An unsympathetic American
By Rev Rahelio Soleil
This week marks the fifth anniversary of 9/11 and as the emotive media suggests, I am to feel something for the morbid anniversary of Al-Qaeda attacks in New York.
For days there have been remembrance shows on Discovery, A&E, and the stupid media too. It's a holiday in reverse. Instead of taking time out to celebrate the labor of Americans or some great man's life memorialized with beer and time off of work, I'm simply asked to remember and feel something about 3,000 people who perished five years ago.
Truth be told, I feel nothing. I don't get misty when I think about planes crashing into the Twin Towers. It isn't personal for me and I did not stop today for a moment of silence to honor the dishonorable. I watch the scant conviction play itself out in the words and speeches, and I know the courteous thing to do is participate in the facade of shared loss, but I'm not partial to phoney emotion.
Yes, I am willing to say the unpopular thing: September 11th is just another day in which nothing extraordinarily superhuman happened. Nothing more freakish than normal was recorded on that day, nothing of important anyway. Had this truly been the worst thing ever, I doubt our President would have punctuated the circumstances with a command to "go shopping."
This quite possibly could be the most damning thing to say in public. We don't think much about the new political correctness that has been erected in place of the old, more humanitarian PC. The old PC was aimed at making society mannerable for all individuals. It was an attempt to foster an environment that did no harm to individuals based upon their differences.
The new PC is solely a device of controlling language so that nothing left of center ever challenges the right. Victims of the new PC include the Dixie Chicks, Maggie Gyllenhaal, gays, and American Muslims.
In post 9/11 America the chill upon intellectual freedom has frozen out all ideas that war is bad, Israel is not always right, Muslims seek peace, Bush is not God, and America often instigates the hatred of other countries.
A law enforcement officer reacts after the first tower of the World Trade Center falls. Victims from the attack on the World Trade Center -- many suffering from extensive burns -- began arriving at hospitals in New York City about an hour after two planes slammed into the twin towers, witnesses said. Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters
To utter the truth in a new PC environment is to invite the kind of invective intended to completely debase and destroy.
3,000 Americans died in the greatest terrorist attack on American soil in history. Probably more than that number died, but we're not sure because not everyone counts in our country. Some people do not matter enough to register a statistic. Still, that's a lot of people who died and I should show the respect to honor their lives in my words.
If we can agree that human life is sacred and that large numbers of people dying under such terrible circumstances is bad, then we must agree that
The number is arbitrary; 9/11. It creates a need to judge it against other numbers, other dates. How about 8/21 and 800,000. The first number is the date documents were released showing America was aware of genocide in Rwanda and that President Bill Clinton's people found a way to ignore it; the second number tallies the dead in that occurrence.
How about 1915 and 1923? That is the date range during which Turkey murdered anywhere between 300,000 and 1 million Armenians. 10/20/00 is the date it was reported that President Clinton tried to quash the American House from passing a resolution calling it genocide.
Another arbitrary date is 4/24/02. That is the day Gary Rendsburg wrote a letter to the New York Times asking why there was no outrage about the 2 million people who had died during Sudan's 18 year civil war.
How about today, 9/11/06? Today we know of things that should make Americans emotional:
Every year we add to our knowledge of the trafficking phenomenon. In the 2004 Report, we used U.S. Government data that disaggregated transnational trafficking in persons by age and gender for the first time. This data shows that, of the estimated 600,000 to 800,000 men, women, and children trafficked across international borders each year, approximately 80 percent are women and girls, and up to 50 percent are minors. The data also demonstrated that the majority of transnational victims were trafficked into commercial sexual exploitation. With a focus on transnational trafficking in persons, however, these numbers do not include millions of victims around the world who are trafficked within their own national borders." -U.S. Dept. of State.
or, why don't we take a moment of silence for this:
"The International Labour Organization (ILO) has estimated that 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen work in developing countries—at least 120 million on a full time basis. Sixty-one percent of these are in Asia, 32 percent in Africa, and 7 percent in Latin America. Most working children in rural areas are found in agriculture; many children work as domestics; urban children work in trade and services, with fewer in manufacturing and construction." -Human Rights Watch
Excuse me if I can't write beautiful prose today about the pluck of the American spirit during trying times. I could lavish you with the tales of firefighters who climbed an hour worth of stairs with 60 pounds of gear out of a sense of duty; or police officers that risked their lives to pull citizens to safety; or people of all colors and races standing together, crying, hugging and mourning as one.
Were I inclined to participate in the new PC I might pull Norman Rockwell paint colors from my butt and make the seen prettier than the intelligence our President used to make 9/11 a rally for neo-con power grabbing. However, I'm not that inclined.
The millions who perish or suffer in the normal course of us feeding ourselves into fatness, those are the people who deserve a day with our attention, our emotion, and our action. The ravished women of Sudan, the sold girls in India, the child soldiers and missing men of places where colonialism left deadly vacuums.
Those are my 9/11. They exist under the old PC, the one that was willing to express freely the consequences of idolizing the powerful at the detriment of the vulnerable.
I wish you luck with your remembrance today and your sharing of pictures depicting smoke and fire, shattered glass and running people. It was a sad day in New York.
But, if I'm being absolutely honest, if Ann Coulter can be so crass as to call four women made widows by that day "harpies," surely I can point out that 3,000 is not that many dead. Especially considering the amount of deaths we have caused or allowed internationally.
Now, go tell Toby Keith and the nation of retards he represents to write a song about that.
Rev Rahelio Soleil is a commentator on contemporary American life and politics. He blogs at American Hot Sausage.
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