Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/11 fatigue

I was directed to a baseball blog through an Adsense click. I was attracted to it by its title, Born Into It, because I wanted to read a Red Sox blog by someone who had been born a Sox fan rather than one from that new crowd of Sox "fans" who bought their caps in 2004. The latter type are starting to become the most annoying thing about baseball. They show up in every town, know nothing about baseball but pretend to know everything, and get trashed at every game.

Anyway, my morning was changed by this blog because of a post about 9/11. I don't know why I read it, but I did, and I couldn't help but respond to this comment:
I read an article today about something called “9/11 fatigue,” about how the general public is getting “tired” of being reminded about what happened six years ago, and the commemorations of that day are getting “excessive, even annoying.”

I don’t know any people who really feel that way (although I read the occasional letter to the editor from someone so totally clueless echoing those sentiments), but if there was ever any widespread thinking along those lines, those people either need their heads examined, or a refresher course on exactly what happened on September 11, 2001.
Here is what I wrote:

Count me as one who has "9/11 fatigue."

Now, you can get all irate and call me a traitor or whatever name you choose to call me without even hearing what I have to say, as so many blind patriots do, or you can read the rest of this comment and try to understand it, which may help you understand why 9/11 fatigue exists.

It isn't that people are wanting to forget, as you claim. It's the fact that the day has been cheapened with faux sentiment, with the sale of gaudy 9/11 merchandise and people making a profit off it, with cheesy graphics and music on news broadcasts, and with excessive talking about it like it was the worst thing in the world to ever happen.

Newsflash: it isn't. World history has been tortured with far worse massacres. Just for modern examples, try the Holocaust. Try Rwanda. Try Sudan. 1.5 million died in the Armenian genocide. Pol Pot killed 2 million. 200,000 people died in Bosnia. So yeah, 9/11 was a terrible tragedy, but some of us "clueless" folks have the ability to put it into perspective.

Then there's the fact that more troops have died in this "War on Terror" than the number of people on 9/11. We are about to hit the 4000 mark, and you know what? That figure only counts the troops who have died IN Iraq or Afghanistan, not those who are transported back to Germany or the US and die there. And that's just the troops, not the Iraqi civilians, whose death toll has reached 12-15,000 by the lowest estimates.

People are tired of how this president used 9/11 as an excuse to go to war in Iraq and then botched the entire operation so we are less secure today than we were the day people decided to fly planes into buildings. Because of Iraq, London, Madrid, Istanbul, and Bali have all suffered terrible terrorist attacks - add another 500 people to the death toll on that.

Afghanistan, what used to be the base for Wahab terrorism, was paid lipservice while Bush took the opportunity to go into Iraq. His neocon buddies had written a white paper on invading Iraq a few years before he took office, so everyone knew they were going to go in. 9/11 afforded them a convenient excuse. So we go into Afghanistan, which was the right course of action, and instead of securing the country and ridding it of the Taliban, we chose to spend our resources chasing Saddam, and Afghanistan is currently a warzone again, with the Taliban retaking much of the country. But you never hear that in the mainstream media, do you?

There's the fact that we squandered all of the goodwill the globe had for us after it happened. The French paper "Le Monde" published the headline "Nous sommes tous des americaine" (We are all Americans) on September 12. On that day, the Arabs were with us, too, except for that tiny contingent of Palestinians in a tiny square that Fox News broadcast so it looked like all of the Arab world was celebrating. I tell you what - I was in a classroom learning Arabic for the U.S. Army on that day, and we had to watch the coverage on Aljazeera because we couldn't get stations in English. There was no celebrating on that station, only the same solemn sentiments that were shared across the globe. America used to be a country that was admired. Six years later, we are the most hated country in the world.

And then there's the thing where so many of the "Never forget" crowd can't be bothered to try to understand why this happened to us. They like to boil it down to the ignorant "they are full of hate" and "they are evil" excuses and dismiss any philosophical underpinnings. However, the basic ideology which led a rogue group of extremists to fly planes into buildings dates back to the 1920s. A guy by the name of Sayyed Qutb, who is attributed to the founding of Wahabism (the extreme rightwing form of Sunni Islam,), had some interesting things to say about Western excess after having lived in New York for awhile. In "The America I Have Seen," a personal account of his experiences in United States, Qutb expresses his admiration for the great economic and scientific achievements of America, yet he is deeply dismayed that such prosperity could exist in a society that remained "abysmally primitive in the world of the senses, feelings, and behavior." It wasn't until the oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood by Nasser that violence entered into the picture, and that was to fight back against government oppression. You have to go back to this philosophy before you can go forward in addressing the problem.

And you also have to realize that there's a huge difference between Sunni and Shia extremism. Or was, until U.S. policy made them one in the same. You can't fight both of them in the same way - the two want completely different things. But the Bush administration has made a mess of the world by blurring the line and thinking bombs are the solution to everything.

So no, we don't forget. And we don't dismiss the tragic loss of lives on that day. But we sure are tired of having it rammed down our throats with no movement towards trying to fix the problem at its roots so we never have to face another tragedy like this. Perhaps if you rid the commemorations of their excess, perhaps if the never forgetters would push the government to make better policy on this day instead of standing around at the site praying to a God who isn't going to make the problem go away, perhaps if the never forgetters would show a real interest in ending the problem once and for all, people wouldn't be tired of it. Doing something real to honor the fallen instead of putting a show would cure 9/11 fatigue. Change the world, don't stand around waiting for it to change on its own.

I apologize for writing this on a baseball blog, but you wrote the post on a baseball blog. I mean you no ill will in writing this, so I hope you did not take it that way, but I object to being called "clueless" and told that I need to "get my head examined" by someone who doesn't appear to understand the nature of the problem.

And please keep the Yankees down.

My comment is "awaiting moderation" on that site. I'm sure it won't be published, as the neverforgetters tend to censor opposing opinions and dissent, but we'll see.

No comments:

Post a Comment