A September 11 Parable
William M. Farmer
16 November 2001

There were once two sister cats named Andrea and Camille. They and their families lived very prosperously on a farm. Andrea and her family lived in the farmyard and protected the farm from the many dangers that threatened it. Camille and her family, who were declawed, lived a quieter life inside the farmhouse.

One day a horrible, terrible, awful thing happened. A pack of cat-hating weasels from a far-off region entered the farmyard and killed many of Andrea's children. Greatly horrified, Camille uttered, "Oh, dearest Andrea, I am so very sorry for your great loss."

Andrea replied, "Thank you, Camille. Yes, it is indeed a great loss, but unless serious measures are taken, the weasels will come back and do us possibly greater harm. Therefore, I must hunt these weasels down and kill them."

Camille, who often spoke to her sister in a righteous way, exclaimed, "Oh, sister, you know as well as I do that violence will only engender more violence. The weasels must have some justification for their action. Find out what it is, and negotiate a settlement with them."

Andrea was sorely tempted to turn away from Camille without a word, but instead she angrily replied, "Dear sister, it is easy for you to preach nonviolence when your babies are safe and unharmed in the big farmhouse. Sister, it is easy for you to argue for peace while my family protects the farm from attack. And, sister, it is easy for you to advocate nonmilitancy, when you have no claws."

The next day, Andrea began the arduous task of hunting down the weasels. While she was gone, three young rapacious weasels broke into the farmhouse and went after Camille's little kittens. Unable to help, in a total state of shock, Camille screamed out, "Why do you attack us? We are different from the farmyard cats!"

The first two weasels ignored her and savagely ate their fill, but the third weasel looked up and said, "Sweet Camille, you surprise me, for the whole world knows that you and Andrea are both cats."

A moment later, the sated weasels were done with their deed. They left quickly and on the way out the talkative third weasel warned, "Camille, we would like to come again sometime when Andrea is out hunting with her family." Filled with despair, Camille sat down and stared at her disarmed paws.