I have so far avoided noding anything about this affair, because I was not sure whether I could express myself or whether I had any right to do so. Like everybody here, I have made the occasional faux pas or miscalculation when writing something for E2. I try to avoid that.

One typically remembers quite clearly the exact moment and circumstance when one hears that something horrible has happened. There is a blank in memory just after that. But one remembers the dizzy feeling of "this can't be real", the feeling of one's subconscious not yet accepting what has happened.

So while I quite distinctly remember being told of the attacks, I don't know what I answered or did just afterwards.

But later, I remember, I began to get angry. Not for the obvious reason - not angry at the terrorists. Their actions still did not seem real. But I was angry at all of those people who now seemed to be telling me to mourn.

The chancellor of Germany, Gerhard Schröder, said: "Now we are all Americans.", meaning: "We grieve with you." And soon voices were heard from the USA telling us: " You're either with us or you're against us."

So why did that make me angry? Because I did not see a reason why to mourn for those specific three thousand people who had died in the attacks. Am I so heartless as not to care for them? No, but I never mourned for the thousands dying from disease, famine and war each year. Nobody mourns for them. There is no memorial for the thousands dying of starvation and torture in North Korea, or Iraq, or Africa.

So why should we mourn those specific three thousand people who were killed in the attacks? There are a couple of possible reasons, and they are all provocative.

  • Because there was a large explosion when they died. (So only the people who die flashily are worth mourning?)
  • Because they were Americans. (Does that make them more important?)
  • Because the World Trade Center was destroyed. (Mourn because of the destruction of a lifeless brick of reinforced concrete?)
  • Because the United States were attacked. (That is a cause for concern, even for fear. But a Nation is only a social construct. It is not alive, not worth mourning, especially since it was only attacked but not destroyed.)

So to me, mourning meant that I would do it for one of the reasons above. And they are all bad reasons. They all show that the actual people who died do not really matter. And that is not acceptable. Unfortunately, that seemed to put me at odds with just about everybody else on the planet, so I went very quiet. I did write the following short text and put it on my website:


The victims of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have my deepest sympathies. With the following text I want in no way diminish or justify the tragedy.

After the attack on the World Trade Center the flags of all nations were at half-mast. But actually they always belong there. Thousands of people die all the time. Who cares about the thousands who died because of the US embargo on Iraq? The thousands of fugitives leaving Afghanistan? The thousands starving to death in North Korea? Just because of them, no flag would fly differently.


My website? http://www.zarkonnen.com


It seems I need to clear up a misunderstanding here: It was not my intention to criticise the Americans for mourning. It was my intention to criticise them for expecting, almost commanding, everybody else to do the same, even though it didn't really touch them directly.

29 years later...

True, it's been one year since the "terrorist attack" in the United States, but it happened 29 years ago, when a military coup was staged in Chile, where more innocent people were slaughtered in Chile's national stadium than died in the World Trade Center. Don't believe me? Look at the massive lists of the people that mysteriously vanished that day and were never heard from again. On that same token, you wont find too many people in Chile with the birthday September 11, 1973, either... the US trained militants (called "milicos" in Chile) also raided Chilean hospitals. These militants were quietly labeled freedom fighters by the US government; but isn't it funny how the US conveniently labels groups as either freedom fighters or terrorists, at the US' convenience?

The Chilean militants were labeled as freedom fighters because they fought the socialist government. However, when the Irish Republican Army tries to free themselves from British rule, just like America did in the colonial days, they were labeled as terrorists for years!

But what about the Afghans?

When the Soviet Union tried to free Afghanistan from oppression, the US backed and trained the Afghans to make Afghanistan "free for democracy" (or free for helping the spreading of imperialism). But, a little over a decade later, the same Afghans that were labeled as freedom fighters by the US government (including Osama Bin Laden himself) are now labeled as terrorists.

Odd, wouldn't you say?

I never really could add anything more than myself to any given topic. I hope that I can be useful. I would like to ask: can anyone in their right mind believe this next statement?

"For twentysomethings, last Tuesday also meant that we could die. Personally, I don’t think I was entirely convinced that Americans under 30 were destructible until last week."
--Camille Dodero, "The end of unbridled irony", Boston Phoenix

I am part of the "September 11th Generation". I'm supposed to feel angry and scared, or patriotic and proud, or something - something directly related to this tragic event's place in my tender teenaged years. Supposed by whom? I don't know. The media may distort, but it rarely ever conjures from nothing, and thus there must be some basis in authority for the articles I've read delineating what I feel and how I will act as a result. I am, if I were to approach what seems to be the current media consensus, a worried patriotic Christian with a large amount of public service to my name. About a year before September 11th, I was a video-game obsessed super-predator, a bomb waiting to go off. I guess before that I was a junior Internet jockey destined for Silicon Valley stardom.

I realize that I'm the wrong letter. I'll say it anyway. Whatever.

I am only able to conceive of things socially. It is beyond an interest with me; it is a mild pathology that I have to keep in check day by day. When I see a person my age, I see practically nothing until I talk to them for quite some time, begin to be able to predict their modes of thought, hear something of their personal history. If I cannot secure a person within my prior prejudices, I do one of two things: I run, or I become infatuated.

