On Friday, Feb. 26, 1993, I was sitting at my desk in the Washington congressional office of my boss, Central Brooklyn, NY representative Major R. Owens. My office partner, Braden, and I noticed we were unable to reach our New York office by phone. Eventually we heard "a fire" (we thought minor) had broken out at the World Trade Center. We then learned smoke from the WTC could be seen from the office in Brooklyn.
Another Friday, this time August 1998. In Croatia, my friend and work colleague Melinda and I arrive for a few well-deserved days on an island in the Jadranska Mora - the Adriatic. We turn on the t.v. as we walk into the hotel room and become witnesses to bombings in Dar es Salaam and Nairobi. Somewhere inside I feel that for me there is more to this news, but I don't know what it could be. Ten days later I hear from Andrea in Washington that our friend and mutual colleague Julian Bartley, U.S. consul general at the embassy in Nairobi, has been killed, along with his 20 year old son "Jay" - Julian, Jr. Many, many Kenyans and other innocent people are killed and injured. Julian - a Black American diplomat - and his son are the two Americans who die who are from the same family.
Julian, Sr. and I had met and had a working lunch while he was on loan on the staff of another member of Congress.
Three years on from August 1998 - barely a month after September 11 - our family relocated to Nairobi. There I learn that one of my new friends was Julian's neighbour. Her sons attended school with Jay.
We will continue to do our best to fear no evil; no matter where it comes from, no matter the "logic" claimed by those responsible, regardless of which side.
From the Quran (39:53): "O my servants who exceeded the limits, never despair of God's Mercy. For God forgives all sins. God is the forgiver, most merciful." God forgives. So can we.