Reflecting 6 Years Later
It is hard to believe how much in our world has changed since the events of September 11th. I do not intend this post to paint a rosy picture of the world before the towers fell, only to mark how that day exacerbated the oppression and violence in our world by playing to our fears and prejudices. Bush and Bin Laden have created a world in their image though the violence they met out on our global community. They have created a world where we see a ‘culture clash’ instead of a chance to learn one another. They have created a world where our fears of ‘an imperialist west’ or ‘a terrorist threat’ command us to abdicate our rights and responsibilities as human beings. They created a world where the threat of nuclear destruction is at its highest levels ever.
On this fateful and devastating anniversary I ask that we come together to mourn the millions lost since to violence: in Afghanistan, England, Guantanamo, India, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Palestine, Spain, Sudan, United States & countless other locations.
- Afghanistan: After 9/11 the destruction of this country quelled Taliban power briefly while leaving millions without homes, jobs, or hope. They as a nation are still struggling with abject poverty, mounting violence, corruption, inequality, and oppression.
- England: On July 7th London suffered a calculated attack to their transit system 52 people were killed and over 700 were injured. The horrors of that day were followed up by a less deadly attempt to destroy the Glasgow airport on June 30th, 2007.
- Guantanamo: The camp has drawn strong criticism for its extrajudicial detention of captives and the possibility that captives held there were subjected to abusive interrogation techniques that constitute torture. The detainees held by the United States were classified as “enemy combatants” by executive order and without due process.
- India: On July 11, 2006 at least 200 people were killed when a train was bombed in an attack.
- Iraq: Too many deaths to count. Too much destruction to fathom. Too many soldiers used, abused, raped, manipulated, and martyred without one ounce of remorse from their Commander and Chief. Too many refugees scattered around the world. It makes me sick so I want you to check out this link for a realistic picture of the losses in Iraq.
- Israel & Lebanon: In July of 2006 Israel and Lebanon engaged in a deadly war. The violence began when Hezbollah forces crossed into Israel, killing three soldiers and abducting two others. After that cross-border raid, five more Israeli soldiers were killed, as well as two Israeli civilians. Two Lebanese soldiers and 45 Lebanese civilians were killed. Rocket fire to Israel was confined to the Haifa region while the air strikes on Lebanon destroyed the capital city of Beirut.
- Pakistan: On March 2, 2006 a car bomb killed 4 and injured 52 outside the Karachi Marriott – yards away from the U.S. consulate. In June 2002 a car bombing attack left 14 people dead, all Pakistanis outside the building, which lies in an upscale district of the sprawling city’s downtown.
- Palestine: Palestine, since 9/11, has deteriorated into wounded nation broken by rocket fire from Israel and sickened with civil war between 2 political parties. The violence mounts daily with civilians suffering the most.
- Spain: The 2004 train bombing in Madrid killed 191 people and wounded 2,050.
- Sudan: The genocide continues unabated while the world watches. Internationally, states make decisions about foreign priorities not based on resources but politics. The genocide continues because Africa is not priority in the war on terror.
- United States: On September 11, 2001 Al Qaeda orchestrated the most devastating attack on U.S. soil since Pearl Harbor. There were 2,974 fatalities, not including the 19 hijackers: 246 on the four planes (no one on board any of the hijacked aircraft survived), 2,603 in New York City in the towers and on the ground, and 125 at the Pentagon. Among the fatalities were 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters, 23 New York City Police Department officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers. An additional 24 people remain listed as missing.
On this, the day as we recall the horrors of violence in our borders let us not forget the violence meted out since. We have a choice in this. We must learn to address violence with justice or we will always be fighting the terror campaigns raged by state and non-state actors. We must invest in humanity by rebuilding New Orleans, by investing in healthcare, by stopping atrocity with diplomacy. We have a choice; to unquestioningly follow our leaders to a new war with Iran or to say NO before the war starts. It is beyond time to take our democracy back and make progressive priorities American policy. Only peace and justice can end terror.