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    Posted November 5, 2010 by
    ajbutler

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    Kin Fall Prey to 26/11 but She's All For Peace

     

    From India Today:

     

    Kia Scherr's story is as heart-tugging as it is inspiring. The 54-year-old American made headlines around the world two years ago, when she lost her husband Alan and 13-year-old daughter Naomi during the 26/11 terror strike on The Oberoi.

     

    26/11 attacks jolted the country

    For most people, an event as shattering as this would have meant the end of the world. But for Scherr it marked a beginning, as she turned her grief to positivity by starting a non-profit organisation, One Life Alliance, dedicated to spreading the message of peace around the world. Members of One Life Alliance - all US citizens who are survivors of 26/11 - will be in Mumbai for the second anniversary of the attacks.

     

    They are returning to India for the first time for a special memorial service to be held at The Oberoi, which was one of the sites where the terrorists had struck on that fateful night. For some survivors, the trip to Mumbai is doubly significant because they will get an opportunity to interact with US President Barack Obama at the Taj.

    Terror will be top of the mind during Obama's Mumbai visit because the President has opted to check in at the Taj Mahal Hotel in a show of solidarity with the victims - and the survivors. He will also issue a statement on terror and express his condolences. Scherr is now in Mumbai to spread the message of her non-profit organisation and open its first India office.

    "I am asked every day how I remain so calm. I don't. Being in India is intensely emotional, especially to be staying at The Oberoi, where my family was gunned down. But I wanted to be here as this is where they breathed their last," Scherr says.

    Her husband and daughter were dining at the Tiffin restaurant at The Oberoi when the terrorists attacked. The father-daughter duo was in India along with 16 others for a meditation retreat organised by the US-based Synchronicity Foundation.

    Members of Synchronicity, along with its founder, Master Charles, who was also in Mumbai at the time, will be in the city to spread the word about One Life. Charles, a disciple of Swami Paramahansa Muktananda, was trapped in a room in the hotel. As smoke filled the room, he had to break a window with a brass lamp and was finally rescued 48 hours later.

    Returning to The Oberoi won't be easy for him or for other Synchronicity members. Those coming include people from a 24-year-old woman to a 90-year-old man. But they say that two years on, they can look for healing and closure by returning where it all started. "One Life Alliance was born out of the ashes of the terror attacks," says Scherr.

    "We could have been angry and wanted revenge and that is a valid reaction. But we chose to move forward from the incident and create a positive impact. We and all our supporters from around the world have responded with love and prayers to this act. It is an effort to counter terrorism," Scherr adds.

    Speaking on their reaction to the war on terror, Scherr says: "We have to protect our people and, at the same time, work on development and education in countries that breed terror."

     

     

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