Beyond September 11th

Within 24 hours of the 9/11 attacks, Jayne Seminare Docherty, Ron Kraybill, and Howard Zehr composed a letter to the editor of the local Harrisonburg newspaper, The Daily News-Record. Then, they thought it needed to be more widely shared. Keeping in mind that this was the very early days of easy access and sharing on the Internet. We didn’t have Facebook or Twitter or Instagram or any of the other sharing platforms. If blogs were just taking off, we didn’t yet have one at EMU. The faculty and staff gathered to discuss what was needed and how to get things posted. We said what we wrote would need to be short, clear, easy to read, and reflective of our experience as practitioners of conflict transformation, restorative justice, and peacebuilding. We developed a quick system for review and editing and started writing. The original papers are posted below in the order they were posted on our website. So, one way to read them is to remember where you were in the weeks and months after 9/11 and ponder how you would have responded to what we posted. While we tried to get longer editorial pieces published in major newspapers, those efforts were unsuccessful. An Assistant Editor at the Washington Post told Jayne Docherty, “Nothing you people are sending us makes any sense.” She pointed out that this was because we were asking people to consider an alternative paradigm and doing that in the same 900 words allotted to those reinforcing the rush to war was nearly impossible. She asked them to give us a series of three editorials to lay out our case. He said, “We’re not interested.” None of this could have happened without support from staff members, including Pat Spaulding, Pat Martin, Jan Jenner, and Ruth Zimmerman. It was a real team effort. Below the original papers, are some reflections from the 10th Anniversary.

The original “Beyond September 11th” reflections

A Call for Thoughtful Response
Finally, as the full magnitude of the horror of these events becomes apparent, the repercussions are going to be personal as well as political, social, and cultural. We will each experience this trauma in our own way and our responses will be shaped by our past experiences with war, violence, and terror. It is important that we each find places where we can process our personal horror. We also need to be particularly mindful of the impact of these events on our neighbors whose lives have already included violence and terror in the United States and around the world.
A letter to the editor of the Daily News-Record later shared on the Beyond September 11th page. by Jayne Seminare Docherty, Ron Kraybill, Howard Zehr, September 12, 2001

Four Reasons to Use the War Metaphor with Caution

The events of September 11 have raised legitimate concerns about justice and security. Many people are demanding some form of response to punish or otherwise mete out justice to the perpetrators. All of us want some reassurances that we will not have to live in constant fear of violence and terror. Given our reliance as a nation on a war metaphor for describing many difficult situations (e.g., war on poverty, war on drugs, war on crime), it is natural that we would talk of our current situation as a state of war, even if we do not envision an immediate massive counter-attack. Nevertheless, this metaphor should be used with great caution.

by Jayne Seminare Docherty, September 12, 2001

Frameworks Other Than War

Originally written by Frank Blechman, modified and edited by Jayne Seminare Docherty. Blechman and Docherty have been exchanging metaphor analyses of significant events and responses to significant events for the past five years., September 14, 2001

The Challenge of Terror: A Traveling Essay
Though natural, the cry for revenge and the call for the unleashing of the first war of this century, prolonged or not, seems more connected to social and psychological processes of finding a way to release deep emotional anguish, a sense of powerlessness, and our collective loss than it does as a plan of action seeking to redress the injustice, promote change and prevent it from ever happening again.
by John Paul Lederach, September 16, 2001

Trauma Recovery and Justice: September 11 and its Aftermath
What form of justice will continue and sustain a recovery process for the families of those lost in this tragedy, and for all of us as we seek security in our world? Is it only the punitive kind that uses the rule of law and possibly violence to ‘right the wrong’ or is it justice that leads to transformation of unjust circumstances through the development of just relationships? 
by Barry Hart, September 16, 2001

Keeping Our Options Open: Waco or Apollo 13
Crises are marked by events that do not easily fit into existing organizational and conceptual categories. During a major crisis, we discover that:

  • We cannot easily understand the meaning of the events.
  • We struggle to define the problems exposed by the crisis.
  • Even when we think we have some idea of the nature of the problem, we do not have the language for expressing our ideas.
  • We have difficulty mobilizing resources to deal with the problems arising out of the crisis.
  • We need to create new organizational structures and new organizational relationships in order to address the crisis effectively.

by Jayne Seminare Docherty, September 17, 2001

Communicating with the Terrorists and Their Supporters
To send a well-crafted message that can actually be heard as it was intended, we need to pay attention to all three elements: message, channel, and recipient.
by Jayne Seminare Docherty, September 19, 2001

What Motivates the Terrorist or Potential Terrorist? 
Our instinct is to assume that anyone who would fly a passenger jet into a building, killing himself, everyone on board, and thousands of other people in the building must be deranged. This judgment often finds expression in claims that such individuals are evil. If this is the case, then crafting any kind of preventive or cautionary message for individuals who might take similar actions is futile.
by Jayne Seminare Docherty, September 24, 2001

Revisiting the War Metaphor

By Jayne Seminare Docherty, September 25, 2001

Difficulties of Confronting Unconventional Warfare 
Strategists of unconventional warfare have for decades sought to turn the anger and might of a military giant against itself. Thus, the September 11 attackers stand in a tradition of unconventional warfare with a considerable track record of success. 
by Ron Kraybill, September 26, 2001

How Might Peacemakers Respond to Terrorism?
The events of September 11 may leave those of us committed to non-violent methods of conflict resolution puzzled about how to respond. As military and intelligence forces mobilize around the world, what is our responsibility? 
by David Brubaker, October 2, 2001

Strategy in Afghanistan
Initial responses to September 11 focused on the question of how to eliminate Osama bin Laden and the threat of terrorism. In recent days a broader set of related questions are emerging. First, how do we relate to the people of Afghanistan? This is a key question. Second, how do we gain support of Afghanis to apprehend bin Laden and take him to trial? This is an immediate question. A longer-term question, but nearly as important to the success of efforts to address terrorism and support the emergence of stability in the region is, third, how do we assist the creation of a credible government in Kabul?
by Ron Kraybill, October 5, 2001

At The Fork in the Road: Trauma Healing
As peacebuilders, we must learn to recognize and examine the trauma that often smolders beneath conflict. We might be able to provide a quick fix, but we can’t transform the presenting conflict without uncovering — or somehow attending to — the underlying trauma. The conflict can actually worsen. Victims are re-traumatized and, if the trauma goes unhealed, the victim may become the aggressor; the abused may become the abuser.
by Nancy Good, October 10, 2001

Creating a Big Circle for a Difficult Discussion 
Keynote address for the first teach-in at EMU given by Jayne Docherty on October 15, 2001.
by Jayne Seminare Docherty, October 15, 2001

A Long-Term Strategy for American Security
by Jayne Seminare Docherty and Lisa Schirch, November 9, 2001

Is U.S. Policy Being Driven by the Pentagon’s Hardware? 
If this really is a new kind of war against a new kind of enemy, shouldn’t our leaders be taking the time to develop the necessary tools before “ramping up” a war effort to the point where the military hardware and tactical needs drive policy rather than the other way around?
by Jayne Seminare Docherty, November 9, 2001

Overview of the War on Iraq and Strategic Alternatives 
This overview details:

  • Key concerns about Iraq
  • Arguments for a war on Iraq
  • Problems with using war to address Iraq
  • Alternative strategies for addressing Iraq

by Lisa Schirch and William Goldberg, February 2003

10th anniversary reflections

Reflections on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and beyond .

by Lisa Schirch

by Bonnie Price Lofton

by Carolyn Yoder

by John Paul Lederach