Feb 042002
Authors: Sarah Laribee

Sunny days in Colorado make it easy to be self-absorbed.

I sit with a stomach full of steak burrito smothered in green chili, counting the days until Spring Break, wondering how obvious it would be if I showed up at a coffee-house that I know a certain boy will be at. This life makes it easy to be self-absorbed. Each day flying by at heinous speeds, melding into each other until we wake up one day and we’re fifty and we’re mediocre.

And it’s strange to come out of our February stupors for a few seconds, and realize that there are indeed other things at hand other than bean dips on Super Bowl Sundays and the way our fountain pens actually transform our writing into an art form.

Daniel Pearl, for example.

There exists, at this point in time, great confusion about the welfare and whereabouts of Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter being held captive in Pakistan. Pearl was taken captive on January 23, on his way to a source interview. He was taken captive in the middle of a mission to, as his wife, Marianne, puts it, “Try to create a dialogue between civilizations.”

Pearl is accused by the National Movement for the Restoration of Pakistani Sovereignty of being a spy for the U.S. government, and according to communications from the group, will be held or killed based on how the United States treats its suspected terrorists in custody in Cuba.

President George W. Bush and high-ranking members of the administration have repeatedly reiterated the American policy on negotiation with terrorists. We just don’t do it.

And, of course, this policy is the only rational stance that we can take as a nation.

The rational cannot somehow compel the irrational to miraculously come around to the side of reason. Because, in reality, they don’t solely want the release of the prisoners in Cuba. In reality, they want Americans to suffer. We are indeed dealing with “The Axis of Evil,” as Bush has named it.

When we deal with a people or group who resort to threats and acts of violence against members of the common citizenry, we are dealing with people who have no respect for life. No respect for the right or the good. No respect for the holy.

We are dealing with evil people.

It has nothing to do with religion, and very little to do with politics, for that matter. If it weren’t Daniel Pearl, it would have been someone else. And if it wasn’t for the cause of Afghan and Pakistani prisoners, it would have been something else. Because that is how evil works on this mortal coil. And our only hope is that if Daniel Pearl is not released, and if all is not right in the world, and if justice does not prevail in this life, it will prevail in the next.

His plight, and the plight of anyone else facing torment, torture or persecution in our excruciatingly troubled world, is not merely a result of September 11.

It is not merely a result American foreign policy, of remnants of imperialism, or even of religious differences. His plight is the result of living in a world so utterly and inexplicably wrapped up in the fundamental struggles of good and evil. His plight is what emerges when all of the things that occupy our own lives /_” the triteness and the niceness of it all – fall away.

Sarah Laribee is a second bachelor’s student in the English Education program, and actually really does like fountain pens. She can be reached via e-mail.

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