11th September 2001

For America and the World

‘Do not allow your hatred to turn you away from justice.’
- The Qur’an, sura 5.

This is not time for words, yet we must speak -
and we must speak of shock and disbelief and grief unconsolable.
How could it be ?
These scenes of ruin and terror, fire and dust -
the world’s familiar things turned into hell?

This is not one tragedy, but thousands -
surging out like falling rubble to engulf the lives of thousands more with death and fear and desperate anger.

Who could do such things?What abdication of humanity, what profundity of hatred, what godless satanic bitterness could so possess a human mind and drive it to such evil?
This we ask in our confusion.
And so we pray -
not sure in faith, not sure to whom we pray, or why
but in confusion.

We pray for the injured and the dead,
not in their thousands but one by one -
the office-worker starting her day,
the traveller on a ‘plane,
the firefighter rushing to save lives...
we pray for their recovery or their eternal rest.
We pray that wisdom will rule the reaction, that pain will not give way to blind vengeance, that the innocent will not suffer with the guilty.

We give thanks for the human response to untold suffering,
the compassion, the generosity, the gifts of life-blood.
We pray that, out of evil and disaster, the divine might work some good unhoped for.

We pray that a consciousness of common humanity may touch the hearts of those who, in their own pain, might celebrate this wickedness.
We pray that those who have shown such contempt for ordinary people and their special, sacred lives may come to realise the enormity of their crime
and the falsehood of the malice that perverts their souls.
And should they repent - from the very core of their being - for what they have done,
grant us, O compassionate and merciful One, the grace to forgive - for we will need it.

The following poem was written on 14 September by classical composer 'Orfeo' of Boulder,Colorado, USA. He was moved by the unusual silence at Denver International Airport

Silence, so comforting after a busy day.
The hustle bustle, stopped, relaxed.
Twenty minutes from the airport, the busy airport.
One-third of an hour, our ride no longer needed.

No longer days exist for those over a thousand miles away.
Massive icons of who we are, are no longer.
For some, no days exist any longer.
Their hustle bustle, stopped, forever relaxed.
The missing icons loudly broadcast their absence to the world.
The icons' absence a monument to who we are.

The sky is quiet, eerily quiet.
The sky, a massive icon, screams out its silence.
We miss the silent nighttime sky's fireflies of slow-moving points of light.
We miss the security embedded in the sky's routine roar.
The silent sky, transcending boundaries of maps, faith and race.
The silent sky, a monument to who we are.
The silent sky, reminding us we are together, all as one.

After September 11

They say the world has changed for ever.

Will I no longer be able to rejoice at the first snowdrop, or be amazed at
next year’s bud waiting behind the falling leaf?

Will I no longer be exhilarated by the cool air of a Spring morning,
the dusky warmth of a summer evening, misty Autumn sunshine?

Will I no longer be moved by the counterpoint of Bach,
a Beethoven string quartet?

Will I no longer feel warmth and security with family and friends?

Will I no longer smile at, or greet a stranger?

Will I no longer feel some sense of spiritual presence?

They say the world has changed for ever - may be some things have to change.

But let it not be the power of the ordinary and everyday
to amaze and enrich our lives.
David Dawson, 22 September 2001 Return to home page