Monday, September 11, 2006

A Small Tribute

According to news reports, the tragic events of five years ago today were precipitated when people associated with Al-Qaeda became angry over US involvement in the Middle East. The logic seems to be, "We want the US to change what they are doing, so we will strike out with aggressive, destructive action in the hope this will dissuade America from continuing." To date, the response seems to be increased involvement of the US and its NATO allies in the Middle East. The official attitude appears to be, "No way are we going to let the terrorists push us around. In fact, we're going to do our best to cut their feet out from under them." This is hardly the result the terrorists seem bent on achieving.

The Al-Qaeda leadership could choose to use different tactics, such as diplomatic communication or publication of their concerns in the hopes that world opinion might influence US decision-making. Perhaps Al-Qaeda feels they are not powerful enough to make these strategies work, so they choose a course they hope will actually have an impact. Like I said above, they are creating an impact all right but the results so far don't seem to be the ones they are after.

We also deal with conflicts in our personal relationships, albeit on a smaller scale. Suppose your spouse does something you don't like. This could be anything, like the way your wife can't seem to get along with your mother or your husband's refusal to help get the kids ready for school in the morning. You're fed up with it and you want it to change, so what do you do? We could try any number of strategies, and I bet most of us have to admit to being aggressive at times. He won't help so you yell at him, tell him how unhappy you are and demand that he should start pulling his weight. Maybe you give him the silent treatment for a while, or angrily refuse his request to iron his shirt, making sure he knows the reason why. (And no, I don't think a wife should automatically iron her husband's shirts. Maybe he was running late and asked for a favor. This is just an example. Work with me here.)

What will his reaction be? A spouse with any spine at all will often want to show he has one. He doesn't want this type of dynamic to continue, so he will be highly motivated to resist your pressure tactics. The same would typically be true when a wife doesn't want to encourage her husband's aggression. The spirit of cooperativeness flies out the window and the whole situation can spiral downward.

Kind of like what is happening between Al-Qaeda and the US.

Let me be clear here; I am NOT implying that aggressive spouses act like terrorists. The scale of destructiveness is not even in the same ballpark. I draw the parallel to point out that the tactics used in both cases tend to be equally ineffective. I firmly believe that terrorism will always be a futile gesture because it is based on flawed psychological principles. The idea is to scare people into doing what you want. When you treat someone badly though (as the terrorists most definitely did on 9/11) their response is usually to push back, to become even more firm in their resolve not to give in to those tactics.

The same is true when we strike out in anger towards the people in our lives, whether they are our spouses, children, friends or co-workers.

Perhaps there is a way we can all offer a small tribute to those who lost their lives five years ago and in the conflicts that have taken place since then. Maybe we can learn a lesson and resolve not to use pressure tactics in our personal relationships. By communicating and negotiating instead, we can build up rather than destroy the spirit of trust and cooperation.

19 comments:

  1. Wise words. Pressure tactics usually give you the opposite of what you want-- just ask any mom who is trying to get her child to do finish his homework or clean his room

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well said! Now if we could only get the leaders of the world to join us...wishful thinking I guess.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is not something I had ever thought of before. But what a great reminder, about how we respond in anger, and how we could better achieve needed change.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great post.

    Criminals find many reasons to justify their crimes but in the end a crine is a crime and a crime against hunamity is the worse crime of all.
    The sad part is the thinking of those who agree and support these people and then ask for our help as well.
    The world leaders need to look not only at the people responsible but the people who do not help in the name of justice to catch these people and ensuring our right to live free and in peace.
    Maybe they should be left alone to find their own destiny and personally I hope it lays in a shallow grave for the vultures to pick on them slowly.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for sharing this message.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great post!! I totally agree with you.

    You helped put things in perspective for me.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Very good to remember, in all areas of life. Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Such the lurker you are!! Thank you for doing it though...you always have something important to share related to my topics.

    And yes, sometimes spouses ARE like terrorists...oh wait..maybe I'm talking about the kids! HAHAHAHA...

    ReplyDelete
  9. clap~ clap~ clap~ clap~ clap~ clap~ clap~ clap~ clap~

    thanks so much for this post...really wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I was interested to hear your interpretation of the flawed ideology behind what happened on September 11. I love the way you've suggested we can pay tribute by learning lessons from this (on a much smaller scale, in our own homes). It would be a tribute that never ends....

    ReplyDelete
  11. The terrorists did fool USA. The goal was to set middle east on fire. And USA was more than willing to do it, and the weapon industry smiles. In USA it is legal to produce torture equipment and sell to other countries. USA and China are both using death penalties a lot. But I hope USA will see another way than violence to change the world to a better place. Violence give violence. Bombs produces terrorists.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Yes, very thoughtful perspective on the happenings of 5 years ago. Nothing is ever achieved through fear, whether its blowing up buildings or ruling your children with an iron hand.

    ReplyDelete
  13. This is a great message. As you will read on my site, I am fed up with all the 9/11 discussion. I want to know how people feel the other 364 days of the year and what they care about. I wish I read your post before I was interviewed on the news about my feelings.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Andrew -
    You left a comment on my blog. How did you find it?
    Thanks,
    uncertain4sure - the woman who doesn't know how things work in America

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love your change-up from terrorists vs. everybody else to family disagreements. The one thing that the news reports forget is that this hatred between (let's face it) Arabs and Israel goes back to the beginning of the Jewish nation, when Abraham's sons were pitted against each other. (Ishmael and Issac) Each became the head of mighty nations and those nations have hated each other ever since. Muslims just plain want us dead and they are not willing to bargain. Maybe, the same principles apply to marriage. (You see it my way or you are dead, Honey!)

    ReplyDelete
  16. Just wondering...why only mention the terrorists' dysfunctional method of communicating and not that of our own nation as well? If you are discussing this issue, why only focus on one side of it?

    Yes, we should not use "terror" tactics to get our way, but should our spouses or whoever use violence and oppression and unneccesary attack in response? I think your point is interesting and valid, but it seems incomplete. The terrorists are wrong and so are we for pursuing a war in the name of fighting terror and for needlessly killing innocents with improper justification.

    The U.S. response (as well as the U.S.'s previous dealings with the Middle East) ca be used as a metaphor for what not to do in personal relations as well.

    ReplyDelete
  17. hello Andrew, thanks for dropping by my place. I linked you up, hope you don't mind. Have a nice day!!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you for sharing. For remembering. I'm bringing the stories together...

    ReplyDelete
  19. I agree with you.A small child of three refuses to be pushed around so there's no way these terrorists are going to succeed.Time will tell.Pl.read my post 'Free to Hope' written in Aug 2006

    ReplyDelete