My friend Yasmin didn't know I had returned to London on 21st Oct because I had not updated this journal. It's nice to know that I have friends who check my web site for my whereabouts. I have trouble keeping up myself.
I have so much to write about. And so little time. I keep track of my journal topics on the the back page of my spiral notebook. But having been through three notebooks in one month, I've still not written enough.
In the aftermath of September 11th, I noticed a big difference between men and women. Men are natural problem solvers. They like to be useful. If there's a problem they can't immediately solve, such as Sept 11th, they go quiet. Women are problem-definers. They like to dwell and relate. It doesn't matter if there is no immediate, obvious solution. They just like to talk about. So it was with my female friends that I found comfort and solace.
I experienced at first numbness. Then dismissal. Denial. Indecision. Grief. Fear. Paranoia. And finally, a desire to forget about it. But I never experienced anger or the desire for retaliation. Now I would like to find the truth.
I observed three types of people in my conversations in the last month. There are those who watch TV and repeat what they say. I was like that in New York - simply reflecting and portraying the feelings of the masses. There are those who choose not to know. Ignorance is, after all, bliss. One of my friends admitted that she prefers to know as little as possible, so that she can carry on with her daily life. She doesn't want to live in fear. I could easily fall into this group because I don't own a television. Finally, there are those who want to know more than what the media is telling them. I call these the truth seekers.
Unfortunately, in America these days, it's difficult to be a truth seeker. A truth seeker questions both sides and looks for objectivity. For a nation in mourning, it is an insult to appear unemotional but rational. In Texas, behind closed doors, you can express your liberal views. In public, by asking "why" you may appear to be sympathetic to those terrorists. You have to choose your words carefully. But surely in the land of the free, the right to express yourself should be even more respected in these times of uncertainty! Instead, I found that people were very willing to give up these freedoms. "A little inconvenience," said a friend, "in exchange for a peace of mind."
To seek the truth, you must read and research. It is easy to follow the herd mentality. That is the way to mass hysteria. The truth seeker may be alone in his/her quest. But truth always prevails in the end.
25 October 2001 Thursday
"I'll end by telling a story. There was once a civilization that was the greatest in the world. It was able to create a continental super-state that stretched from ocean to ocean, and from northern climes to tropics and deserts. Within its dominion lived hundreds of millions of people, of different creeds and ethnic origins....
While modern Western civilization shares many of these traits, the civilization I'm talking about was the Islamic world from the year 800 to 1600, which included the Ottoman Empire and the courts of Baghdad, Damascus and Cairo, and enlightened rulers like Suleiman the Magnificent.
Although we are often unaware of our indebtedness to this other civilization, its gifts are very much a part of our heritage. The technology industry would not exist without the contributions of Arab mathematicians. Sufi poet-philosophers like Rumi challenged our notions of self and truth. Leaders like Suleiman contributed to our notions of tolerance and civic leadership.
And perhaps we can learn a lesson from his example: It was leadership based on meritocracy, not inheritance. It was leadership that harnessed the full capabilities of a very diverse population-that included Christianity, Islamic, and Jewish traditions."Carly Fiorina, CEO, Hewlett Packard