Today marks three years since the September 11th attacks.
In many ways it feels as if a lifetime has passed since that day. There have been two wars fought. The USA PATRIOT Act has infringed (?) on our freedoms. We are in the middle of a contentious presidential election. Three times as many Americans, English, Afghanis, Iraqis, and others have died since. The plans have been announced for the rebuilding of the Twin Towers.
Yet, whenever I see footage of the Twin Towers falling, it still hits me like the very first time. We’ve lived with the knowledge of these painful, unnecessary deaths for more than a thousand days, yet it still makes no sense, and hopefully never will. This morning, they are reading the names of each of those killed in the towers, the Pentagon, and the four downed airlines. I can’t watch.
September 11 has been officially dubbed as “Patriot Day” in the United States.
I don’t know about you, but patriotism, and that differencing of others based on really meaningless classifications (religion, sexuality, nationality) is exactly the reason why someone would hate so much they’d be willing to kill others, and themselves.
The idiots who strap bombs to little children and blow up busses in Tel Aviv are “patriots.”
The idiots who want to Nuke the Middle East and “turn it to glass” are “patriots.”
The 19 hijackers were “patriots.”
The hundreds of police, firemen, and emergency officers who rushed into the Towers were not patriots.
They were individuals doing whatever they could to help others. They weren’t Americans helping Americans; they were people helping people.
The 2,749 who died in the Twin Towers were not patriots either.
They were just innocent victims, people going about their lives. The only injustices they’d been involved in were the same ones we all commit: forgetting to call their mom, cutting off someone in traffic, taking a penny, but not leaving a penny. A lot of them weren’t even Americans, and had nothing more in common with each other than dieing together as 110 floors collapsed in upon themselves.
Not that anyone reading this has any say in the matter, but for me September 11th will never be “Patriot Day.” This day shouldn’t be about patriotism. It should be about cherishing innocence, and doing all we can to protect it. There is no way to end hatred, but today of all days, shouldn’t become another cause of it. Hate if you have to. Kill if it is absolutely necessary. Today, for me, will always be “Innocence Day,” in remembrance of those innocent victims who lost their life on September 11th 2001 and every day since. Today should be about preventing the loss of more innocent lives, and maybe trying to approach innocence ourselves.
Amen. Let me just say that it is sickening the way media steer clear of calling the people who perpetrate these atrocities what they are: Islamic terrorists. Instead they are generic "militants" or "insurgents" or "radicals" or best of all (from the Pakistani Times) activists (referring to the subhuman thugs who laid siege to that school in Russia.) Also, the way the perps are included in the death toll along with their victims. That is bad.
by anna at September 11, 2004 11:37 AM
Fuckin' right Mikey... Glad to see you return to your old form... This is what BadSam is all about to me. The ability to take issues that effect us all and put the unique personal spin on it, and no one does it better than MG the master....
by Jerry Wilson at September 11, 2004 1:55 PM
I didn't even watch TV on the 11th. Seeing all of that happen the first time was enough for me. I will never forget it but that doesn't mean I want to see a play by play in HDTV. It does seem like a hundred years since it happened though.
by Ezy at September 13, 2004 9:01 AM
That was an interesting take - citing the victims as the result and the cause of patriotism.
By the way, "Three times as many [...] have died since..." I'd love to know what the real human toll is. Often only the civilians, and the army of the "good guys" are counted. But when a president decides to go to war (especially through pre-emptive attack), I want to know the death toll on the Iraqi army as well. I'm not sure I believe Tommy "We don't do body counts" Franks. I want to know the entire human toll.
by chris at September 13, 2004 5:48 PM
Jerry: Yeah, I am pretty great.
Chris: Maybe I'm misreading.. oh, right, I was misreading. You are right, I do believe that both September 11 and and the resulting war on terror are both caused by patriotism, and that kind of "us" v. "them" thinking. It still, and hopefully always will, boggles my mind that many of the hijackers had lived in America for years, yet could still display the kind of irrational hatred to fly buildings into people. It is the same way it boggles my mind that people here have used 9/11 as an excuse to turn on any of their own neighbors who happen to look middle eastern. Patriotism at the most ideological level is about celebration of a "sameness" that doesn't really mean anything, which naturally brings about a hostility towards anyone that doesn't share that faux-sameness.
I'm awfully lucky to have been born in the United States, but I don't think that it says anything about me personally. Patriotism, unfortunately, fuses the benefits of a place and society with the characteristics of it's individual citizens. I may hate Iraq, but you sit an Iraqi person in front of me and I'd likely not have a bad thing to say about them. That distinction between country as an entity and country as a group of individuals is often ignored.
by mg at September 13, 2004 7:25 PM
Fly buildings into people?
by anna at September 14, 2004 7:43 AM
Yea Anna, I read on Al Jazeera that terrorists are now going to fly buildings into people. With current security measures in place, the buildings are much easier to hijack.
by Ezy at September 14, 2004 9:53 AM