Be the Cause

Dearest Jesus, Mohammad and Nanak

Dearest Jesus, Peace and blessing upon you.

I am so sorry for everything. If there is anyone who is owed an apology, it is you. I am so sorry we have taken everything that you lived and died for and construed it to create more harm and havoc. I know you must cry every time you look back at what you left behind. We have destroyed everything that you tried to build. I am so sorry, but your life has been short of inspirational.

Dear Jesus, you died for our sins, but I’m sorry, your death was in vain. You tried to teach people to be kind to one another, to treat each neighbor like you yourself would like to be treated. The other day I heard about a priest treating a nun to a neighborly sexual abduction. Why have you died Jesus? We are still ridden with sin. People still break all the rules, we still kill others, we still lie, we still cheat, we are still jealous of others, we still hate, we are still angry. Jesus, we need you once again. Jesus, we need you to die once again.

Dearest Mohammad, peace and blessing upon you.

I am so sorry for everything. If there is anyone who is owed an apology it is you. You tried to change the world, change everyone you met, you spread the message of peace and love. I’m sorry. Your life too has been reduced to a symbol of havoc. The Holy Qur’an is now commercialized in America as a symbol of terrorism. Your life is exampled, your words are quoted, your beauty is tainted as people who profess to follow your leadership take up arms against innocent civilians. Girls are killed because they are passionate about the freedoms they will never discover. Men are shot as they accidentally break curfews to bring food for families late into the night. Mohammad, we have failed to be the peaceful people you tried to lead. Mohammad, we are not Muslims.

Dearest Guru Nanak Dev Ji, peace and blessing upon you,

I am so sorry for everything. If there is anyone who is owed an apology it is you. We have destroyed everything you stood for. We have made a mockery of your life. Reading about your basic principles in life makes me shake my head to it all. Your teachings of equality, your concepts of oneness… where are they now? Where is the equality? You denounced all forms of inequality, the caste system, the gender biases, the social classes, the concept of oneness… where is it now Guru Nanak? We have created more inequality than existed in your time, we have Jatts, Bhappas, Khatris, who refuse to let their offspring marry into the other’s caste. Your followers have built the exact caste system you spent your life destroying. What did your life amount to? We have Khalsas, and Singhs, and Cuttsardhs, we have the rich and the poor, we have Sikhs, Muslims, Hindus, Christians… all hating each other because of their different backgrounds, their different upbringing, their different predecessors. Guru Nanak, I am so sorry, but your life too is short of inspirational.

Dearest Jesus, Come Back. Mohammad, Nanak, Moses, come back, we need you now more than ever. Why, Why exist in a time when all is in flux, when people are easily persuaded, when it is easier to show people the light because of all the darkness that exists?

Why do it at all? Why Jesus, only ensure that your message spreads to the Christians. And Moses, why, I thought all of humankind was chosen, why is that only Jews have rights to your wonderful teachings. Why Nanak, are your teachings of oneness only recited on the lips of a few million called Sikhs? Mohammad, I don’t understand, your teachings, your way of living, why is it only understood by the select few who follow your Sunna. Why do your deeds and words not transcend human built boundaries? Why did your messages not reach all corners of the globe?

Why? God, why do such a thing? Why send different messengers to different parts of your creation at different times. They all advertise the same message.. but your followers are ethnocentric. Did you not know what a despicable creation you had molded? Why God, instead of creating a humanity, have you created sub teams, each with their own agenda? Each member of Team A believing that their Team and its leader is the chosen one. Each member of Team A believing that its better than Team B. All is one, but why the separate Teams? Greater brotherhood and bonding… but only between members; no compassion or understanding for the outsiders?

I guess you knew what you were doing. Testing us all along to see if we really understood your messages. Each religion recites it, regurgitates it, drums up cheers for it but never really practices it. God is one, all is one… written in every book. Yet we continue to kill our brothers. Not all is one, Americans and Afghans, Muslims and Jews, the rich and the poor. Far from one.

Do it now, send us back into extinction as you did with the dinosaurs. Bring out another breed, a more intelligent breed, a more compassionate breed. You are still a step away from your ultimate creation.

Jesus, Mohammad, Nanak, Moses.. thank you for your valiant efforts… but we need you now, when people have convinced themselves that they understand your teachings, when people are convinced that they know what life is all about. Come back and teach us now. Save us now.

— Chughzy

Usman Farman

My name is Usman Farman and I graduated from Bentley with a Finance degree last May. I am 21 years old, turning 22 in October; I am Pakistani, and I am Muslim. Until September 10th 2001, I used to work at the World Trade Center in building #7. I had friends and acquaintances who worked in tower #1 right across from me. Some made it out, and some are still unaccounted for. I survived this horrible event.

I’d like to share with you what I went through that awful day, with the hopes that we can all stay strong together; through this tragedy of yet untold proportions. As I found out, regardless of who we are, and where we come from, we only have each other.

I commute into the city every morning on the train from New Jersey. Rather, I used to. I still can’t believe what is happening. That morning I woke up and crawled out of bed. I was thinking about flaking out on the train and catching the late one, I remember telling myself that I just had to get to work on time. I ended up catching the 7:48 train, which put me in Hoboken at 8:20 am. When I got there I thought about getting something to eat, I decided against it and took the PATH train to the World Trade Center. I arrived at the World Trade at 8:40 in the morning. I walked into the lobby of building 7 at 8:45, that’s when the first plane hit.

