Why I Hate Them

Brussels, Belgium on March 22, 2016

by baldilocks

Originally posted on September 11, 2006.

Two men [original link unavailable].

Based on the accounts of witnesses and loved ones’ knowledge of the two men’s characters, a devastating picture emerges of that tragic morning. [SNIP]

When the first plane hit the building, [Abe] Zelmanowitz, 55, and [Edward] Beyea, 42, both systems analysts for Blue Cross Blue Shield, fled the office with their co-workers. The elevators were not working, and Beyea, a 300-pound man in a heavy mechanized wheelchair, could not get down the stairs, which were choked with streams of panicked workers. [SNIP]

“He couldn’t have left him,” said Zelmanowitz’s sister-in-law, Evelyn Zelmanowitz of Flatlands, N.Y. “That’s what made Abe, Abe.” [SNIP]

Both men were lost in the collapse of the north tower that morning. [SNIP]

There is some indication that they had made it to the 21st floor when the building collapsed. Their bodies have not been recovered.

Why are such men hated?

On that very day, I was sad, then furious and then filled with hate. I don’t feel the latter much any more, but, occasionally, it flares up again; especially when I read about people like Misters Zelmanowitz and Beyea. Their families have nothing to bury; they only live with the memory of loved persons. And, meanwhile, other men and women are dying for having breathed in the dust of their bodies, along with the dust of their desks, their computers, the dust of Mr. Beyea’s wheelchair, the dust of the building in which they worked, and are dying from just plain grief.

Why don’t we hate them?

Do I hate them—the terrorists who murdered Misters Zelmanowitz and Beyea? No, not most of the time. Nor do I hate their liked-minded living brethren. Do I fear them? Most certainly not, but that’s merely because I learned to not fear that which can kill the body—also because I knew a long time ago that the goal of any terrorist is to instill fear. Can’t give them that particular victory.

But why shouldn’t I hate those who would murder such seemingly innocuous, harmless and loving men like Zelmanowitz and Beyea? Because it does nothing for either me or those two men; I’m here and they’re bodies are now an integral part of New York City (along with those of hundreds of others who were never found in the wreckage of the Twin Towers).

So why does the story of these two formerly living men fill me with so much anger?

Because they were simply living well and they should have been left alone to go on living the same way. That they died well and honorably—like so many others on that day—is uplifting in a way, but guess what? I would have preferred that they had gone on living anonymously rather than to have become one of the footnotes in many a 9/11 post like this one.

And that’s why I hate the terrorists. Sometimes. Okay, often.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

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