'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Friday, August 26, 2011

Celebrate Perpetual War on 9/11 (Part 1) 

UPDATE: In case you've forgotten, the post-9/11 reaction:

At a community meeting Saturday in Mountain View, civil rights leaders and local residents who described being targeted expressed fear that upcoming events could trigger another flare-up of backlash attacks.

They spoke from experience -- schoolchildren taunted for wearing religious head scarves, workers discriminated against because of beards and turbans. And rights advocates warned that more incidents could soon be added to the growing tallies of post 9/11 hate crimes.

Sarah O'Neal, a Muslim who attends Wilcox High School in Santa Clara, told the packed audience in a senior center auditorium that she'd been called towel head. Fellow students often asked if she had relatives in al-Qaida. And once she was lured by a schoolmate into the bathroom, where Sarah O'Neal is a terrorist was written in graffiti on the wall.

INITIAL POST: By the end of the day on September 11, 2011, there will be little doubt that the tenth anniversary of 9/11 will have served the purpose of celebrating perpetual war in North Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia. Consider, for example, this event in Sacramento:

This year marks the 10 year anniversary of 9/11. Come and join us in remembering not only the nearly 3000 Americans who did not return home to their families after the tragedy that occurred on September 11, 2001, but also those members of our Armed Forces who have given their lives defending our country. In doing so, you will be honoring those who were lost while helping to establish a support system for the families of local public servants, should they make the ultimate sacrifice.

In Downtown Sacramento, the 9/11 Memorial 5K Run/Walk will take place to give those who vowed to Never Forget the opportunity to exercise that vow. The 5K will start at 9:11 on 9/11, and wind through Downtown Sacramento. At the finish of the 5K, American flags will be handed to runners as they cross the line. Each flag will represent an American who lost their life on 9/11/2001. Runners will carry the flag they are given and will place it in the grass in the Tribute in the Park. Each American Flag will be placed next to a name plate engraved with the name of an American who did not return home. When the 9/11 5K Memorial Run/Walk is complete, nearly 3000 flags will stand united in the grass as a tribute to those that were lost.

Needless to say, there is something really offensive about this. To presume that the victims of 9/11 would have wanted to be remembered by reference to US militarism is, at best, presumptuous, especially when you realize that over 500 of the estimated 2700 victims were born outside the US.

Furthermore, as explained in a 2006 La Oferta article, an unknown number of undocumented people died in the attacks, and, naturally, they go unacknowledged during the Sacramento event:

Like Nora Elsa Molinar, scores of Hispanic families mourn family members thought to have died in the World Trade Center attacks five years ago Monday, but of whom no record remains because they were undocumented

Although Molinar lives in Oaxaca, Mexico, and has never been in New York, the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001 changed her life forever, as happened to thousands who suffered the same kind of loss.

Every Friday for six years Nora would receive a call from her son Fernando, but for the last five years she has heard nothing of him.

Fernando, who emigrated to New York when he was 15, worked as a delivery boy for a pizzeria near the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks that cost the lives of 2,749 people.

Nonetheless, he is not on any list of victims or missing persons, EFE was told by Joel Magallan, director of the Tepeyac organization that serves New York’s Mexican community.

Beyond this, there is also something offensive about the sanctification of the victims of 9/11, a sanctification that elevates them above the ongoing victims of US military attacks post-9/11. While the enormous numbers of deaths associated with the Iraqi conflict cannot be definitely calculated, even though we know that the number is exponentially greater than the number who died on 9/11, attacks that Iraqis had nothing to do with, of course, the US military continues to kill people on a nearly daily basis in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Libya. A sincerely motivated 9/11 event would acknowledge all of these deaths, as well as those killed in the past through American covert operations, such as Operation Condor, among others. A sincerely motivated 9/11 rememberance would emphasize all the victims of political violence, instead of transforming it into yet another rationalization of the military expansion of the American Empire.

And, finally, a historically honest 9/11 event would condemn the leadership of the US for its coldhearted exploitation of those who died, as CBS News reported a year after the attacks:

With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. – meaning Saddam Hussein – at same time. Not only UBL – the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden.

Now, nearly one year later, there is still very little evidence Iraq was involved in the Sept. 11 attacks. But if these notes are accurate, that didn't matter to Rumsfeld.

Go massive, the notes quote him as saying. Sweep it all up. Things related and not.

By the afternoon of September 11, 2001, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had already turned his attention away from the victims, and focused upon how he could exploit the tragedy to kill even more people. Not surprisingly, he'll be one of the attendees at the 9/11 anniversary in New York City.

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