Enough about September 11.
Not for those who lost loved ones that day. Not for those who suffered serious trauma and need to mark the anniversary for emotional and spiritual reasons. That's a personal matter.
But for the US. For the world. Enough already.
On September 11, 2001, the people of the United States got a small taste of the terror and pain that so much of the world has lived with for so long, and continues to live with. The people of the United States got a small sample of what their own country has done to dozens of nation-states over decades and centuries of its history. That includes "its own people," as some are so fond of saying.
There are, and may always be, very real and unanswered questions about why the several official stories of what happened that day make absolutely no sense. (If you think "conspiracy theorists" are nuts, you should hear what the government says!) If you are interested in my thoughts and feelings about that, these posts might be a good start: part one, part two, part three, part four. See comments in those posts for more links. The search for truth should never end.
But as some kind of iconic day of remembrance, some touchstone of world history, September 11 is a teardrop in an ocean.
September 11, 2001 was one day. About 3,000 people were killed.
The United States invaded Iraq seven years ago. About 100,000 Iraqis and 4,700 occupying troops have been killed.
And that's just Iraq. How about this list?
As a New Yorker, I lived through September 11 in a way many Americans did not. Not the way people working in the World Trade Center that day did, or the people on the planes. Not the firefighters and their families. Not my co-worker whose uncle was a window-washer, working the moment the plane hit. Or the classmate of my niece who left for school that sunny morning and never saw her parents again. Despite my good fortune, the memory of the event feels deep and personal to me. I understand the gravity of the day; I witnessed the aftermath.
But what business do I have publicly commemorating the day, nine years later? And even more so, what business do I have expecting the rest of the world to do so?
On September 11, 2001 the people of the United States learned that war isn't only something that happens in faraway places. Then their government - predictably, inevitably - used that lesson as an excuse to advance a police state at home, and conquest and occupation abroad.
It is a symbol of United States arrogance and Americentrism that the US government, the media and so many Americans continue to mark the day.
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