The horrific sight of burning buildings might have been a new vista for Americans on September 11, 2001, but it was certainly nothing new to the rest of the world. In fact the list of countries who have experienced that magnitude of violence at the hands of the U.S. is quite long.
But there’s nothing that I could say that Robert Jensen, UT-Austin Professor of Journalism, hasn’t said better. This text, republished at CommonDreams.org, is from a speech he gave at an anti-war rally on September 11, 2005, in Austin, Texas. I agree wholeheartedly.
There was nothing special about the pain of Americans on September 11, 2001. And there is no hope for this world until we in the United States — the most powerful and affluent country in the history of the world — understand that.
The deaths of 3,000 people in New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania mattered, but no more and no less than the thousands of other deaths in the world that day, and the day before, and the day before that. Or the deaths since, as the United States has used the grief of Americans to justify two illegal wars of aggression, wars to consolidate the power and control of the few, wars accepted by the many out of moral laziness and fear.
All over the country today, people will be speaking about the nobility of the United States, the barbarism of the attacks on us, the deep suffering of Americans. I will do none of that.
I will not mark September 11 as a day of special grief until all of us mark every day as a day of special grief for those killed by the callous and cruel exercise of power. I am through indulging the grief of Americans. I will not be part of it. I will not contribute to it any longer.
Indeed. The fact of the matter is that we got a small taste of the kind of senseless violence that we routinely visit upon other nations. And this has been going on for decades; it’s nothing new. Just ask the children of Nicaragua, Chile, Viet Nam, the former Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Laos, Cambodia, Zaire, etc., etc., etc.
So pardon me if I refuse to raise a flag in memory of a terrorist act committed against this country. While I mourn the deaths of the innocent American citizens who perished that day, not because they were fighting a war they believed in, but because they were victims of circumstance, I will not mourn the acts of THIS country which now uses that event as justification for further violence. Patriot Day? It’s just another way to celebrate war and violence.
This article was based on another article authored by Joni Mueller and published on September 10, 2006 at My.Opera.com.