Friday, May 06, 2011
9/11 memorials, such as the one yesterday, serve a clear, odious purpose: to establish a hierarchy of death whereby American ones as a result of Islamic fundamentalist violence are elevated to a quasi-religious, saint-like status, while the deaths of others around the world as a consequence of subsequent US military violence are either repressed, justified as a legitimate response to 9/11 or dismissed as the inevitable result of warfare.
No one should participate in them absent an acknowledgement of all of the victims of such violence, and the perpetrators of it. Without such an acknowledgement, they are yet another instance of the persistence of the American narrative of victimization that elites have manipulated since the country's inception to their benefit, especially in regard to Native Americans and African Americans, people characterized historically by whites with the same moral deficiencies that many Americans currently ascribe to Arabs and Muslims. To the extent that there were members of families of 9/11 victims that refused to participate in the ceremony with the President yesterday, they deserve our profound respect, regardless of their motivation, as they declined to facilitate the jingoism interwoven into it.