Shaken Beliefs

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Thumsee, Bavaria

9/11 is a sad anniversary for all humankind. My deepest compassion is with all that have lost a loved one in these tragic events.*

That religion gets abused to justify large scale slaughter was and is nothing new, and naive is everybody who believes that humankind has overcome this stage. That the native country of freedom, human rights and the only superpower then could be hit by such attacks was a tremendous shock for most. That freedom was lost to such a degree in its home country to a department of homeland security is shocking continuously. That justice is defeated gets proven daily not only in Guantanamo but in oh so many countries of the world, only the rationale now is easier. That backlash based on thinnest facts and not even those has cost hundred thousands of innocent and in no way “combattant” lives will continue to breed hate. A sad anniversary indeed.

* I was only spared by a hairbreadth: Our foster son was for a student exchange in Philadelphia and on his way to a New York and WTC visit that day. Only a traffic jam was the reason that his name is not written on the Ground Zero Memorial.


  1. Juha, thanks a lot for the positive feedback. You can imagine that it was difficult to find a matching image for such a post. I have to admit I pondered several times the possibilities to not post at all or to remain more in the common realm.

    1. Chris, those were really long hours waiting for a free telephone line to Andreas’ host family. Really long.

    1. The sad thing is, Ken, that those ignominious events burn themselves so deep in our collective memory. Overcoming them is a task for generations.

  2. Small acts of fate changed many lives, a nation and the world on that day — the stories amaze me. I grieve for the lives lost on that day and for the many thousands lost since because of it. I also grieve for freedoms and in many ways innocence lost. Ten years and the wounds are still raw.

    I’m very thankful of that traffic jam for your foster son and you.

    Beautiful photo, Markus.

    1. Earl, thankful we are, all of us.

      The wounds are certainly still raw, inside and outside of America. How could it be otherwise, when so many innocent lives were lost, people that in no way were connected in that made-up justification for mass murder.

      I myself was brought up in post-WWII Germany with a very positive view of (almost) all things American. Of course this got scratches and dents, especially with the growing debate about sustainability, but the fundamental note is still way positive, not only showing in my affection for American photography and American music.

      During my travels however I was exposed to a much different perception of the U.S., a perception based very much on the experience of discrimination. In Asia, many people see the U.S. politics as directed against them. Especially the categorical support of Israel, regardless of its actions, or the historic support of the Shah’s regime in Iran contribute to a feeling of powerlessness and frustration. The intervention in Iraq (probably much more than the war in Afghanistan with its own tragic) unfortunately contributes to perpetuate such negative feelings. And for self-appointed religious zealots this is easy available fuel to collect the frustrated and distill some mass murderers out of them.

      Unfortunately I see no end of this deadly mechanism.

      1. Certainly there have been policies by America that have been less then completely honest or honorable…no excuses made. But then in history we’ve often had to choose the lesser of two evils as we’ve struggled to balance and counteract powers looking for global influence and dominance…such as the former Soviet Union. The results of America pulling back leaving the rest of the free world to fend for itself is often not acceptable so choices have been made…sometimes unpopular choices. Hindsight is 20/20.

        1. Earl, I didn’t want to sound snotnosed or overly smart. Of course ex-post explanations are cheap.

          What was astonishing for me, especially as a German, whose freedom was guaranteed by the U.S. after WWII, was that negative attitude towards the America that I encountered in so many discussions. So I tried to listen and find out the reasons and motives.

          1. Markus, You didn’t come across that way to me at all and I appreciate hearing other opinions.

            And I certainly don’t want to be seen as blindly defending all American policies…I don’t. The previous George W. Bush era has probably done more hard to the American image in the world then any other presidency.

            I was only interested in presenting the bigger picture. America has often had to act at a global level, not always because we want to but because we have the ability…and the will. For this we always pay a price even if we’re right…and especially if we’re wrong. And there is negative attitudes about us…some justified and some not.

            I can only hope the future will be better for everyone. I became too wordy here…sorry! 🙂

            1. Earl, definitely no need to feel sorry. Politics is a sensible topic, over a language barrier probably even more. But I do appreciate very much your words, it also broadens my perception of the world, helps me to understand and communicate and create maybe some understanding at other occasions.

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