Before September 11, 2001, I'd never even heard of Al Qaeda. Now it's a household word. Five years later fear still abounds. Today I road my bike to work to avoid the subway. I knew nothing was going to happen, but still...
911 was not what taught me fear. I grew up to it, like music. It was passed down to me. Even though on the surface my family never talked about fear and they did everything they could to give me the life they didn't have, somehow it came through implicitly. For example, I knew that being Jewish meant that there are always going to be people who wish you didn't exist, just as I knew that being vulnerable in any way meant someone, somewhere would find a way to take advantage of you. These people don't care about the quality of your personality, the size of your heart, or any of the good things you do.
Even though I know this to be true, whenever I think back to 911, the raw shock and horror washes back with an intensity that always surprises me. No matter how much I was constructed on a foundation that expects this kind of hate, I think the innocence of the subjects, the almost 3000 people who died that day, trumps everything else I understand.
May this kind of abject hate never happen again.