Wednesday, April 12, 2006


A couple of things have happened this week that have me thinking about September 11.

The first thing is that my aunt's divorce was finalized. Now, I know that sounds like a non sequitir, but, hear me out. This is my aunt who is only three years older than me, and more like a sister than an aunt. At any rate, my aunt was married, since 1997, to a man from Saudi Arabia. Their marriage had problems that all multi-cultural marriages face, but, after September 11, 2001, things really became difficult. Her husband was angry about things, and, I don't think he was angry about the same things that the rest of us were angry about. (My husband and I were discussing these anger issues yesterday, and I said, "you know, sometimes, I feel like I have been angry about things happening in the world for so long..." and he said, "Since 9/11. I've been angry since 9/11." Maybe it's because we still don't know where Osama Bin A**hole is, and I'm ticked off about it, and I'm terrified, really, that he and his minions are going to do something else, and I'm tired of being scared, so, I'm p*ssed.) Okay, back to the divorce. He was angry. We were angry. He became more militant about certain things - like, not wanting my aunt to attend a family baptism, or not wanting a Christmas tree. Things went downhill. And then, about a year ago, he told her, "I love you. But, I can't live here anymore." And he left, he got on a plane, he went back to Saudi, where he hadn't been in 15 years. And at first he called her and begged her to join him (and, she's not an idiot, she said no.) And then he called her and said, "I couldn't ask you to come here anymore. You could never be happy here. I can never be happy there. I love you. I don't know what to do." And so she filed for divorce. And it took a while, because he was out of the country, but, last week, it was over. He signed everything he had to sign, and she signed everything she had to sign, and the judge signed, and it ended. And he told her again that he loved her, but, he didn't know how to make it work, because he couldn't be in America without being angry, and she couldn't be in Saudi without being miserable.

And I feel like their marriage, is, in a weird way, another casualty of September 11. Probably not the last one, either. Probably their are other marriages that have ended this way. For Pete's sake, I'm a divorce attorney, I shouldn't be broken up about such things - this is what I do, right?

The other thing going on is the death penalty trial of Zacarias Moussoui (sp?). I feel really conflicted about this matter. On the one hand, he is, without a doubt, a miserable excuse for a human being and given the opportunity he would certainly kill as many Americans as he could. I don't doubt that he WOULD, or that he COULD, I'm just not sure if I believe that he DID. I stood in front of the justices of the Supreme Court of Ohio and promised to uphold our system of justice, a system that does not punish people for what they could do, but for what they have already done.

And so I ask myself several questions - did Moussoui, who appears to be both insane and unstable, actually KNOW about 9/11? Would he have been trusted with this information by the other hijackers and planners? If he did know, would anyone have believed him if he had started talking? Would it have made a difference? Would 3,000 people be alive today if he had opened his damn crazy mouth? If he DID know, if he IS responsible, would it be worse for him to die? Or would it be worse for him if we were to force him to LIVE?

Now, I don't know the answer to most of these questions. I haven't been in the courtroom, I haven't seen what the jury has seen, and, frankly, there are things that jury has seen in the last few days that I don't ever WANT TO see. Pictures that are so horrible, I don't know that they will ever get those images out of their heads. (Even now, there are images from that morning that I cannot get out of my head - the picture of the man in the chef's uniform falling in a perfect arc from one of the towers, for example.) They have listened to the grief of the survivors, dozens of them. I don't know about those jurors, but, I know that, for me, the grief of others weighs so heavily on my heart and soul that sometimes I think I cannot bear their pain - their pain, not even my own. I think I might go crazy - totally, certifiably, bat-shit crazy - if I listened to their stories all at once, all at the same time.

But, I think I do know the answer to the last questions. I draw some of this answer from my faith, and some from my sense of what is right and just. I think that there are some things that are worse than death. I think that sometimes it is would be WORSE for some criminals to have to wake up every morning. To know you will never again take a walk outside in the sun, or in the rain, or in the snow. To never have the company of others. To wake up every morning, in the same place, for years and years and years, with nothing to look forward to, with nothing to DO. I think it is a greater punishment than death. I really do. Mousoui wants us to kill him - why should we give him that satisfaction?

I want someone to pay for that morning. I want JUSTICE. I want someone to have to PAY for everything we lost that day. I want someone to be held ACCOUNTABLE for that chef who dove off a building like a swan, knowing that there was only concrete to catch him, knowing that what was behind was a worse way to die. I want ANSWERS. I want to NOT BE AFRAID anymore. I want to rewind to that perfectly perfect fall morning, when the sky was that perfectly perfect blue, and I want those planes to NOT crash. I want to be able to look at the blue of the autumn sky again and NOT WANT TO CRY.

I'm just not sure that killing Zaccarias Moussoui is the way to achieve those things. I want the head of Osama Bin Laden. This man's head just doesn't feel like enough - not by a long shot.


Blogger Sand Gets in My Eyes said...

I don't think there is an American alive that doesn't feel the aftermath of 9/11 the way you so eloquently expressed. Thanks.

I'm a US expat in Saudi and can tell you it IS possible to be here and not be miserable - even be happy (tho my situation is far different than your sister's.)

I haven't been back to the States for awhile, but understand the daily fear of unknown terror possibilities. Here it is palpatable and unavoidable, weaving itself into every corner of life.

We'd all like to go back to 9/10, but sadly no justice system or jury can make that happen.

Thursday, April 13, 2006 4:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't want Moussoui to get the death penalty because that would martyr (sp?) that crazy man. I doubt the other hijackers trusted him with their information. I, like you, am very glad I am not on that jury.

One of my very good friends just moved herself and her three kids (two girls) to the United Arab Emerites to join her husband. I pray for them every day- I pray especially hard for her girls. I wish I could end this constant fear that I feel, the one that has lingered since 9/11. I would like to be able to trust people again. I hate it that I now have to have yearly bomb threat training and be aware of city-wide evacuation procedures. I hate eyeballing everyone in a plane wondering- are you the one?

Thursday, April 13, 2006 8:06:00 AM  

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