I am posting this piece from last year again, because it is every bit as resonant to me now as it was then. Trigger warning: photos of 9/11 follow.
I woke up feeling gutted, the same feeling I have every year on 9/11. Images of that day circle round me. I remember walking home to Brooklyn from 33rd and 3rd in Manhattan. A great Diaspora of people on the Manhattan Bridge, there was no news. Do you have news? we’d ask each other. Cell phones were dead and the pay phones and landlines didn’t work. I remember standing on the promenade and watching the towers burn, my neighborhood covered in the ash of the dead. I remember being terrified of another bombing, as terrified as I was of the United States’ response. Bush was president; we had cowboys in Washington; frat boys.
“You’re either for us or against us,” Bush said. Congress voted for pre-emptive war and the United States attacked a country that had absolutely nothing to do with the bombing of the World Trade Center. The anti-war movement in this country was not covered and the New York Times and ALL the rest of the media WILLINGLY COLLUDED. Yellow cake anyone? The anti-pre-emptive war march in New York stretched from Grand Central up through the East 70’s. Bloomberg said we couldn’t march, we marched anyway, and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said there were no more than 100,000 people present. A bold faced lie, like the yellow cake. Shock and awe was a go.
P.R. sold that war and the country bought it. Us versus them was a go. France won’t support us— we’re dropping the French in fries. I remember lying on the floor of my apartment, listening to WBAI, and an Irish reporter in Bagdad, at the beginning of shock and awe. He was reporting on the advancing troops, you could hear the bombs going off in the background, and in my dreams I heard the children screaming, the mothers crying, and once again the innocent were victims of government’s vicious power games. The innocent are always the victims of government's vicious power games.
Why was Bush purposely destabilizing the Middle East? I’d ask anyone who’d listen. What was the political point? The point was profit: it was all about greed. An entire country was completely destroyed because of greed and it is that greed that became the soil and seed for ISIL and the starving refugees fleeing their homelands. Penned like animals, food is being thrown at them, and dead children are washing up on the beach. Greed did this; greed — supported, bought, and paid for — by immoral men and women elected on lies, by lies, for lies, serving profit. And as ever I wonder why so many people have a hard time wrapping their heads around the reality of this evil? Is it because they feel too powerless to change it? Is it because they're afraid of losing the crumbs they have? Is it because it's just so damn overwhelming and it's easier to blame the other?
After the bombing of the World Trade Center a wise leader would have said, we need to come together to stop terrorism; no one should have to experience what we experienced. But you can’t have terrorism without poverty; poverty and its flip side, oppression, breeds terrorism. But, to do away with poverty you’d have to examine and change the economic system that gave rise to it. Money is an insulating cushion, money is power in this culture, and money — liberal and conservative — protects its own. Bombing the World Trade Center was not an attack on our freedom and our way of life. It was an attack on the economic policies of the United States of America. They almost killed Susan Sontag for writing about the United State's responsibility in the creation of 9/11. Granted her timing was a bit tone deaf, which I have found to be fairly typical of the literary intelligentsia.
Pictures are powerful. They say this happened, they are our record. These photos honor the humanity of the first responders; these photos capture the horror of the day; these photos capture, for me, the feelings of the victims and the first responders. As I post these photos I cry for the lives lost, the acts of heroism I witnessed, and the intense outpouring of humanity I experienced. If they trigger your fires of hate and you feel the need to act out and blame others, please seek professional help. I will no doubt hear from someone telling me to move on, to get over it, to which I respond: Are you so dumb that you can't recognize the interconnectedness of all things? The present is rooted in the past and the future is rooted in the present. If we would change the future we must look to the past.
Some gave it all.
Live loud, love fierce, and suffer no fools. Katherine Manaan MAWT
Lefty, feminist, progressive, pro-choice, pro-humanity, pro-environment, anti-corporation, resister.....