Thursday, September 11, 2008
Celebrating the September 11, 2001 Anniversary
Yet when I look at the titles of the many programs on TV today commemorating the events, I'm astonished at the static nature of the descriptions. It's like the USA has never moved beyond the events at all. Seven years later, we are still recounting the details of that day in 2001. Images of chaos, smoke, fire, ash and staggering people. The second plane hitting. The Pennsylvania field. The Pentagon strike site smoldering.
Today, the media treat it like it is surgically isolated from events before and after, a tragedy without cause and effect. For example, the use of those events as a major justification for the 2003 Iraq invasion by the US and subsequent occupation. This despite there being no evidence that I'm aware of that there was any connection whatsoever.
Fear of enemies has always been a prime rationale for government theft of civil liberties. "We're protecting you! Bad people are out there! Be afraid! Be resolute! Be angrily patriotic! These colors don't run!"
Some of the worst aspects of xenophobia, racism, and blind chauvinism bloom unquestioned when the 9/11 banner is waved. This is why the event continues to be de-contextualized, removed from the continuum of historic events and held as an encapsulated example. This way it remains a red flag to the bull of the collective US citizenry, inflaming unresolved trauma and inciting a blind urge for retribution. We are held hostage to the memory and misdirected to blame the wrong people over and over. This is the way power brokers and politicians manipulate us.
A responsible media wouldn't just replay these events in more and more detail every year. But it does. Does a new voiceover narration make the events different or improve our understanding? Do we learn anything new? Or are we doomed to be consistently reactive, our kneejerk responses as predictable as the ticking clock?
At some point, mourning must end. These events can't be used to justify even worse atrocities on the part of the USA. That is an unacceptable and immoral course of action.
Listening to: Take Me to the River by Talking Heads