Saturday, September 10, 2011

So, tomorrow is September 11th . . .

The American media seems to have decided to make this a 9-11 Weekend.  It's a little disturbing.  There are 9-11 programs on television and even a website where you can write down what you will be doing to commemorate the event.  I have to say, I find it a bit bizarre. 

Do you want to know what I will be doing to "commemorate" 9-11?  Absolutely nothing.  While I am sad for the people who died, I refuse to commemorate a terrorist attack.  I will go about my business, as usual, because otherwise, the terrorists have won.  America has gone from an open and free country to a country that fears Muslims and takes away civil liberties with the Patriot Act.  We've gone from a country with admittedly lax air security to a country that makes you take off your shoes and practically get molested to board an airplane.

Maybe I'm different from most Americans because I grew up in the Middle East.  I remember flying during the heyday of plane bombings and hijackings in Europe.  I even remember dates other than 9-11 such as February 26, 1993.  That's the date the World Trade Center was bombed, by foreign terrorists, with backing from Khaled Sheikh Mohammed.  But very few people died, so we don't remember that day.  I remember.  I remember because after that, I kept expecting another foreign terrorist attack.  I was surprised it didn't happen until 2001.
I have a few more dates I'd like to throw out here.  Let's start with the big one, which most Americans under the age of 50 don't remember anymore. "A day that will live in infamy," December 7, 1941.  That's when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor and the US entered World War II.

Or, how about April 19, 1995.  That was domestic terrorism - the Oklahoma City bombing.  But less than 200 people died and the terrorist was quickly tried and executed, so I guess we can forget about that.

How about something more recent?  August 23, 2005.  That's Hurricane Katrina.  Almost 2,000 people died.  But that was just a natural disaster, not a planned terror attack.

The Middle East Institute blog has a good post that explains some of the reasons behind the 9-11 commemorations.  I guess the major point is that America has seen terrorism as something that happens "over there."  It certainly doesn't happen on our shores.  And if it does, it's one of us who did it.  Not those foreigners.  So 9-11 was a major shock to most Americans.

Anyway, I hope this post doesn't come across as bashing the 9-11 commemorations.  I may disagree with them, but I do agree that the attacks were horrible and I feel sad for those who lost family and friends in them.  But this huge commemorative weekend just strikes me as wrong.  You can go online to see the 9/11 Memorial.

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