Saturday, September 11, 2010

Reflections on 9/11, an idiot with a walrus mustache, moon shadow and yearning for the peace train

“Yes, I’m being followed by a moon shadow, moon shadow, moon shadow.. and if I ever lose my eyes, if my colors all run dry. Yes, if I ever lose my eyes, OOH, I won’t have to cry no more.….”
Yep, just the terror-filled message of another Muslim, from which we should cower. Obviously this is a man who is filled with hate for all of us, the kind of messenger of Satanic evil whose sacred book should be burned before … well, before he runs a plane into another building and kills thousands of innocent Americans and civilians from all over the world. Heck, if I’m not mistaken, there were even some Muslims who died on Sept. 11, 2001 … not the ones in the planes, but the ones in the buildings.
Yes, this is the kind of person we should obviously fear.
On this day, 9/11/10, nine years after that horrid day in all of our lives, I began to think about just how evil this message was that earned Yusuf Islam the reputation of persona non grata in the U.S. a few years ago, even earning him, if memory serves, deportation when he flew into Nashville for a recording session.
Yep, the artist previously known as Cat Stevens represents all that is the evil that backwater preachers with walrus mustaches – no he ain’t the real walrus, goo goo ga job, because he’s an ignorant headline grabber --- want to abolish, to humiliate, to cast asunder, to throw under the bus, perhaps even to stone.
At least the preacher has advocated burning the Quran, Koran or however you want to spell the name of the Muslim holy book.
Wonder if he realizes just how terrified we should be of guys like Yusuf Islam. Ooh baby, baby, it’s a wild world, isn’t it?
I mean, isn’t God, God, no matter the name? At least that’s what I thought. But of course, now on 9/11, the purveyors of hate have tried to tear us apart. And it’s apparently not difficult.
Here’s another example of the Islamic hatred of Yusuf Islam: “They used to call him Jesus long time ago. They’re still calling him Jesus, don’t you know. They crossed the wood and hanged him, a long time ago. They still misunderstand him, those who don’t know.”
How can we let this kind of hate for all things sacred to America go unpunished?
OK, I don’t think a mosque a couple of blocks from Ground Zero is necessarily a great idea, only because of the hate it seems to bring up in what I loosely refer to as “the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.”
Of course, how wise an idea is it to have, pardon my language, “Titty Bars” right there in what the guy who ain’t the walrus and other hate mongers are referring to as hallowed ground?
No don’t get me wrong, I like a naked woman as much as the next guy – always have -- but a smoky bar where exotic dancers rub private parts on chrome poles while leprous, snot-dripping old men and tattooed, broken-toothed young men stick dollar bills in barely concealed crotches is not my idea of a holy place. Those aren’t spirits which are getting lifted there.
Yet, those strip joints haven’t caused redneck pastors to rally around the burning of G-strings and tasseled pasties.
But, of course, that’s beside the point. Muslims flew stolen jets filled with innocents into skyscrapers, into the Pentagon and were going to go for the White House when some Americans re-hijacked that jet and crashed it into a field instead.
Damn Muslims, right. Hate them all. After all, shouldn’t we hate all Christians because some cowards blew up children in a church all those years ago. If I’m not getting my religions mixed up, I believe people who at least called themselves “ Christians” incinerated six million Jews? Now I sometimes get my history confused, but if I’ve got it right, folks who worshiped in the tabernacles of the South “owned” other human beings, whipping and raping them as if they were … well … I suppose as if they were Muslims showing up at some of those same churches today.
Now, 9/11 still makes me ache. I hate the sound of that date. I remember hearing about the first plane smacking into the Twin Towers when I was on my way to work – yes, I used to hold a steady job until I got old and in the way – when my pal Brad Schmitt, then host of one of those crap-rock/hip-pop early radio shows interrupted his on-air pretend foreplay with Scotty O and Cindy to describe a stunning scene on the TV monitors. Even Brad, who is Jewish by the way, was stunned to silence.
I rushed into work and, since I was toiling at what then was referred to as “a daily newspaper,” I prepared to help in the coverage of that day.
When the afternoon drew to an end, I went home to embrace my then small children and help them understand what had happened – which they really didn’t understand – but also to assure them we were all right and the world wasn’t coming to an end.
That night, we went to a candlelight service, sang “God Bless America” and prayed for the dead and for peace and for our nation and for our world. I still get chills recalling the resonance of that song on that night.
But already, the talk shows – not just Fox, but all of them – were talking about the threat of these Islamic cells in our country. Suddenly, people looked at the Muslims -- who otherwise were basically allowed to flourish in this “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave” (there I go again) that has freedom of religion at its very core.
I mean, folks all saw them as they assembled at their mosques. A bit different perhaps. But then again, so are Mennonites. And they’re Christians. I’d say “fer Christ-sakes” here, but that’s not really my style.
Anyway, I had spent a fair amount of time with Muslims and very seldom had one thrown a bomb at me or tried to amputate my hand with one of those big swords. Instead, they were prayerful, thoughtful people, as shocked as anyone else by the acts of 9/11.
And they had more reason to be scared, because of the festering hatred that was directed at them.
I called one of these Muslims the next day and invited him to come to a men’s group at the church I was attending. I wanted him to describe his faith to these men and to also share his thoughts about the vile killers of 9/11.
He was a gentleman, in the truest sense, and he was angry with the mass-murderers of the week before. Of course, he could have been frightened by being among those of a faith that was unlike his own. But he wasn’t. He bravely offered answers, explanations and reassurance. He was applauded and embraced.
OK, so I’m getting a little rambly here. This surely isn’t the definitive 9/11 recollection. I’m just me, a fairly simple guy who likes most people, as long as they aren’t mean to my family or my friends. Hurt somebody I love and I may come after you. Other than that, I’m sort of a turn the other cheek sort of guy.
Which brings me back to the pop/folk prophet Yusuf Islam, formerly Cat Stevens, and the messages of obvious hate that had him for a time banned from America.
“Why must we go on hating? Why can’t we live in bliss?
For out on the edge of darkness, there rides the peace train. Peace train take this country, come take me home again.
“Peace train sounding louder, ride on the peace train.”
Pretty damned chilling.