Susan Retik Is My Hero

Susan Retik is my hero. Susan Retik’s husband was on Flight 11 on September 11, 2001 – yes, the plane that hit one of the World Trade Towers. Instead of retreating into a world of hate-filled conspiracy, Retik started a charity in honor of her husband, a charity to help Afghan widows.

Beyond the 11th

Wait a minute! Instead of despising the country that had hatched the plot that killed her husband, Retik and another woman, Patti Quigley, whose husband had also died in the 9/11 attack, founded an organization, Beyond the 11th. This organization has now helped more than 1.000 Afghan widows to start tiny businesses. It is an effort to help some of the world’s neediest people fight back at the distrust and hatred that sustain the Taliban.

Susan Retik is an amazing woman, who has already won the recognition of the White House. Here’s her take on the issue of women and violence: “More jobs means less violence. It would be naive to think that we can change the country, but change has to start somewhere. If we can provide a skill for a woman so that she can provide for her family going forward, then that’s one person or five people who will have a roof over their head, food in their bellies and a chance for education.”

Today I’d like everyone to join me in supporting Susan’s organization, Beyond the 11th, to celebrate her bravery.

Victory For Hunamitariasm

Beyond the 11th began by buying small chicken flocks for widows so that they could sell eggs. Another project was to build a women’s center in the city of Bamian, where the women weave carpets. The center, overseen by an aid group call Arzu, also offers literacy classes and operates a bakery as a business.

As it happens, I have spent the last two days dealing with another tragedy: 54 families lost their homes as a result of a gas explosion less than 10 miles from the school where I teach. Today I learned what humanitarian concern is really about, as our community came together: families offering homes to those who are homeless; administrators offering books, tuition, and support to students who have lost everything; students who contributed $1,600 (in a school of 500) to help those who suffered in the fire.

Susan Retik offers a vision that can chip away at any pre-conceived model and help us all come together.  Despite her incredible loss, Retik wanted something  positive to come out of 9/11.

So inspirational and impactful have her efforts been, she was congratulated by President Obama himself this August, when he awarded her a Citizen’s Medal. Let’s all learn from her example!


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Jewels S.
Jewels S.5 years ago

I recently read three cups of tea and was really inspired. My mission is to help make the women here in America whole like these two women and imagine how the world will change. It would be like a peace army and the ripple effects would spread through out the world. This is not just a dream. It can happen and it will. Focus on good and it will come back to you. I have proved it in my life. Now test it and see if you can see the difference in your life. Start with random kindness and words. Smile at the clerk at the store. Support the women in your life. Tell those that in your life you love and appreciate them. Just you expressing those words to the women you love will help heal them. Namaste.

Monique Freericks

Susan Retik You are beautiful!

jane richmond
jane richmond5 years ago

A beautiful LADY with a bountiful heart.

Richard T.
Richard Temple5 years ago

@Madi - largely true of *some* women (apart from the bizarre idea of using dirty/rusty blades), but is it relevent to the thread?

Richard T.
Richard Temple5 years ago

@Natasha... there probably are 2 million more like her in the world - unfortunately 2 million is a drop in the ocean of humanity

Mary S.
Mary S.5 years ago

When will people learn that hate destroys, families, countries, ideas, etc. Bless people like these ladies who do more than stand up in front of crowds and preaches hate.

Kris B.
Kris B.5 years ago

What would the world be like if we all gave back compassion instead of hate? A better place.
These people are true leaders and great role models to follow. The book Three Cups of Tea is another example of compassion.

Walter G.
Walter g.5 years ago

They will be as soon as Afghanistan drags itself into the 16th century!

Danielle W.
Danielle W.5 years ago


wixian lee
wixian lee5 years ago

it's beyond my imagination. someone with a heart so full of love. thanks god we still have people like her in our cruel world.