Wed, Sep. 11th, 2013, 09:43 am It's the anniversary of That Day.
Twelve years ago, twenty men decided to take the lives of several thousand people in a most attention-getting way.
Our world has been fucked up ever since, and it's not getting any less fucked up the more we continue to encourage fear, bigotry, violence, and greed.
I don't think things are going to improve until we remember that our first priority as a species is... the preservation of ourselves as a species. Helping each other, loving each other, embracing the differences that make us unique, celebrating the commonalities that make us one.
Today is not a day to keep the flame of vengeance alive.
The world was fucked up before that day. The only thing changed is that it finally hit home. The events of that day didn't happen in a vacuum. There were warning signs going all the way back to the 80s. We ignored them because "it can't happen here, this is 'MERICA".
In some ways things are improving. Religious fundamentalism is going down and those who are a part of it are desperately clinging to their power and trying to rally their troops in a last-ditch effort to stay important. As Charlie Chaplin said in one of the greatest movie speeches ever, "For as long as men die, liberty will never perish." We are seeing more acceptance of homosexuals and we are drawing attention to the flaws of sexism and racism in our groups that we thought were all-inclusive and working to fix them.
It's not going to be easy. It's not going to be quick. But it is going to happen if we work on it. We will keep the the flame of hope alive if we feed it with deeds.
I remember when the attacks happened twelve years ago. I remember watching the television in utter shock and silence when it happened. I also remember the aftermath when the nation came together like never before to lift each other up, and to reach out to the people of New York in way I hadn't seen at any point in my life.
I was going to N.I.T (which is now Evergreen Institute) at the time, trying to learn their I.T. program. (BTW it was crap) I remember taking some heat at the time from a couple of the other people going because I thought that personal forgiveness of the people that had been behind it was better than hanging on to anger and hatred. They thought I was weak, or somehow dishonoring the fallen. I tried to explain that I wanted people wanted brought to justice, I just didn't hate anyone and that I wasn't going to hang on to that anger, because I knew where that could lead.
I say this because I agree with you Tom. Today is a day that, while we should remember and pay homage to the fallen, we should also remember that there were people who inspired hope. There are countless stories that day of people who risked their own lives to save another person, or gave up their life to get someone else to safety. Those are acts of love. Real love. Greater love hath no man than he who gives his life for his brother. We have to remember that and not let the voices that cry out for revenge be the only ones heard.
Before the attack, I could see the skyline of lower Manhattan from my upstairs window. Afterwards, I could see, and sometimes even smell, the smoke as the debris continued to smolder. The county where I live lost more of its residents that any other county in New Jersey.
There are three masjids/mosques in the surrounding area. I called each of them to see whether they could use a volunteer to escort local Muslims safely to their places of worship. All three of them already had more volunteers than they could use. That was hugely inspiring to me.
And, after the initial shock wore off, I saw New York City's true nature reassert itself: "Ayy! Don't pull that kinda shit on us! Ya don't fuck wit' Noo Yawk!" What "terrorists" want is, literally, to terrify people; if people refuse to let fear ruin and run their lives, the terrorists have failed to accomplish their intent. And now, when I look out of my upstairs window, I see the new tower, almost complete, rising defiantly above the skyline, telling the world that "ya don't fuck wit' Noo Yawk", indeed. (I can't wait to go up there... although that's mostly because I love tall buildings in general...)
Forty years ago today another disaster hit - this one caused by us.
Salvador Allende, the democratically-elected president of Chile, was overthrown in a CIA- and Kissinger-backed military coup (because he was a SOSHULIST), and General Auguste Pinochet began his reign of terror, torture, rape, and mass murder that "disappeared" those who opposed him (by talking, or writing songs like Victor Jara, or printing newspapers). Windowless rooms, mass graves, an entire missing generation - all because Pinochet promised his American buddies that he was anti-Communist unlike Allende.
Sadly, like too many perpetrators of nationwide horrors and unlike thousands of innocents, Pinochet died of old age and infirmity, a free man.
One of his former torture victims is the current President of Chile.
So when Americans who don't know their own history staggered around after the other 9/11 moaning "Whyyyy? Whyyyy do they haaaate ussss?" ... Some of us didn't say a thing. But we knew why they hated us.
Yep, how many people are willing to acknowledge St.Ronald Reagan gave taxpayer funds to organizations like al Queda? The USA was founded to be a beacon of hope to the world and what do we do? Fight wars of ideology and back evil men because it suits our political interests.
Yet it's still better than dozens if not hundreds of other governments out there.