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Saturday, June 22, 2024


Dear Source,
Many Virgin Islanders were touched in the most personal of ways by the horrendous attacks in New York City and Washington. Many Virgin Islanders know people in the Middle East who will be affected, again in the most basic of ways, by the possibilities that lie before the United States and the world. Let us remember that the repercussions of Sept. 11 will live with us throughout our lives.
Locally, there has been an emotional swirl of talk in the newspapers and on the radio talk shows about whether or not the United States is the cause of its own problems. Well, maybe, maybe not.
I have to ask myself whether this particular set of terrorists really is concerned about social injustice, or are they like the Irish Republican Army and assorted rebel groups, those who like dressing up in uniforms, forming street gangs and other cells of disaffected men who simply enjoy the power and thrill of combat — and who in my opinion simply don't have the guts to hold down a job, raise a family and make simple, but meaningful contributions to their communities?
Still, it wouldn't hurt for all of us to pause, take a long, deep breath and think about the root causes and broad issues related to terrorism, ethnic slaughter, and the ever-increasing divide between the "haves" and "have nots."
The United States has tried in the past to "send a message" to terrorists, with obviously little impact. I still believe that some sort of forceful and long-term response is necessary. But as "average citizens," let's not take our cues from the federal politicians, the military, and national television. We are being bombarded with messages of "retaliation" and "we'll show 'em!" This perpetuation of the cycle of violence has proved most ineffective over the past several decades and has resulted in the death of millions. When we have "sent messages" before, why haven't they worked?
If we are going to send a message, wouldn't it be prudent for us to encourage the messenger to decide just what the message is intended to accomplish? What is the specific message we want to send? Can we control the message? Whatever our messenger/leaders decide to do, all of us need to remind them — and ourselves — that the fight against terrorism worldwide must recognize that terrorism has no religion, no race and no nationality. A terrorist attack, no matter in what part of the world it occurs, is against the whole of humanity.
Deborah Stevens Hamilton
St. Thomas

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