until someone does, people will go on dying, and the horrors of September 11 will continue escalating.

It is the bigger man who can hold understanding for his enemy and walk away from a fight. The act the terrorists committed was undoubtedly unjust but isn't it equally unjust for us to essentially do the same thing? We aren't in kindergarten any more, so it doesn't matter who started it but who can break through the cycle to end it. Death doesn't justify death.

Two of the greatest men in history have been Gandhi and Martin Luther King. They both stood for non-violence and freedom. We admire and honor these men yet we contradict all that they stood for. We hold these principles, such as peace and compassion, on a pedestal yet we don't have faith in them. We still resort to war as our primary instinct. If we really want to honor these incredible human beings, we will carry on their dream and act on those morals we say we value so much.

There are mixed messages everywhere in the world today. We are taught in school to play nicely with the other children. The whole foundation of our being is built on simple moral principles. Yet, those are all forgotten when the power and security of the nation becomes first priority. Printed on our currency are the words "In God We Trust" yet these are also disregarded as it becomes apparent that, in reality, it is in Guns we trust.

The people of our country are primarily of the Christian religion, but even the Ten Commandments (Thou shall not kill) are broken to fulfill our undying pride. Until we stop blinding ourselves from the truth, we will never live in freedom and liberty. Until we break through our hypocritical mentality, we will never "stand united."

As Bush says, "The price of freedom and security is high but never too high. Whatever it costs to protect our country, we will pay." I see that the so called price of "freedom and security" has already become too high.

It is at the price of our freedom of speech and thought, and our individual security and privacy. It is at the cost of the economic strength of this nation. It is at the cost of contradicting our values and violating our humanity — not to mention the cost of thousands of innocent foreign lives in numbers that have exceeded the loss of lives during the September 11 attack.

Furthermore, ensuring security is not being accomplished by dropping bombs on a third world country. Terrorism can't be squashed by killing off as many terrorists as possible like flies. It's not an object that we can drop a bomb on.

Terrorism is a state of mind; a state of being. The definition of a terrorist is a person who uses or favors violent and intimidating methods of coercing a government or community. How is that not what the US government is doing? Our leaders are so good at preaching about what is evil, but by taking the action they do, they encompass the evil they claim to hate.

These terrorists proved their cleverness and ability for detailed planning on September 11. They will find a way to strike next if provoked further. Protecting every aspect of this country's security is pretty impossible. The only real way to ensure security is to create stable bonds with countries, so they don't have a burning rage and intent to seriously weaken the US.

I'm sure it doesn't help that we use an implausible amount of the world's resources to maintain our lifestyle. I'm sure it doesn't help that we have a history of bombing and killing. And last of all, I'm sure it doesn't help that we are known for our arrogance and ignorance.

I don't support the war on terrorism because I think it's irrational and for the mere purpose of proving our power. There are other ways of responding to the losses of September 11. The war is having damaging effects on our economy and the rest of the world. It is only a matter of time until our actions backfire on us.

"We the people" are at a crossroads. Hopefully, we can travel the path of freedom, unity and security that will extend beyond our borders.

Mira Murphy — her name means "peace" in Russian — was the poster child of Soviet-American citizen diplomacy, appearing on Russian national television with her mother, Rama Vernon (see Yoga Magic: Three Yogis Discuss the Use and Abuse of Magical Powers). Unconditional in her faith in humanity, Mira is actively working to promote compassion and understanding in the instability of today's world. Her email address is mmgtgurl@aol.com.

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