As I spoke with my coworkers today about the Boston Bombers, I got into a heated argument with them over motive. I attempted to point out that we shouldn’t make any conclusions about the two young men being Muslim until we know if that had anything to do with their motives. I immediately had to listen to a coworker tell me that it wasn’t right for them to come here and blow our stuff and our people up. Another coworker said it was wrong for them to kill little children.
While I agreed with them that it is wrong to kill anyone, for any reason, I mentioned the fact that, on the same day as the bombing in Boston, 75 people were killed and 350 injured in attacks in Iraq. While my two coworkers agreed that it, too, was wrong, one reiterated that it didn’t justify “them” coming to American and killing Americans.
“Why not?” I asked. To me, I can see where citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan would want revenge for what the United States did to their country, including the millions that we’ve killed. The United States has clearly made people hate them since their continued involvement overseas since 2001.
“Because we never did anything to them,” my coworker replied.
“We destroyed their country,” I replied.
“Yeah, okay,” piped in my other coworker, “but that doesn’t mean they have to come here and kill little children.”
“Do you really think that they were thinking about how many small children they were going to kill when they set out on this? The US, too, has killed thousands of innocent children in Iraq and Afghanistan,” I said, hoping still to introduce some logic.
“No, they probably weren’t. But, man, I think we might have to watch out for you. You really hate America.” With that, coworker #2 left. My first coworker, who readily admits not knowing anything about history or current events decides to keep going.
“I’m not going to argue with you, but “they” have no right coming to this country and killing Americans.” My mind was boggled by the fact that this coworker could not see the fact that the United States has gone to other countries for ten years or more and done the same thing.
“You do realize that they’ve been here for ten years and, mostly, fit in. So something happened in the last couple of years to make them become who they are now.”
“Yeah because them Muslims prey on lonely people and he was Muslim. He shouldn’t come here and do this.”
“But we don’t know yet if his religion had anything to do with it.”
“They probably did. You know how they are. They hate us.”
“And why do you think they hate us? We destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan for no good reason and continue killing innocent people today.”
“Then they should go back to Iraq and not kill us innocent Americans.”
“They weren’t from Iraq. They were from Chechnya.”
“Same thing. They’re all close by each other.” Yes, I face palmed at this comment by my coworker. Grozny, Chechnya is 1808km (1123.4 miles) and a 25 hour car ride to Baghdad, Iraq. It is 3,444km (2140 miles) and a 43 hour car ride between Grozny, Chechnya and Kabul, Afghanistan. So, no, they are not even close to each other.
“No really, they’re not. And they are angry about the United States’ constant meddling in the Middle East.”
“Well, they asked us to come to Iraq and Afghanistan and help them.”
“They did not.”
“Yeah they did.”
“No one asked us for help with anything.”
“Yes, they did. And these boys are connected to it. But I’m not arguing anymore with you. You’ve got too many radical ideas.” And with that, my coworker left me shaking my head as to why I even attempted to discuss the entire situation.
So, there you have it. I have radical ideas because I try to inject some rational thought, logic, and understanding into a conversation. I try not to jump to conclusions and not make any decisions until all the facts are in. Unfortunately, the people I work with prefer to believe America is the greatest country on Earth and does nothing wrong. This is why they will never be able to understand why anyone would want to kill Americans and why they will never be able to step back and see the other side’s view. When you can’t do that, you will never be able to understand international relations or other cultures. Because of this, they will never be able to begin building bridges towards peace.
For the record, 2,996 civilians and 19 hijackers were killed on 9/11. Estimated deaths in Iraq through 2012 are over 100,000. Civilian casualties in Afghanistan to date is about 21,690, which is considered an underestimate. These are casualties only and don’t include the injured, only the dead. I wonder when it will be worth it. How many Iraqis and Afghanistanis equal one American?