by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
In a few weeks, it all begins again: the howling scream-whine of a narcissistic nation oscillating wildly between fits of megalomania and depressive woe-is-me-ism. “Will there be calls for a true investigation into what the government knew and how that knowledge might have prevented the tragedy?” Not a chance – that would spoil the pity-party. But you can be sure that “anyone who dares suggest that our country also inflicts terror will not be given serious consideration.” Is the United States capable of serious – and civilized – collective thought? Not in the last ten years, certainly.
Freedom Rider: How to Remember 9/11
by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley
“The country is now in a permanent state of warfare.”
The awful words and platitudes are already being written and spoken: “Ten years later,” “ten years on,” “tenth anniversary,” “how to talk to the children,” “where were you when it happened,” etc, etc, etc. Of course I am speaking of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
If Osama bin Laden thought he could change or destroy the American system he was very much mistaken. Just a few days after the terrible events took place, cheap items allegedly honoring the dead began appearing for sale in New York, the city that was supposed to be in a deep state of mourning. Americans, led by the corporate media, rallied around George W. Bush, their illegitimate president, and were told to go forth and shop and not ask any inconvenient questions about who knew what and when they knew it.
We had to go to war against Afghanistan, so we were told, and only one member of Congress, Congressional Black Caucus member Barbara Lee, voted against the action. The country is now in a permanent state of warfare. The attacks were used as a pretext for invading and occupying Iraq and establishing secret prisons around the world. Words like water boarding, a form of torture, came into being and Guantanamo became a place where the United States threw away its Constitution and the rights it once guaranteed to citizens and non-citizens alike.
“Barack Obama has moved further to the right in ways that Bush never dreamed of.”
The military tribunals and all of those wars outlived the president who established them. His Democratic successor has no intention of undoing any of the things that Bush was vilified for doing. It isn’t surprising, given that progressives don’t care if his presidency is in some ways worse than Bush’s. Barack Obama has moved further to the right in ways that Bush never dreamed of.
Books, articles, documentaries, and ceremonies will be solemnly presented over the next three weeks. They will culminate in a ghastly parade of dreadful politicians, making solemn speeches and pretending to care about humanity. The families, more accurately some relatives of some of the victims, will be placed front and center and deified only for the purpose of justifying government evil doing on behalf of their deceased loved ones. The group September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who actively oppose efforts to use their loved ones as rationales for the commission of violent acts, remain largely unknown to the public.
The system certainly didn’t miss a stride in the past ten years. Yet another World Trade Center tower is being built, and like its first iteration, on the government’s dime, with government agencies filling the office space and tax payer subsidies to the few private businesses which will be located there.
Will the endless commemoration bring any discussion of American’s history with the Taliban? Will the corporate media tell us how they were first supported and armed by the United States? Will there be any revelations of Israeli “moving companies” and “photographers” coincidentally appearing on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River that fateful morning? Will there be calls for a true investigation into what the government knew and how that knowledge might have prevented the tragedy?
“The next three weeks will be an endless and shameless display of hyper patriotism and obvious money making.”
These questions are rhetorical because the answer to each one is obviously in the negative. The next three weeks will be an endless and shameless display of hyper patriotism and obvious money making. The effect will be to further propagandize an already ignorant nation and re-traumatize the masses with an endless loop of planes crashing into skyscrapers, desperate victims jumping to their deaths, fire fighters, police officers and weeping relatives.
Anyone who suggests moving on or asking for answers will be given no attention whatever, or will be given the spotlight only for the purpose of being dismissed and demonized. No one will be allowed to make any real connections with the suffering of people outside of this country. No one will be allowed to say that we should not inflict similar suffering with drone strikes in Afghanistan, or proxy terror in Somalia, or NATO backed bombing in Libya. Anyone who dares suggest that our country also inflicts terror will not be given serious consideration.
It is appropriate to remember the dead, but those memories should be extended to all the people of this planet. It is disgraceful for Americans to think that they are alone in their suffering or that their government doesn’t dispense its own brand of death. Remember September 11th if you will, but not in the way that the government and its corporate media lackeys demand.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgandaReport.com.