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.