Barack Obama on the 9/11 Attack. Hyde Park Herald, September 19, 2001, p. 4.
With the 12th anniversary of 9/11 today, several people are sharing this scanned page from the Sept. 19, 2001 issue of the Hyde Park Herald, featuring reactions to the attacks from several local politicians, including one State Sen. Barack Obama. Obama wrote:
The essence of this tragedy, it seems to me, derives from a fundamental absence of empathy on the part of the attackers: an inability to imagine, or connect with, the humanity and suffering of others. Such a failure of empathy, such numbness to the pain of a child or the desperation of a parent, is not innate nor, history tells us, is it unique to a particular culture, religion, or ethnicity. It may find expression in a particular brand of violence and may be channeled by particular demagogues or fanatics. Most often, though, it grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness and despair. . . . [W]e will have to devote far more attention to the monumental task of raising the hopes and prospects of embittered children across the globe – children not just in the Middle East, but also in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Eastern Europe and within our own shores.
The theme of terrorism as a symptom of poverty was a popular one from that era. George W. Bush also said that “We fight against poverty because hope is an answer to terror.” But the argument that poor and uneducated people are more likely to become terrorists is more controversial than you might think.