September 17, 2001
Campus leaders speak out on tragedy
President Bill Chace delivered these remarks at the interfaith service held 5 p.m., Sept. 11, in Glenn Auditorium
We have always said that the world is small, that borders count for less
and less with each passing year, and that we are bound together as the
people of the world. And we have said that we know that the technology
improving our lives, and shortening the distance between us, could also
be used as a weapon to hurt us. Now we know as a certainty how close we
are to violence; now we know how little distance matters.
What we do now in the face of that danger will prove a great test for
us all, for us within this sheltered community and for us all as American
citizens. Let us hug closely to ourselves these essential truths: that
life is forever precarious and its joys must be shared just as its sadness
must be borne; that the perpetrators of this violence today were not a
people nor a religion, but individuals who did a terrible wrong to other
individuals; that the institutions we have established to sustain and
protect usinstitutions like universitiesmust never tremble
in the face of adversity, no matter how severe; and that we must forever
find the way to love, for love alone will at last shelter us.
For some of us, the pain will be searing and almost impossible to endure, for the names of parents and relatives will emerge among the list of the dead. And so, for the rest of us, spared this immediate agony, we know the duty we have: to reach out, to support, to comfort, and to embrace our wounded brothers and sisters. The fabric of the Emory community must not now be rent and torn. There has been too much tearing on this awful day. Let each of us become a healer; let each of us summon up all the lessons of reason and patience and understanding we one day learned, knowing that those lessons would be needed in the days of misfortune. Such a day is today. Let Sept. 11, 2001, mark the time when, knowing great sadness and anguish, we practiced the hardest lessonsthe lessons of love.
Robert Pastor is Goodrich C. White Professor of International Relations
Since the Suicide-Hijackings of Sept. 11, our nationalmost
as onehas experienced an emotional freefall. Beginning with shock,
we have felt horror, sadness, numbness, anger, and finally, many are demanding
revenge, even before we know who is responsible.
The United States is the most powerful country in the world, but it is
precisely because part of our strength is derived from our moral authority
that we need to use our power with responsibility. In 1776, our Founding
Fathers explained to the world their reasons for declaring independence
because they had a decent respect for the opinions of mankind.
Similarly, we should act only after we have gathered sufficient evidence
on the conspiracy to persuade world public opinion.
Secondly, we should act only after marshalling our allies and the civilized world. We can be far more effective if we act with others than alone and if we use the international institutions that we created.
This approach will be essential if the conspiracy is widespread. Third,
if force is needed, it should not be used with anger, but with clear purpose
and in a way that limits casualties of innocent people. Not only do we
want to avoid making new enemies, we will need new alliances to isolate
Fourth, if we do identify the criminals, we need to take great care to
refer to them as members of a terrorist group not as representatives of
a religious or ethnic group. If the terrorists are associated with conflicts
in the Middle East, we need to remind ourselves that very few people are
responsible for almost all of the terror. Most people in the Middle East
are victimslike us.
Force is rarely a useful tool in international relations unless it is
part of a comprehensive strategy. In developing such an approach, we need
to understand the mindset of our enemies. Yet how can we ever understand
people who would deliberately kill themselves and thousands of innocent
people in such heinous acts? This journey into the depths of insanity
is clearly the most difficult but also the most important because force
alone wont win the struggle against terrorism.
American leadership has been decisive in the 20th century because we built alliances and institutions to extend freedom. The Twin Towers Terror has posed the first security challenge of the 21st century, and it will require a new kind of American leadershipone that is creative as well as strong, deliberate as well as resolute, and cooperative with all those who want to share in the common struggle for liberty and against terrorism.
Susan Henry-Crowe is dean of the chapel and religious life
Terror violates the most basic human needs for security, safety and well-being.
This society has been profoundly terrorized. We do not know how to live
in the face of terror. We do not know how to face death and destruction
of this magnitude. Our shock, pain, anger, helplessness and fear are overwhelming.
Impelled by these feelings, we look for someone, some group, something
There are those in our community who not only carry the common burden
but also the additional burden of being threatened because of their religion,
ethnic origin and race. Emory must be resolute in creating a sense of
security and safety for every member of this body. We cannot label, stereotype,
call names or threaten one another.
In times like these, one of our forces of strength is our faith or religious
tradition. The terrorizing events of this week have nothing to do with
religion. But religious communities, traditions and rituals help us address
these events. No religious tradition promotes evil, violence or destruction.
The religious communities of Emory have gathered to pray for those who
died and all who mourn. They have prayed knowing that communities of life
will never lead the life they knew before Tuesday morning. They have prayed
for freedom from fear and terror. They have prayed that this community
will be a community that is safe and home-like in caring for one another.
In the face of great uncertainty, there is a deep desire for a community where love is found and present.
Frank Lechner is associate professor of sociology
In his statement at the service in Glenn Memorial on Sept. 11, President
[Bill] Chace offered valuable support to students who were directly affected
by the recent terrorist attacks.
However, I would like to take issue with one point he made. He said that
the perpetrators of this violence today were not a people nor a
religion, but individuals who did a terrible wrong to other individuals.
I disagree. The coordination of the attacks indicates that these individuals
must have been part of an organized group. The resources required for
the attack could not have come from some individuals alone.
The targets they selected were not simply individuals either,
though surely the perpetrators meant to terrorize individual Americans,
but clearly were chosen as symbols of American power and values. This
was, as many publications correctly put it, an attack on America.
President Chace urged students not to blame a people or a religion for
this attack. It is also important, however, to tell them that it was most
likely the culmination of a long struggle in which various groups of Muslims,
inspired by a particular interpretation of their religion and by certain
historical resentments, have been engaged in attacks on Americans and
on American interests, with the active support of many specific regimes
and the moral support of many of their fellow believers. While it is true,
as president Chace rightly imp-lies, that one cannot attribute terrorism
to Islam, it is also true that religion is by no means an incidental feature
of the terrorist attacks of the past 20 years.
President Chace laudably urged us to draw the lessons of love within the Emory community. But I believe we would do greater justice to our academic mission by drawing the lessons of history. If the sorrow he meant to soothe is to have meaning, America must now strive not just for retribution but for the transformation of the Muslim world into a community of peaceful, tolerant and democratic nations no longer oppressed by dictators or inflamed by fundamentalist passions.