It would be very difficult to fall in love with our generation; I know this. I have a Britney Spears poster on my wall, pinned by lust, laminated in cheap irony, and I sure can't remember buying it, although I undoubtedly did so with my parents' money. So the pathological social-heads, my peers who have been granted tenure or even executive positions because of their sickness, play a dangerous game: to "understand" is to control, and the less complex the understanding, the more direct the power exercised by every one-page article in Newsweek or editorial in the Washington Post. September 11th Child, Super-Predator, Internet Kid.

You see, we really don't care. But they already beat that one dead, and no one wants to read the same old story again. So America needs a generation that pops, something dynamic! Exclamation points! Tragedy! Adversity! Quick! Of course! So many people dying at the hands of the Enemy, the Other, must have had some nigh-universal impact. We want war! Or no war! We want more aggressive foreign policy! Or less American involvement overseas! We want candy! And to save the endangered Alaskan salmon.

Am I putting the actual events of a year ago on the sideline? Yes. I have to do so. So does CNN, and the President; so do the critics of American foreign policy, and your concerned citizen on the street. 24 hours of record-breaking ratings! A corporate bail-out to end all others! An unprecedented view on the effects of imperialism! I feel so different! Is this wrong? No. It is necessary, whether for good or ill intention. Even those whose loved ones died in the attack may put The Events aside today - because one or two or more people that they know died a year ago today. That's not "the terrorist attacks on September 11th". That's death, that death, these deaths, not "the terrorist attacks." The totality of that experience simply is, and god knows none of us are going to simply sit and stare at that same videotape over and over until it loses meaning. We don't want to, perhaps we shouldn't, and it's not like CNN is going to let us anyhow, because the FDNY interview is on in five minutes.

I am farther left than much of my generation. Maybe. I'd like to think not, but there it is. Before September 11th, I was pretty sure that the revolution wasn't going to happen among my peers. Afterwards, I was completely sure. And then, when leftist and revolutionary organizations registered actual jumps in membership, I went back to being pretty sure. I dealt with the attacks through a leftist lens, critical of the United States, because I felt obligated - just like the guy down the street who covered everything in flag stickers, and the Fox News anchors who wore American flag lapel pins, and the people in the back room who made the neat graphic under which reporters could frown thoughtfully. Nothing new, to be certain. The entire country borrowed The Events from those who died - the terrorists and the victims alike - and put them to use for their own ends. It all changed the way we wanted it to change. It still does.

I have asked my peers today, male and female, Democrat and Republican, Green and Communist, white and black, gay and straight: did September 11th change your life in any significant way?

Shrugs win by a landslide.

A writeup was penned by NOTfnordian a little while ago, and nuked shortly thereafter. Apatrix retained the entire text, and shared it with me. I have asked the author to post the writeup again at this node. I will ask the rest of you, not for "my generation", but for me: Don’t nuke it. Read it. And read it again. And again. Don’t even bother reflecting. It just is.

What will I do? I’m wearing a white shirt in solidarity for peace and nonviolence or some other pinko hippie crap. I think I will get very drunk tonight, so drunk as to approach genuineness, and then I will toast to the memory of those who died, because it will be very romantic for me to do. For me. Does it surprise you that we have had one “Me Generation” after another? We will have many more, because we are a “me” country, like Britain, like Rome. Our self-reflection is a luxury related to our power. That is what empire means.

I will wait a year, and try again - maybe as a thing, and not just an idea.

I could only get so far in these day logs today and then gave up in great frustration and futility. Here Dear Readers are some jumbled thoughts and opinions.

I will begin with asking some hard-hitting questions:

  • If you are an American and are old enough, do you vote?
  • Are you well informed enough to sign or even refuse to sign petitions?
  • The last Presidential election, did you abstain or chose to vote for a third party candidate to make a political statement?

Here is a fact to consider:
In the 2000 American presidential election of the 207 million citizens of voting age, only 105 million voted - meaning 102 million people did not make the effort to vote. That’s a scant 51%.

  • This is what I hear you saying.
It’s because the Americans are the haves and the Third World Countries are have nots!

The American people are some of the most generous people on earth. I couldn’t agree more.

  • Did you donate to a charity of your choice?
Good for you.
  • Do you know what happened to your money?
  • Did it end up in a somebody’s bank account instead of doing what you were led to believe it would?
  • Who is oppressing whom here?
  • Where does the responsibility belong?
To you, get informed.

What would you like to see happen?

Stop whining about the US, the media, Corporate America and political agendas, get off your prissy American flag waving duffs and DO something! For heaven’s sake, you do have a brain. Think for your selves. The people who died a year ago and their lives deserve to have meaning.

  • How many would volunteer two years out of their lives to go live in a Third World Country?
Teach, farm, give hope. Make changes.

