Sunday, September 05, 2004

From Tulsa to Russia

Well school starts for Tulsa Public Schools this week and my daughter heads back to finish out her last year in elementary school. There's a lot of excitement that first day as the kids see each other for the first time in months and head off to meet their new teachers and learn what fate has dealt them in seating assignments. Whether she has to sit behind Simon the bully or Matilda the Cruel are her greatest concerns at this point in her life. Thankfully, in Oklahoma school life is relatively safe. We have the rare shooting or knifing but here, even tornadoes are more of a concern. Not to mention the aggressive SUV and truck-driving idiots that threaten on the route to school.

But none of this is anything compared to the horror that many children in the world face everyday. The worst horror comes in the form of adults so sick with hatred that they will purposely set out to kill other people's children to achieve some goal of theirs. The Russian-Chechen conflict is a little understood matter here. Most Americans, and certainly Oklahomans, couldn't point out Chechnya on a map. Many, sadly, couldn't even point out Russia. Nevertheless, the horribly cruel murder of hundreds of children and adults in the school in the North Ossetia region of Russia this past week had many people here shaking their heads in disbelief. It is beyond belief indeed and while we don't understand the larger situation we do know that ones that lower themselves to such brutality against innocent children is sick beyond all comprehension. There can be no justification whatsoever for killing children.

The extent of most American's knowledge of the murders is that they were carried out by Muslims - Russia says by Al-Qaida funded Muslims. Here again, Americans are thinking "what is it with the Muslims?" "Why is it always the Muslims that are blowing up buses, schools, and markets crowded with civilians?" As a CNN story this evening pointed out, this kind of situation is doing great damage to the reputation of Muslims in general. I hope reasonable Muslims will speak out against these atrocities carried out by their brothers and sisters and help put a stop to the bloodshed.

When I take my daughter to school this week I'll be happy for her - that all she needs to worry about is her seat assignment. At the same time I'll be thinking of all those Russian parents who had their little sons and daughters needlessly taken away from them by evil. I can imagine, for a brief moment, their pain.

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