Posted by: gdevi | September 11, 2011

Obituary: Refusal to Mourn One

All day I have been formulating in my mind to myself why I find this media anniversary of September 11th, immoral in some sense. My reservations about this media event became clear to me when I heard bits and pieces of President Obama’s speech. American boys and girls who were born after the September 11th crime in New York city and Pennsylvania will now know the Middle East as the place with which America is at war. That is all they would know of an entire region, of an entire people.  The people who killed their father or mother or uncle or aunt. What should be unbearably painful private losses to mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues have been turned into particular “American” losses by this President and the media. Moreover, we have killed so many people because of this crime ourselves since September 2001. Like a few other people–this is the minority report– I see the September 11 bombings as a crime just as the bombing of the Oklahoma federal building was a crime–where is the anniversary for that? Rather than mourn the common human denominator of suffering, American media, American politicians and even the American president faltering under poor public ratings have once again cemented this crime as a civilizational conflict between America and the Middle East. We have done unspeakable things in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world. But these media remembrances or even this President’s speech never drew any parallels between the suffering of people all over the world with the suffering of Americans who lost their families and friends to this criminal act. No parallels at all. It was unbelievable to me then and it is even more painfully unbelievable to me now why we attacked Iraq and Afghanistan. Without any war, with the help of the country’s government, the US administration did catch the perpetrators of this crime in Pakistan last year. We could have pursued the same strategy right after the criminal event had occurred. But we didn’t. We went to war and we have the deaths of many many many of our own people on our hands, and that of many many many Iraqis and Afghanis, both soldiers and civilians. We have more than duked it out in the desert.

I, for one, will mourn these deaths, all of these deaths, these crimes privately in my heart.  All of those people who died, both here in the US and overseas because of the wars, are one with Nature now, or whatever metaphysical spirit you believe in. There is no “American” zone where the American dead with their extinguished breaths go. The dead souls are all together. If we mourn one, we should mourn them all.

Dew evaporates;

And all our world is dew.

So fast, so fresh, so fleeting.

(Kobayashi Issa on the death of his son)


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