There is too much evidence of complacency, resignation and taking for granted of what we have today. Two generations ago, twelve million American teenagers and twentysomethings spent four years perishing in Europe and the Pacific because they believed they could make a difference in the world and they did. Not one person did not have more than one family member involved and to worry over. Behold the power of faith. They all worked together to make it a better world for YOU to inherit, enjoy and pass on to the next generation. Today there are only one to two million Americans over there trying. That’s how it’s done. Change takes blood, guts and hard work. That's why we have so much.

Truth, it's been said, is the first causality of war.

  • Were you expecting a war without senseless death and destruction?
These terrorists committed suicide for a reason!

Yes, they were fed religious propaganda by a charismatic warlord who WE put in place by not speaking up as a nation and demanding more qualified candidates to run our country.

What is past is prologue.


Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.
-Colossians 3:15 (NRSV)

Devotion

I note recently that I am feeling increasingly compelled to analyze the underlying elements of
the fatalistically negative general view of humanity I experience.
It seems more and more like a copout,
a way to quickly explain away certain discomforts: Ah, whaddya expect from people?
2002 september 11, faubourg deli tables, too much brown sauce
a lot of awkwardness. people dropping their food from tray to floor, imbalanced. broken glasses. crucial text i can no longer afford delayed, still unavailable. tense interpersonal exchanges, generalized anxiety. 32 celsius yesterday; today is cold, windy, rainy, grey. travelling weather. viciousness often surfacing. war drums are louder than i've ever experienced. on the internet, touchiness over topical exchanges. things missing, lost, malplaced. paused on one's toes in the hallway, listening, waiting.

Its been one year. One year. Me personally, I wasn't directly related to anyone who lost their life during the September 11th attacks, but I felt a great deal of sorrow for those people who lost loved ones during what seemed to be a rather "normal" Tuesday morning in the middle of September. But time would tell it would not be.

I woke up, as normal at 7 o'clock this morning. And got up, and just as a sign of unity and patriotism, I decided to wear my red, white and blue. Got up, got to where I had to be, and when I got near a flag, I got up and I said the pledge of allegiance. And I think all American's should get up and say the pledge today, even if you don't normally. Because its a sign of respect of what this country stands for. The liberties and freedoms. I even listened to the singing of the national anthem.

Although today will be a day of sorrow about what happened last year, it should be day of reflection too. Take a minute, maybe five, and just think about life, and heroics. Think about the people who risked their life to save others. When it comes down to it, would you risk yours to save someone else?

So I've been an actual high school teacher for exactly two weeks now. I teach English. I run the yearbook committee. I try to do more.

Being a teacher means I get a whole slew of jobs thrown at me at once, with little regard to my sanity. Advisor. Guardian. Friend.

Today I realized just how much I really do matter to my students. A "former" student (he dropped out just before school started) decided to commit suicide on Friday. Not many students knew him, as he wasn't the most popular of people, apparently. The poor guy lost his girlfriend, his job, his computer and his pet dog all in the span of about three days. It was too much, and he hung himself.

This affected my section of the student population as you would expect it to for an "essentials English" class; most students anticipated a day off. When they didn't receive that luxury, they became hostile. "Why not? It's not fair!" was their rallying cry.

But one student sat quietly in my first period class all week so far. A student who isn't normally quiet. He watched as the other students feigned grief, and pouted and whined because they were in class all this week so far instead of at home "getting in touch with their emotions" like other school get to do. I explained that life, along with being sacred and beautiful, must go on; I suggested that they visit the school's Student Services if they needed counselling, and taught my lessons (with one eye on that particular student). The other students sneered, gave up their attempts at getting to spend the day at the mall, and began on task.

At the end of class today, I held him back. Last week he was always the first one out of the room, but this week he was tending to be the last. I looked him in the eye. He remained stone faced.

All I asked him was if he was okay. I quickly found out he wasn't.

It seems that he was considering suicide himself, even before Friday. After seeing a schoolmate do the deed, he was watching to see the reactions of his classmates for a sign of what he could expect his friends to do.

He was disgusted with their reaction, but it had driven him closer to his goal. He now knew that if this student wasn't missed, he wouldn't be either, and that depressed him even more.

But my very act of asking him if he was "okay" was enough. He broke down. I took him to another room, sat down with him for my entire lunch/break, and then again during my spare/break. I let him know he was special. That I noticed. That I'd miss him. He says I saved his life, or at least he hopes I did. So do I.

So I've been an actual high school teacher for exactly two weeks now. I teach English. I run the yearbook committee. I try to do more.


Oh, and I've avoided CNN and the CBC for an entire day so far. I haven't read zmag or the Drudge Report. I've had enough on my plate today without having to deal with terrorism, jingoism, sabre rattling and Dubya's dumb monkey look. I think I deserve the reprieve, to be honest.

A year ago from today, a major tragedy fell upon us. Through that tragedy we have learned a lot about ourselves as individuals and as a community. A year and one day ago, a major tragedy fell upon us as well. Through that tragedy we have learned a lot about ourselves as individuals and as a community (and yes, we are a community).

