, , , , , , ,

On this day of remembrance, I am grateful for healing.

Grateful for forgiveness, reconciliation. (Hadi Dadashian photo)

As a survivor of an alleged al Qaeda attack, I am grateful not just for my own healing but for the inner healing that comes with forgiveness and reconciliation.

On 9/11, I pray for the healing of all who are suffering; I pray for national healing of this still-wounded country.

I pray for victims of terrorism, their families and communities. I pray for the understanding that will help us understand the roots of terrorism, and move toward reconciliation and peace.

I am grateful for two women showing the world how it can be done.

Phyllis Rodriguez lost her son Greg in the World Trade Center attacks.

Aicha e-Wafi is the mother of Zacarias Moussaoui, the al-Qaeda member serving a life sentence for his involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

The women met almost 14 months after 9/11, in a private meeting. After three hours of tears and forgiveness, they emerged friends, determined to work for greater reconciliation.

At a TED session in Washington, D.C. in 2010, the two mothers spoke about their common bond of motherhood.

And grief.

In a nine-minute KarmaTube video, they explain their combined mission for understanding, tolerance and forgiveness. It is an extraordinary testament to the strength of those who suffer violence and seek reconciliation instead of retribution.

Phyllis Rodriguez said she and her husband Orlando never felt vengeful after learning 31-year-old Greg was killed in the 9/11 attacks. (It took 36 hours for them to learn of their son’s death.)

At the TED session, Phyllis Rodriguez held hands with Aicha el-Wafi, and said, “Our suffering is equal.”

Aicha el-Wafi, speaking in French, said that 9/11 events (her son faced the death penalty) spurred her to speak publicly against violence and against terrorism, especially to vulnerable Muslim youth — boys and girls.

“You have to be generous in your hearts,” she said, through a translator. “I hope some day we all live in peace.”

Two mothers, speaking through their own suffering, are determined to teach us all about healing, forgiveness and reconciliation. I am grateful for their courage.

With gratitude to DailyGood.org for sharing their remarkable friendship.