Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Can you imagine 2,819 innocent people killed for no reason except some other people were filled with hate?  What kind of people could do such a thing?!  Surely thousands killed could never be forgotten.  And who could possibly expect the survivors and the families to ever recover?  The old life is gone and the new one difficult and sad.

Don't say that time heals all wounds.  Time heals nothing.  If the wounds are not properly treated, they can get infected and cause a slow, painful death.  Recovery is slow and difficult and uncertain, but we are a resilient species and most are able to go with their lives, live with that huge, gaping hole that never goes away.  It is good that we are surrounded by compassionate, caring people that are willing to help with the healing process, that do not advise us to "get over it and move on."    They see that that is simply impossible.  Of course, there are those who are not caring and compassionate, who retard the healing with their coldness and even hared.  They have their own problems.  We avoid them and ignore them as best we can.

What cannot be recovered we learn to live with.  We learn to laugh and enjoy ourselves again, live full, useful lives, contribute to society, move forward.  We work hard and eventually get to the point that it all becomes a constant presence in the back of the mind, not something always in front of our eyes.  It is a part of us, but not the only part.   We rediscover our humanity, in fact find a deeper humanity than we had before.

At some wonderful point, we may realise that our beloved dead want us to be happy, not to spend our lives in gloomy mourning, but to again enjoy the simple beauty of life, a child being amazed at the glow of a lightening bug, delighted at the purr of a kitten, swooning at the deliciousness of chocolate, laughing uncontrollably at old Three Stooges movies, again sleeping the sleep of the innocent.  

We may reach that point.  It is not impossible.  It is possible.

Not forgetting.  Overcoming.  This we hope for.  This we pray for.  This is my wish for all survivors of whatever tragedy life has brought them.   Please stop a moment and sing along with Pete Seeger and his many friends.

(Note:  Pete Seeger is a great overcomer, but that's a story for a different time.)



Number of families who got no remains: 1,717
( this is heart breaking  )

I cannot imagine how it would be to have no physical remains.  Of course, I lost mine, but I saw the bodies and that is very important.  Their ashes would have been scattered anyway.  I vaguely remember some sort of memorial in Montreal, but everything at the point is foggy-blurry.  

We are a strange species.  This is so important, to have a body, a funeral.  We pretend it's for the dead, but in fact, they are gone, beyond our remembrances;  they're really for the living.

This brings to mind a song I haven't thought of in at least 40 years:

I cannot buy you happiness, I cannot by you years;
I cannot buy you happiness, in place of all the tears.
But I can buy for you a gravestone, to lay behind your head.
Gravestones cheer the living, dear, they’re no use to the dead.

Here is a 1967 music video of the song, I would guess it would qualify as one of the first music videos. 



I seen to be overflowing with meaning and depth today, eh?  I have been given (and developed) a gift of expressing myself and have a compulsion to use it now and then.  I started out thinking about how USAers make such a big deal of 911 and no compassion toward those in other places who suffered needlessly at the hands of others.  Somehow, it changed, my thoughts and attitude changed as I wrote.  I saw how much I had learned and how much I have to share with these who suffered personal losses in 911.

After 911, several people got very angry at me that I didn't show the proper horror of the events of that day.   I bought us breakfast at McDonald's and we bought a pizza to bake for dinner.  There was no way at that time I could express what was in me. I couldn't even allow myself to feel much of anything.  Not only the obvious, but also the fact that Simon's son had been killed in a car wreck in Kenya (drunk driving) on June 10 and I was trying to care for a basketcase husband.  I was not yet ready, even in 2001, to look at my own feelings, but Simon's grief and then airplanes flying into buildings was just too much.  I went numb, which appeared as coldness to others.  

Note:  Should anyone want to see the Three Stooges Pie Fight (which I highly recommend), it is on YouTube at  Best Pie Fight Ever!

Credits:  All pictures are adapted from the public domain except the chocolates which were photographed by AndrĂ© Karwath 

I do think I owe a special thanks to Erik Colbourne whose cousin's leg was broken from people running on him at the World Trade Center.  Eric ji, whoever you are, you have my love and I hope that leg healed up - and your spirit, as well.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Source:  US Department of Defence
So, it's 11 September 2011, ten years later.

CBC has been obsessing about this, even outdoing the USA networks.

These have been a very difficult time for us Sikhs in North America.  We have been snubbed, bullied,beaten and murdered in a case of mnistaken identity.  I admit that I often think that this is a willing mistake on the part of those who have chosen to hate us.   We look different - even worse, we CHOOSE to look different.  We choose not to blend in, we choose to stand out.

Still, I, at least, feel a bit guilty when I explain that I am not a Muslim, a chunni is not a hijab.  Am I implying there is something wrong about being a Muslim?  No, I am not!  But sometimes, it is taken that way, especially by Muslims.  I can usually get them to see what I mean by asking, "Would you like to be taken for a Sikh?"

I heard of a group of Christian girls and women in Kansas City, who, with much publicity, donned hijabs after the attacks with the state motive to make it impossible to look at a woman and know iof she is a Muslim.  Look at the picture below.  Can you be sure of her religion?

I have no idea how the Muslim community reacted to this, but it raised an interesting question:  How would we react as a community if a group of non-Sikhs grew kesh and tied turbans to protect us?  I'm really not certain, but it's interesting to think about.

It has been ten years, ten difficult years for Sikhs in the USA.  I will not compare the North American experience with what the Sikhs of India suffered in the last 15-20 years of the Twentieth Century.  That is a different situation, and I hope my fellow Diasporan Sikhs draw courage and commitment from those Sikhs. 

I think that this would be a good time to renew our commitment to stand for good for all humanity.  Let us live the truth of the words we say at least once every day:

Photo:  Courtesy NASA

To that end, I suggest we join with Pete Seeger, a great USAer and a great humanitarian, singing the great USA song of hope, optimism and commitment, WE SHALL OVERCOME.    I'll make it easy for you.  This video has on-screen lyrics.

CREDIT: GIRL IN HIJAB by Mohammed Ibrahim