First of all, a year ago we, not only as a country, but as a species, witnessed the most tragic and sinister acts ever committed. I do not have to go into details as to what happened, as it brings back haunting memories to some, but there is no doubt in my mind that those haunting images remain in each and every one of our minds. Now is a time to reflect about the major loss of life and show the world how it has taken us less then a year to recover from this tragedy. This shows how strong we are.

A year and a day ago, we, as a community here at E2, experienced another tragedy. We lost a very talented noder. Now, this noder was before my time, so I can not say that I knew him. But after reading his writeups especially his daylogs, I sure wish I did know him. He seemed like one of those few people who can make a difference in your life through what he says. But we have bounced back as a community.

Now is a time to reflect on these losses. I have reflected about the said noder who we lost with several of my noder friends. Of the tragedy of 9/11, we reflected and remembered today in school. Our school lit up candles in remembrance of this event. Each candle was individually named, representing the three thousand and thirty one people who lost their life. The candles are shaped in a heart, and around the heart are written the words "We," "NY, "DC," and "PA." It's hard to illustrate, but it shows that "We Love NY...We Love DC...We Love Pennsylvania."

I am glad that we have gone through this day without any more trouble. We remained united through these hard times showing the world how we can always stand tall no matter what problems come upon us. Now, before I leave, I would just like to express my regrets and deep sympathies to anyone who was hurt by either of these tragedies.

Nothing Has Changed. Peace Is a Lie. There Is No Closure.

Nothing has changed.
Each day, I rise before the sun
Each day, I work the same job
I had before September 11, and
Each day, I plot a way to quit.

I still meet with friends
I still write
I still laugh
I still have insomnia
I still drink too much
I still question God's mercy,
God's vengence

I do not worry about terrorism
Those days are gone
Not because terrorism is,
But because I have accepted death.

Peace is a lie.
There are only two conditions--
War years and inter-war years.
Because life is still a struggle
Though I and those like me have forgotten.

We've numbed ourselves
With work and alcohol and sex,
Filling our gas tanks with Saudi oil,
Drinking Colombian coffee,
Wearing clothes made in India
And shoes made in China
All brought to us
By the brothers and sisters of terrorists.

There is no closure.
The gnawing pain, the hunger
To see that person again
Yet knowing, like a starving man
That you'll never be fulfilled
That pain doesn't leave,
No matter how much revenge,
No matter how much therapy,
You still remain hungry.

I learned this years ago
Watching my father's body
Eaten by a congenital cancer
Which likely waits in my body, too
Sleeper cells waiting to attack.

I lost him, and learned
That you never get over it
But learn to go numb
And block the pain out
With work and alcohol and sex
And every so often, let out the pain
In your own personal war
Your own personal jihad
Against despair.

So tonight
I walked under the apple tree
That grows behind my parents' house.
And, as it's still early September,
Saw that the fruit wasn't ripe
And if I were to eat it,
Would be sick.
But still, that snake slithers in the branches
Whispering my name.

How do you know when the war on terrorism is over? We knew the war in Europe was over because the press showed us troops marching into Berlin. We saw German generals surrender their swagger sticks and sign documents. Is the lack of terrorist attacks on July 4, Sept 11, New Years, et al evidence that the war has been won or evidence that the government's sweeping new powers are simply effective in keeping terrorists at bay? Is the fact that Martians have never invaded Seattle evidence that the Space Needle is doing a good job protecting us from interplanetary invasion? Will the government come to us a year, two years, five years from now and say the war on terrorism has been won or will they tell us the war has entered a new, more dangerous phase, but because we can't put secret agents at risk/matters of state security, there's no evidence we can offer. Please, trust us. Trust the government. A notion the American constitutional framers considered laughable.

boi toi asked me to repost this writeup in this node. Thanks for caring. I wrote this awhile ago. I still feel basically the same thing. I feel I've actually become a more caring person since I wrote this and still, this is my take on the issue. A lot of people died one year ago, but a lot of people die in a lot of places for a lot of reasons in a lot of countries, some of which aren't nearly as callous and brutal as the country I am a citizen of, the USA.
If you're over 30 you probably have the wrong idea about the impact of the events in Afghanistan on people under 20.

3,000 people die in New York. It may as well have been a television show to a lot of us. Sorry, that's just the way it is. George W. Bush comes out in the rubble to "unite America". What else is on?

See, too many teenagers know what "America" is. Draft me. I dare you. The youth of today is not the youth of the vietnam era. We shoot cops. We shoot each other in the very institutions you think are there to teach us.

"This will be the defining moment for our children."

"This is the Vietnam of our generation."

"This will change the lives of everyone in America."

Shut the fuck up. You don't know what you're talking about.

An apathy has been bred in the youth of the United States. Not an ignorant apathy, an apathy of survival. A cynicism that can exist in the most idealistic of minds. We can want the world to change and know that we have one chance in a billion of making a difference. Kids are throwing their lives away in drive-by's, in schools, in random senseless events imitating television shows, so does it surprise you that some are throwing their lives away trying to change the world when the odds are stacked against them?

The Pentagon and the World Trade Centers in New York.