Ha d I taken the late train, or gotten a bite to eat, I would have been 5 minutes late and walking over the crosswalk. Had that happened, I would have been caught under a rain of fire and debris, I wouldn’t be here talking to you. I’d be dead.

I was in the lobby, and I heard the first explosion; it didn’t register. They were doing construction outside and I thought some scaffolding had fallen. I took the elevators up to my office on the 27th floor. When I walked in, the whole place was empty. There were no alarms, no sprinklers, nothing. Our offices are, or rather, were on the south side of building seven. We were close enough to the North and South Towers, that I could literally throw a stone from my window and hit the North tower with it.

My phone rang and I spoke with my mother and told her that I was leaving, at that moment I saw an explosion rip out of the second building. I called my friend in Boston, waking her up and told her to tell everyone I’m okay, and that I was leaving. I looked down one last time and saw the square and fountain that I eat lunch in, was covered in smoldering debris. Apparently, I was one of the last to leave my building, when I was on the way up in the elevators; my co-workers from the office were in the stairwells coming down. When I evacuated, there was no panic. People were calm and helping each other; a pregnant woman was being carried down the stairwell.

Ill spare the more gruesome details of what I saw, those are things that no one should ever have to see, and beyond human decency to describe. Those are things which will haunt me for the rest of my life, my heart goes out to everyone who lost their lives that day, and those who survived with the painful reminders of what once was. Acquaintances of mine who made it out of the towers, only got out because 1000 people formed a human chain to find their way out of the smoke. Everyone was a hero that day.

We were evacuated to the north side of building 7. Still only 1 block from the towers. The security people told us to go north and not to look back. 5 city blocks later I stopped and turned around to watch. With a thousand people staring, we saw in shock as the first tower collapsed. No one could believe it was happening, it is still all too-surreal to imagine. The next thing I remember is that a dark cloud of glass and debris about 50 stories high came tumbling towards us. I turned around and ran as fast as possible. I didn’t realize until yesterday that the reason I’m still feeling so sore was that I fell down trying to get away. What happened next is why I came here to give this speech.

I was on my back, facing this massive cloud that was approaching, it must have been 600 feet off, everything was already dark. I normally wear a pendant around my neck, inscribed with an Arabic prayer for safety; similar to the cross. A Hasidic Jewish man came up to me and held the pendant in his hand, and looked at it. He read the Arabic out loud for a second. What he said next, I will never forget. With a deep Brooklyn accent he said brother, if you don’t mind, there is a cloud of glass coming at us, grab my hand, lets get the hell out of here. He helped me stand up, and we ran for what seemed like forever without looking back. He was the last person I would ever have thought, who would help me. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have been engulfed in shattered glass and debris.

I finally stopped about 20 blocks away, and looked in horror as tower #2 came crashing down. Fear came over me as I realized that some people were evacuated to the streets below the towers. Like I said before, no one could have thought those buildings could collapse. We turned around and in shock and disbelief and began the trek to midtown. It took me 3 hours to get to my sisters office at 3 avenue and 47th street. Some streets were completely deserted, completely quiet, no cars, no nothing just the distant wail of sirens. I managed to call home and say I was okay, and get in touch with co-workers and friends whom I feared were lost.

We managed to get a ride to New Jersey. Looking back as I crossed the George Washington Bridge, I could not see the towers. It had really happened.

As the world continues to reel from this tragedy, people in the streets are lashing out. Not far from my home, a Pakistani woman was run over on purpose as she was crossing the parking lot to put groceries in her car. Her only fault? That she had her head covered and was wearing the traditional clothing of my homeland. I am afraid for my families well being within our community. My older sister is too scared to take the subway into work now. My 8-year-old sister’s school is under lockdown and armed watch by police.

Violence only begets violence, and by lashing out at each other in fear and hatred, we will become no better than the faceless cowards who committed this atrocity. If it weren’t for that man who helped me get up, I would most likely be in the hospital right now, if not dead. Help came from the least expected place, and goes only to show, that we are all in this together Ö regardless of race, religion, or ethnicity. Those are principles that this country was founded on.

Please take a moment to look at the people sitting around you. Friends or strangers, in a time of crisis, you would want the nearest person to help you if you needed it. My help came from a man who I would never have thought would normally even speak to me. Ask yourselves now how you can help those people in New York and Washington. You can donate blood, you can send clothing, food, and money. Funds have been setup in the New York area to help the families of fallen firefighters, policemen, and emergency personnel. The one thing that won’t help, is if we fight amongst ourselves, because it is then that we are doing exactly what they want us to do, and I know that nobody here wants to do that.

My name is Usman Farman and I graduated from Bentley with a Finance degree last May. I am 21 years old, turning 22 in October; I am Pakistani, and I am Muslim, and I too have been victimized by this awful tragedy. The next time you feel angry about this, and perhaps want to retaliate in your own way, please remember these words: “Brother, if you don’t mind, there is a cloud of glass coming at us, grab my hand, lets get the hell out of here.”

— Usman Farman

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