It’s not that I don’t believe that the terrorist bombing in Manhattan ten years ago is significant and worthy of commemoration. Or that real suffering attaches to that event. But I am vexed by appropriation of that event and attendant consequences by the same self-righteous pontificators who facilely hand out the consoling news that god is on our side and who managed to embroil the United States in fruitless imperial adventures costing exponentially more lives and suffering than the Twin Towers destruction.
I did manage to find some sensible commentary on 9/11 —Tom Englehardt at the ever dependable Toms Dispatch weighs in
If September 11th was indeed a nightmare, 9/11 as a memorial and Ground Zero as a “consecrated” place have turned out to be a blank check for the American war state, funding an endless trip to hell. They have helped lead us into fields of carnage that put the dead of 9/11 to shame.
Lawrence Weschler also has something to say in a piece called Memory and among other things, Weschler recalls Susan Sontag’s remarks (for which she was excoriated):
Politics, the politics of a democracy—which entails disagreement, which promotes candor—has been replaced by psychotherapy. Let’s by all means grieve together. But let’s not be stupid together. A few shreds of historical awareness might help us understand what has just happened, and what may continue to happen. “Our country is strong,” we are told again and again. I for one don’t find this entirely consoling. Who doubts that America is strong? But that’s not all America has to be.
Weschler, it should be noted, found it disquieting that he could not get any radio outlet to air his radio version of Memory.
The New Yorker’sDavid Remnick, of course, comments and as does Weschler recalls the General Slocum sinking disaster of 1904. He also offers this:
Ten years after the attacks, we are still faced with questions about ourselves—questions about the balance of liberty and security, about the urge to make common cause with liberation movements abroad, and about the countervailing limits. Only absolutists answer these questions absolutely.
Chilean writer Ariel Dorfman experienced two memorable 11ths of September and he draws an interesting and somber parallel between 1972 and 2001
Currently reading: American Boy Larry Watson (Milkweed)