Pain and mourning. They shut out all other thoughts and feelings. A little more, it seems, and our hearts will burst. Clever words suddenly sound so empty and senseless, while events that had seemed important now look trivial and not worthy of attention. Things that seemed so secure now appear to rest on only the shakiest of foundations and look absolutely uninsurable. But every moment, every detail of this terrible day brands itself into our memories.
There's a lump in the throat at the thought of the people buried alive beneath the rubble, and of the families and friends of the victims. And there's an unbearable feeling of uselessness and helplessness at not being able to do anything to help or make things better. Of course I am happy that my friends were in another place at this moment, but that doesn't lessen the pain I feel for all those whose lives were turned upside down by these horrific events.
This burning pain inside is made only stronger when I hear people say that the Americans have paid for having "built their happiness at the expense of others for decades, and for having imposed their views on the rest of the world." It is made stronger when I hear people ask themselves if they shouldn't perhaps be converting their savings from dollars to euros, or when people say that in retaliation for these attacks some countries should be wiped from the map.
This is probably a defensive reaction, an attempt to keep hold of some kind of beacon in a world thrown into confusion and shock. Some people try to find a logic and meaning in events that have no logic and meaning. Others cling to the tangible, material side of life, trying to hold their world stable with rows of numbers. Yet others seek to bring balance to their world through a retaliatory strike.
This is all comprehensible. We all have to continue and not give in to panic or paranoia. We must not let the dregs of the world impose their lawless games on us. Of course we feel anger and we seek revenge, we try to take in what is happening and see what tomorrow will bring. But this is secondary. No matter how hard it is, we must first come back again and again to this pain we feel for the victims of this absolute evil. We may not know them, but it is our duty to remember them and pray for them.
We must try to come through every test sent our way with dignity. This feeling of sympathy we have today is what allows us to remain human beings, it touches our soul and keeps us from becoming mere creatures of flesh and blood caught up in business, ideas and ambitions. United by our pain, we have a chance of feeling ourselves one living organism, of overcoming religious and national barriers in the name of our common fight against the evil that has been visited upon us.
It wasn't by chance that President George Bush called it "faceless evil." Though there is a chief suspect Osama bin Laden this doesn't answer the question as to how this could have happened. Geidar Dzhemal, chairman of the Russian Islamic Committee, said that not a single group had the organizational or material resources to carry out these attacks. Dzhemal said only trans-national forces could have pulled this off, perhaps "using resources of one of the intelligence services, say, the former Stasi."
But it's better to leave the investigations up to the specialists. As for our job, we have to make sure the terrorists don't achieve their aim. They wanted to frighten the world we have to keep our calm. They wanted to divide the world we have to unite. They wanted to show us their strength we have to see the proof of their weakness and cowardice.
But judging by some reactions, the temptation is huge to distance oneself and look for explanations as to why America was subject to such an attack. Whatever the reasons this or that country or group has for feeling anger towards America, the superpower, this doesn't change the fact that this monstrous act was perpetrated against innocent people, against people's husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and relatives.
Russian Orthodox deacon Pavel Feoktistov said that, "evil cannot come from God, it always comes from the devil." It is the duty of each of us to stop this evil within ourselves. We must not let this evil hijack our souls. We must not give way to wrath, but rather, we must remember the people who were killed.
The Orthodox faith believes that it is during the first 40 days after death that decides where the dead person's soul will go. During these 40 days, the living must pray for the departed, for the forgiveness of their sins and for their comfort in Heaven, where there is no pain and no suffering, but only eternal rest and life.
The people who died were probably of various religions, but let us pray for them, each in our way. Let us pray that the merciful Lord will take these innocent people to Him.
Let their souls have eternal remembrance.
Ekaterina Larina is The Russia Journal's assistant editor (E-mail Katya at firstname.lastname@example.org.)