If I *had* to pick 3,000 people to die spontaneously in the United States I couldn't think of a better place to start.

Speaking as a youth in the United States, those places are a fairyland. You can tell me over and over how those places have a huge impact on my life and it's just not going to get through to me. Not because I'm ignorant, I *understand*, I *just don't care*. See, a lot of kids today just are like that. We gave up on your world long ago. Tell the kids sleeping in the park that an attack on the pentagon affects them. Tell the kids slinging rock that the economy affects them, in fact, tell *any* drug dealer that there will be a shortage of clientele at any time, ever. The laugh you'd hear coming from them would set off a harmonic resonating on the exact frequency of the rest of the so-called "disenfranchised".

The USA gave up on so many of us, what did you expect? And now I have to listen to adults tell me that this is the defining moment of my generation? That this matters. I have these childhood memories of the US obliterating some place called Iraq. That's my concept of "war". It's a fireworks show and don't try to tell me it's anything more.

You can no longer vilify people in the eyes of the youth of the USA. We just don't believe the US media anymore. Sorry.

George W. Bush is just as ignorant and dogmatic as Osama bin Laden. Wait. Stop. Actually think about that one. We've thought about it.

No one in my family died in the September 11th attacks. No one I know died that day. Don't hold that against me when I say that because of that fact it's hard to relate to all the pain and suffering that should be happening to me now.

September 11th? Afghanistan? Osama bin Laden? No big deal. What else is on.....

Today was a sunny and glorious day. Not too hot and not too cold, I regretted only that I hadn't gotten up earlier to take more full advantage of it. But sadly that is in the past, and I must live with my mistake.

I could talk more about today, but I want to address a couple of things that have been troubling me about what happened on this day a year ago, and the events following it. The world's been on a state of alert since that day, and entire year full of mistrust, gloating nationalism, jingoism, racism, and random blaming of the world's ills on 'terrorists'. In my opinion the number, and the danger stemming from terrorism has in fact been very low during the period I'm talking about, and even before. In fact I would even go so far as to say that the acts of 9/11 weren't terrorist in nature.

A terrorist usually has some sort of ideal, or message, or demand. Nothing like this was ever released, and you'd expect the most 'successful' terrorist attack in history to be accompanied with some kind of open statement of exhultation, or indeed a demand of some sort. Nothing like that happened, we only got shown some dodgy tape of some guy in a cave months later talking in the vaguest terms about a 'successful' operation. This does not a compelling case make.

A compelling case is however visible for assuming that far from demanding some sort of political response from the USA, or the wider world, the purpose of the 9/11 attacks was to change the nature of our consciousness both at an individual level, and as a society. If anything should have underlined what people are willing to go through for their beliefs in destroying the symbols they hate, and in the fragility of life, then it was undoubtedly the devastating impact of a plane full of innocent people onto a building full of more innocent people.

Imagine the kind of mental strength of belief, and the will power required to fly not the first plane, but the second into the tower while one can see the burning first tower in full view. How many people reading this could relate to someone like this? It represents a fundamentally different kind of mental approach. One we would describe as insane, but also one that no amount of political chicanery or economic gifting could alter or divert. If someone who thinks like this chooses to kill you, you are indeed already dead. It is only a matter of time. It is a new form of consciousness, and one that is threat to the extant one, so anyone, innocent or not, who exhibits this kind of mindset is seen as a threat, and ruthlessly hunted down.

Those people in guantanamo bay fought to defend their adopted home from an invading force, much as the American's did in their war of independence. Those first forefathers of the American nation exhibited a freedom from existing values and a determination mirrored by those in the icy cages in cuba today. Most of those incarcerated are highly intelligent well read perfectly normal middle class guys from good families, and well educated backgrounds. Sadly America has not learned the lessons of it's creation well. Like the British Empire before it, it's time will come, and not on it's own terms. The only thing it can do is decide if it has lived by it's own terms for itself and it's citizens.

The security measures in place would not stop a nuclear device entering New York and being detonated. ABC proved as much through a chilling documentary this evening. The political changes and the spying on people would have minimal effect on those versed in the arts of originality and concealment. Those whose ideals are more important to them than their lives are not likely to be swayed by the images of supposed comrades in chains and cages, the openess with which America commits hypocrisy will only serve to strengthen their resolve. Perhaps a more fruitful line of inquiry would be to ask why they feel the way they do, and why they chose the targets that they did?

Just as the chaining of innocents in cuba will have little effect, the attack by the worlds strongest country on the world's weakest country has only deepened the divide between the mindsets of Americans and those attacked, in this case the Muslims. Are they expected to be thankful? Would you be if people bombed your home and broke in with guns? With that conflict winding down, and the civilian death toll there far outweighing those lost in 9/11, is it really wise to go into another war?

Iraq has been quiet for years, castrated and cast aside, a pariah in the world left to beg for food, and unable to sell oil except to it's enemies in unfavourable terms, the medical embargo to this nation alone costs 5000 children's lives a month. Despite widespread hatred of the Iraqi leader, this same leader is unlikely to take the brunt of military action if and when it comes. The world, especially the Muslims have considerable and deep sympathies for their brothers and sisters there, and attack would win America no freinds, and certainly serve to deepen the hatred of it that created 9/11 in the first place.

