The face of evil: who can ever forget it?
Formed in an instant, frozen in time, captured unknowingly in a wire photograph — one of millions taken that day — it spoke of an evil so profound the mind could little grasp it. An evil which transformed the world, from a place of peace to a furnace of fury; from a crisp September day to hell on earth; from a life where all was right with the world to a cauldron of discord and hatred.
September 11, 2001: the razor’s edge. Dividing an illusory tranquility from the stark reality of wickedness empowered, we learned, were we teachable at all, that simple things we took for granted–box cutters and backpacks, cell phones and chemicals, airplanes and atoms–could kill us on a scale unimaginable. We were no longer safe; our prosperity gave us not a secure haven, but was rather a weapon to be used against us by primitive demons frozen in a seventh-century death-cult, in ways far too horrid to even imagine.
The world we constructed–the Babel we lifted to heaven, created with sweat and savvy, hard work and hardware–proved but a house of cards, and crumbled to dust just as surely and disastrously as did the towers that brilliant fall morning. We know now the face of evil: we see it in the rugged faces of desert Bedouins and the silk suits of cultured diplomats, in hooded beheaders and Hollywood elite. It is the face of the human heart, ripped open for inspection in all its ugliness and vile vanity, for all to see, if they will look.
And look we must, if we are ever to survive, or ever to triumph.
September 11th was an opportunity, a window which will close quickly, through which we may glimpse–horrid though we may find it–our very soul.
Let us not squander these moments. We may not have many more such opportunities.