And you know what?
All I can say is I’m worried.
No, it’s not travel fears that are keeping me up at night.
And I’m not anxious about the possibility of more attacks here and elsewhere in the world.
Well, not any more anxious than I am about earthquakes, hurricanes and other catastrophes that are out of our control.
What’s got me worried is the impending media onslaught and how it will affect my family.
In addition to the news coverage, there are 40+ specials, documentaries and other shows planned. Projects by Steven Spielberg, National Geographic, Paul McCartney. There’s even a Nickelodeon program for kids, that aims to explain what happened on September 11, 2001.
You Don’t Have to Watch TV to Commemorate 9/11
Let me be clear – As an American I get that this is a national tragedy that has made an indelible mark on U.S. history. One that will be revisited every year.
But as the wife of a Turkish man and mom to two bi-cultural kids, I worry.
Why? Because my husband is Muslim.
Okay, so we may not be a “traditional” Muslim American family (whatever THAT means).
- We don’t fast for Ramadan.
- We don’t worship at a mosque.
- And no one wears a burqini in our house.
In fact, my son recently told me he’s Hindu. (Now THAT’s a blog post in the making!)
So, no, we don’t fit the “typical” image of the Muslim-American family that marketers, pundits and Ryan Seacrest put out there.
But that doesn’t make the inflammatory language and Islamophobic slurs that get tossed about these days any less hurtful.
Why Choosing Your 9/11 Media Diet is Important
Recently, Nicole Neroulias wrote
“It’ll be a balancing act for journalists to cover the emotions of the 9/11 anniversary: without sacrificing the facts, they will also have to maintain some responsibility for the effects of publicizing the inflammatory language and images that factor into the occasion.
Yes, balance would be nice. But I’m not counting on it.
Instead I’m taking a cue from blogger Kelly West of CinemaBlend. In an e-mail that was quoted in a recent CNN article she wrote, “How much coverage we expose ourselves to and how we want to acknowledge the anniversary is our choice.”
How to Have a Peaceful 9/11
Participate in a community walk, like the free, family-friendly and apolitical 9/11 Interfaith Unity Walk in Washington, DC, where you can visit different houses of worship and religious institutions, listen to renowned interfaith speakers, and learn about faith traditions you may not be as familiar with.
Visit a Peace Pole, a four- or six-sided monument that displays the message and prayer “May Peace Prevail on Earth”, usually in different languages. In 1955 Masahisa Goi conceived of peace poles in response to the bombings on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Today, there are over 200,000 monuments in over 200 countries. Can’t find one in your area? Then take a virtual tour of Peace Poles around the world.
Walk a labyrinth or an outdoor sanctuary where you can reflect and meditate on what 9/11 means to you. One of my favorites is the rooftop labyrinth at the American Psychological Association near Union Station in Washington, DC. Click here for a list of public and private labyrinths around the world.
Wishing you peace, whatever you chose to do this September 11.