I guess it looks to me that America is trying to extinguish the flames of hatred and resistance that threaten it's citizens by pouring gasoline on the fire every few months. This does worry me. Not least because the leader of America can barely say 'fire' let alone spell it.

In spite of all the media sap and craven politicians, I have to admit, I am still moved by the ceremonies and the sheer memory of it all.

So there. I'll be expecting your down-vote.

Today was "Technical Support Hell" for me. One absolutely clueless customer calls in, wanting live support on software that, according to the license agreement, has no live support option on it. The person nearly froze when she was directed to my employer's website. After a brief conversation on 9/11, I then walked her through the website and showed her where to go to get the version of our software that includes a year of live support on it. This person here acted like she never bought anything online before. After spending 15 minutes in getting her software downloaded, I showed her how to install. She then had to place me on hold to get the info from her paging service. That was another 10 minutes right there. What the real time killer during this support call was me arguing computer hardware with her. During the remainder of the call, she insisted that all of her hardware was working just fine and everything was connected properly. That was obviously a farce because she wouldn't be calling in if everything was working. What was worse was that I had to explain just about every piece of hardware and cabling to her and how it should be connected or how it works. Word of advice: Don't tell me "which phone line?" your computer should be dialing out on.

To cut this long story short, what caused this tech support nightmare was operator error. The customer apparently moved her computer and the RJ-11 cable came loose in the modem port. What she couldn't figure out in a 90-minute call to me she had to call a technician out and he fixed the problem in 2 minutes. I specifically told her that the line may not be connected properly, but she wasn't listening to any of my solutions. To me, this was the biggest waste of my time, and the biggest waste of her $19 USD.

This is a node that is going to annoy some people. This node is going to just make some people spit fire. That is not my reason for writing it. It is to share my feelings on this subject that we have talked about for the last year.

9/11 is now officially becoming a stupid holiday. We have concerts, fund, remberances, and commercialization, especially in the forms of television and print media. The thing that drives me up the wall is that all these people are making 9/11 into the Fourth of July.

The fourth of July was a holiday to celebrate the freedom and the independence of America's people. It is a day to shoot off fireworks, party, get a day or week off of school or work, and get drunk. How many of us actually reflect on our freedom that day, not because of a Tv program, or it is our job, but because of the day itself?

That is what I see happening to 9/11. I saw it the minute I realized there will be an anniversary. There is many examples of the commercialization already. First the "America remembers 9/11" stuff that has been fed to us for the last 11 months. Then I heard that the "American Idol” winner is singing a concert or something at the Lincoln Memorial. Just another publicity deal or a way to make money, I am just not sure. Now they are selling the "9/11" DVD which is the famous video from CBS.

How come all this commercialization is happening? Because greed is rampant compared to patriotism. Why? Because that is how we grew up, and that is why we had 9/11. Our greed and our pride helped cause this.

Why am I complaining? Well people in America aren't good Americans. They know nothing about their government, don't read the newspaper or care to, don't care about the country as a whole. Apathy for 9/11 rose before Christmas, and for many apathy rose before October. Apathy is what defines "new American". I hate how this happens. I just hope one day somewhere, the true American rises up, takes back the country and again works to help America and its people not just the supporters. But that is just for another day.

I remember almost every detail of what I was doing September 11, 2001, and I probably will for the rest of my life. I remember first hearing about it on the radio on my way to work, and then, inexplicably, the station returned to playing music. I remember the fractured and contradictory reports of that morning, prompting me to worry that there was a coordinated attack all across the country. I remember first seeing the image of the burning towers when I finally managed to access CNN.com. I remember finally getting hold of my mother on the phone - she works in an airport and I didn’t know how extensive the attacks were. I remember the school sending all the students and employees home, so I took my girlfriend home, made her dinner, and we had some of the best sex of my life.

I’ve seen a term coined for this phenomena of people seeking physical solace after such a widespread tragedy: “terror sex”. There’s even speculation that it led to a post-September 11 baby boom. I may as well admit that I participated in that phenomena (the terror sex, not the baby boom thankfully). She was an auburn haired Russian girl, and after a few conversations about constructivist painters and Eudora Welty, I thought she was the most beautiful creature on God’s green earth. What can I say, I’m an intellectual whore. She had me so tightly wrapped around her finger that I couldn’t see how manipulative, selfish, and self-absorbed she was. (Once she decided she didn’t like the shirt she was wearing, so she called her mother up and had her drive to the coffee house we were at to bring her a new shirt. Why this didn’t alarm me at the time I will never know.) I couldn’t see that she was just using me to make her ex-boyfriend jealous. A week later, they were back together and she was gone like the Twin Towers. And it turns out that she wasn’t actually 19 like she told everyone, but, well, you don’t expect me to incriminate myself, do you? (In my defense, she was a college junior fer chrissake, how was I to know she skipped a year or two of high school for early admission.) At the time, I was utterly, utterly devastated, but now I don’t for a moment regret her absence from my life, but I do regret that she will, for the rest of my life, be tangled up in my memories of the events of September 11. But hell, the sex was really, really good. It’s not often (well, in my life, anyway) that one feels like an Olympic gymnast.

