9/11 - Part XI
September 11th, 2012 | Back to Blog Listing


The paper from 11 years ago.

It was a year ago today that I posted on my Facebook wall: "I fucking hate 9/11 and everything about it." It was an honest feeling about the 10th anniversary of the American tragedy. Perhaps not surprising, I was met with some pretty strong views from both sides. A few in agreement appreciated the bluntness, but a few in disagreement were furious at my callousness.

Contrary to what the latter group may have assumed at the time, my position was not intended as one of rudeness. It was not intended as a lack of sympathy for mourners. And it was certainly not intended as a childish outburst of disrespect for the deceased.

Instead, it was an introspective position questioning very sincerely what 9/11 actually does mean to America. Not what we'd like it to mean, but rather the meaning it takes on given our actions as a nation. Why can't I "fucking hate" 9/11? Why is that so wrong?

In the 11 years since the towers were brought down, I would like to think that the United States has progressed in wisdom and maturity. I would like to think that the majority of people have become more knowledgeable and less ethnocentric in their ways. But I am also very aware that this is far from reality. People are becoming more and more divided on a daily basis. The United States military is involved in numerous conflicts with sovereign nations around the Middle East, and despite what the President claims, withdrawing from the region seems very unlikely any time soon. The rich continue getting richer and the poor continue getting poorer. And worst of all is that with the exception of fringed political dissenters (both left and right), nobody really seems to care enough to change anything. Hell, most people probably don't even notice.

In my eyes, the United States is the antiquated representation of a former greatness. Where innovation once stood now stands blind corporatism in its place. Where soldiers and police once honorably defended philosophical values now stands blind militarism, used for defending only value itself. Where liberty once stood now stands an army of lobbyists, increasingly proficient at penetrating our three branches of government. And atop the entire chain is the media, always there to remind us that it's the fault of someone else; we are every bit as good to the world as we think we are.

We now live in a country where it's borderline treason to question anything that lead to the events of 9/11. Never mind questioning the conspiracy theories, but even the underlying motives of the hijackers remains a socially condemned topic in most discussions. The population remains willfully oblivious to the fact that we've been dropping bombs on the Middle East for decades without consequence. And of course to most people, it's impossible to believe that we are directly responsible for arming and using the Taliban to stifle the Russians, now one of the very groups we're allegedly seeking to destroy. Still, my personal favorite is that while we continue to wage wars and conflicts with Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Egypt, Syria, and soon-to-be Iran, we still enjoy relative peace with Saudi Arabia, ignoring the fact that 15 of the 19 hijackers actually were citizens of the country.

My effort is not to denigrate the lives of 2,977 innocent Americans killed by such evil intentions, but to force the issue of why we should ignore the more than 120,000 equally innocent that we have killed in reckless retaliation since.

The United States is a land of opportunity, and there is no tragedy too great for this mantra. We sell t-shirts, stickers, cigarette lighters, pins, coffee mugs, patches, plates, and truckloads of other petty memorabilia embroidered with this notorious day. We can buy 9/11 in a dozen different colors, we just can't talk about it quite as colorfully. This is how we choose to "honor" the memories of those who died because this truly is the character of the United States. We're materialistic in every way imaginable, and it couldn't be illustrated any better than on a day such as this. People were literally blown to pieces in the sky. Rescue workers were literally crushed to death by falling steel, concrete, and debris. Innocent men and women literally jumped to their untimely deaths to escape the horrors of being burned alive by jet fuel. And so to memorialize these people, we find it in good taste to purchase tiny plastic replicas of the buildings bearing the words "Never Forget" across the front, and "Made in China" underneath. We are truly surreal.

So when I wrote "I fucking hate 9/11 and everything about it" on the 10 year anniversary of the tragedy, I genuinely meant it. And one year later, I still do. If we truly honored the deceased as we pretend to do, we would ALL "fucking hate" 9/11. This is the natural human response towards any tragedy, especially one of such magnitude. Instead we're taught to embrace the moment as some kind of half-time pep rally while we continue to sign the rights of the country away to the highest bidder. I suspect very sincerely that before this chapter in history is all over, we'll learn to fucking hate 9/11.