Remembering 9/11

Nicholas Kristof recommends that we work to take the focus off destructive hatred and try instead to follow the lead of two 9/11 widows who turned to help women in Afghanistan. 

This weekend, a Jewish woman [Susan Retik] who lost her husband in the 9/11 attacks is planning to speak at a mosque in Boston. She will be trying to recruit members of the mosque to join her battle against poverty and illiteracy in Afghanistan.

In the shattering aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, Ms. Retik bonded with another woman, Patti Quigley … Devastated themselves, they realized that there were more than half a million widows in Afghanistan — and then, with war, there would be even more. Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley also saw that Afghan widows could be a stabilizing force in that country.

So at a time when the American government reacted to the horror of 9/11 mostly with missiles and bombs, detentions and waterboardings, Ms. Retik and Ms. Quigley turned to education and poverty-alleviation projects — in the very country that had incubated a plot that had pulverized their lives.

His column has links to organizations worth having a look at, even if one can only give a bit of money.    There is a list of suggestions in a toolkit at “Beyond 9/11,” which Retik and Quidgley founded.  Also at “Beyond 9/11” you can contribute to income generating programs for femal-headed households in Afghanistan. And here is an organization helping women in constructive ways, which also sells great looking tribal rugs.  And there’s more.