So on September 11, 2051, after the flags wave and the parades and speeches end, when my grandchildren get off their hover bikes and sit at my knee and ask me what I was doing on September 11, I wonder if I’ll tell them that I was having fantastic sex with a shallow girl. I do know that I’ll tell them this:

I never charged into a burning building knowing that I might not come out. I never attacked a knife-wielding terrorist on a airborne plane. I never died for something important or to save someone else, or even came close. I was just a man trying to live my life the best that I could and not fuck things up too badly. I was never a hero.

Be careful of those who you call heroes and why you call them that. That fireman who carried someone out of the burning towers may have used that tragedy as a pick-up line to score with a drunk blonde in a New York bar. That cop who bragged about how much overtime pay he was raking in because of the attack may kill a man wielding only a wallet, or he may take a bullet saving your life. People are seldom heroes or villains, they are just people, in all their crass ugliness and transcendent beauty. Be aware of that ambiguity and embrace it.

Don’t take a single day to celebrate the good and use the rest of the year to be as crass and selfish and cynical as you want because you lit a candle today. Don’t celebrate the heroes today and forget tomorrow that you’re only paying them $30,000 a year. Don’t remember a few thousand dead and forget the thousands dying around the world every day of preventable causes. Remember and avenge those who were lost on that day, but spread the veneration and passion and thoughtfulness and respect throughout the rest of your life. Remember the poor children who can’t sleep because of their empty stomachs. Feed the homeless. Donate blood. Write your congressman. Vote.

Live.

True story. My employer, Krimpt & Gimpi, Ltd., hosted a sponsored blood drive yesterday. I love a party.

Dreyer's Drive: an in-house memo

Give again! Our anniversary of
blood requires a token. Blood for ice cream
(with this coupon) -- pint-for-pint's the bargain.
Blood for juice and cookies, too -- for anger,
fear and ugly dreams, or anything to
keep the juices flowing -- as if some we
tapped a year ago are not still bleeding.
(That's the cost of insincerity. Have
you forgotten Arafat's donation?)
All blood is good; drive-by charity is
good enough. Act now! This offer won't last
long but, while it does, your dark suspicions
and the smell, the residue beneath your
fingernails, will not seem so...familiar.

I know, another DeadJournal re-posting. But I felt it significant to add my own thoughts on the anniversary of that terrible day.

One Year Later

Everyone, do yourselves a favour and read this (the link was to SharQ's September 11, 2002 writeup).

So it's been exactly one year today since nearly 3,000 Americans died in the attacks on the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon, and the hijacking of a fourth airliner whose final purpose will remain unknown. And what does America have to show for it? Well, the PATRIOT Act was introduced, making it frighteningly easy to tap your communications without your knowledge or a warrant. The long cherised ideas of "freedom, liberty and justice for all" and the Constitution are being fucked around because people want to feel safe ("Those who would give up freedom for temporary safety deserve neither" - Benjamin Franklin). Questioning American policy, foreign or domestic, has become a new taboo under the one-size-fits-all guise of being "unpatriotic". Suspected "terrorists" are being detained without a lawyer or any hope of a trial in a military base near Cuba because they may have "links" to the obviously evil Al-Qaeda terrorist network. And the Americans "righteously" bombed the fuck out of Afghanistan because they believed that Osama bin Laden was behind the attacks. Well done.

Does that mean I believe that America is evil and deserves what it gets? Hell, no. Nobody deserves to have that happen to them. Nobody should. But it worries me that nobody in mainstream media (which is usually the only thing most people expose themselves to) has spent much time questioning the reasons behind the attacks. I only say that the response to this tragedy has not been a productive one.

Still, one has to admit that through all the bullshit, half-truths and skewed media reporting the attacks did have a visible effect on people. When they first happened, it was hard for me to comprehend that people would do this. Of course, people die in the Middle East daily through suicide bomb attacks and military operations but the idea of such an complex and audacious plan to be planned and carried out successfully literally freaked me the fuck out.

I don't purport to know everything. I know I don't. One thing I have learned is to question things. And I believe we should be spending less time asking "how" and more time asking "why".

I was asleep when the first plane hit. My parents woke me up, and I watched the news for about five minutes. I took a shower, and went back to watching the news. I was watching as the second plane hit. For hours, I was in denial--I simply couldn't comprehend the sheer madness of what had happened. Life almost seemed like a movie until reality sunk in at school--the reality that thousands of people had just died. I don't know what I felt then--I think I felt numb more than anything else. I felt disoriented and disconnected from the world, like Meursault in The Stranger. I later came to recognize that on that day, my life changed forever. I became a different person after witnessing such tragedy. Without religion, I previously had no way to rationalize such irrational death. I had to come up with one fast. I existentially decided that the lives of those who died had meaning, and that no-one lived without some purpose. I can't believe that that purpose is God's purpose, but I do think that everyone fulfills some purpose--that everyone affects the world while they are here. To me, that's enough to make anyone's life meaningful. To me, there wasn't simply a few buildings and planes destroyed that day--thousands of people who have changed the world lost their lives that day. That's what makes the tragedy of September 11, 2001 so meaningful.

