37, college grad, 2x married, one son, one stepdaughter, four cats, one idiot dog, one very small house and small garden.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

About Paul

Paul Johnson was murdered yesterday. I know that I am usually a bit light and frivolous, but I can't feel that way right now. This is the second time in a month that I have had to seriously question what we're doing in the Middle East. After Nick Berg was decapitated, I went through agony for days trying to decipher my thoughts and feelings. And I didn't even know him. I cannot imagine the kind of torment his family and friends went through. Now the family and friends of Paul Johnson have to go through the same ordeal. How? How do you get past something like that? I have admired the widow of Daniel Pearl for staying strong and stoic throughout her trauma. Now I have to wonder if the shock wasn't just too great a burden and she couldn't come forward because of it. I know it would be for me; I doubt I would ever resurface if something like that happened to my husband.

I'm angry. And the worst part is there isn't anyone definitive to be angry with; the perpetrators are faceless and the victims cannot speak for themselves anymore. It seems to me the terrorists have found a perfect vehicle for horror. Single out Americans, take them hostage (thereby taking all of us hostage), and then kill them. Make it personal. They have discovered that we will not crumble under a mass assault. So now they've decided to pick us off one by one. Show our faces and names; let us make statements on grainy video that gets published on the internet. Let America see exactly who is paying the price. That is the kind of horror that we can't withstand. I know that my immediate reaction upon seeing the photograph of Mr. Johnson bound and sitting in front of the camera was, "For the love of God! Send in some secret agent guys and get him the hell out of there!" The urge to save him instantly was overpowering.

And of course every time we see something like this our reaction is to bring all the Americans home NOW. Soldier and civilian alike. But is that a good idea? Wouldn't that look like tucking tail and running in the face of terrorism, something we swore we'd never do?

I try extemely hard to be a good Christian and have compassion for all. But I am highly upset with myself because I simply cannot have compassion for people like them. I want to bring down the wrath of God and then turn my back and let them burn. Then I have guilt because I can't follow Christ's edict to love thy neighbor...not when it comes to terrorism. Which is really sad, because Christ was a victim of terrorism himself; and he let it consume him for our sake. And yet...I can't see the purpose in these beheadings. Then again, I'm not God. But someday, I'm going to be asking those questions and He better have some really good answers.


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