I think that this has given me a new perspective on life. I have considered doing things to help others, rather than thinking about myself. I'd like to think that the tragedy has brought at least a small bit of meaning to my life--so at least some good could come of the needless deaths of so many.

I think about revenge, and whether we're capable of a revenge suited to America. We have to take the moral high ground, or we've got nothing at all. Lately I'm afraid we're losing what little we've got--I recently found a statistic that over 3,000 civilians were killed in Afghanistan as of last December.

I received this email a few months back…

Warning, warning, disclaimer required

"WAR ON TERROR NOT OVER YET" EMPEROR DECLARES

CORUSCANT-Presiding over a memorial service commemorating the victims of the attack on the Death Star, the Emperor declared that while recent victories over the Rebel Alliance were "encouraging, the War on Terror is not over yet."
"We will continue to fight these terrorists, and the rogue governments who harbour them, until the universe is safe, once and for all, and the security of the Neo-New Cosmik Order ensured."

It was one year ago today that the Death Star, perhaps the greatest symbol of the Empire's might, was destroyed in an attack by fanatic Rebels, who used small, single-person crafts to infiltrate seemingly impenetrable defences. Thousands of mourners were on hand to remember and pay tribute to the victims and their families.

"We lost our innocence that day," reflected one mourner. "I guess we thought we were immune from the kind of violence that happens in other galaxies. We were wrong." "I lost hundreds of buddies that day," said one teary-eyed Stormtrooper. "Guys whose only crime was trying make the Universe a safer place."

Although the day was coloured by sadness, the mourners found some relief in the news of a decisive victory over the Rebels. In an attack led by Darth Vader, Empire forces were able to rout hundreds of Rebels from a network of caves underneath the surface of the planet Hoth. "We're not sure we got them all," says a Vader spokesman. "There are a lot of places to hide in those caves. But we've delivered a powerful blow to the terrorist's infrastructure, that's for sure. Today, the Empire has struck back."

Initial reports are unclear as to the fate of Luke Skywalker, a hero among the Rebels, who is rumoured to have delivered the fatal blow to the Death Star. Skywalker, a former desert-dweller from the planet Tattooine, became a part of the Rebellion after family members were killed. Skywalker was trained by a militant wing of the Rebels, known as "Jedi Knights." Fanatical in their religious beliefs, the Jedi Knights claim to derive their power from the mystical "Force."

It's believed that Skywalker was specifically trained by infamous Terrorist O bin Wankanobi. Wankanobi, occasionally called "Ben" and easily recognised by his bearded visage and long, flowing robes, achieved near-martyr status among the Rebels after his death last year during a spy mission.

His more fervent followers believe that Wankanobi lives on within them today, some even claiming to hear his voice during times of duress. The attack on the Death Star came shortly after the Empire's destruction of Alderaan, a planet whose government was known to harbour terrorists.

Responding to criticism over the total annihilation of the planet, Vader stated, "There is no middle ground in the War on Terror. Those who harbour terrorists are terrorists themselves. Alderaan was issued ample warning. The fight for continuing Freedom is often burdened by terrible cost." The cost of this war can still be seen today in the continuing efforts to build a coalition government on Tattooine. Longstanding animosities among the planets various ethnic groups, including the Jawas, Tusken Raiders and scattered human settlers, have been an impediment to the peace process. The Empire continues to maintain a small peace keeping force until a provisional government is finally in place.

Much of the difficulty in fighting the Rebel forces stems from their lack of a central organising structure. "They don't play by the traditional rules of war," complained one spokesman. "They come in all shapes and sizes, united only by their single-minded desire to destroy the Empire before it destroys them."

The Emperor closed his comments today by stating that "the cowardly attack on the Death Star left a deep scar on the Empire. However, we will not stop fighting until every last evil doer has been brought to justice." He paused for several moments, wiping away a tear and then added with determination, "We will never forget."

"I wish we could all just get along," said one of the mourners. "But it's hard to offer an olive branch to a cult of religious fanatics whose main tool is violence and who insist on calling us the Dark Side."


No, it’s not trolling. I could rant and rave about the system, about my government racing cap in hand to be a US lackey and committing this country to a war that most of it’s citizens do not agree with. But what would that achieve? If I put it eloquently, a few people will nod, a few upvote, and those that disagree won’t change their minds anytime soon. We’ve heard it all before. We’ve made up our minds. But at least there's a grim giggle from the horror, and maybe hopefully someone, somewhere, will see things from another point of view

Pee ess Yes, I know it looks a tad insensitive here. But it seems appropriate. If someone can come up with somewhere EQUALLY RELEVANT to move it to, /msg me.

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