Saturday, 11 September 2010

9/11 9 years on

Nine years after 19 Islamists destroyed the World Trade Center and 3,000 people within them, Americans are still coming to terms with the attack, the attackers, and the reasons for the attack—and with America’s own responses to that attack, both foreign and domestic.

The foreign response has immediate, bellicose, and misdirected. The domestic response is ineffectual, confused, and (even when it is positive) moves with glacial slowness.  Nine years after the World Trade Center was destroyed, its replacement is finally—finally!—emerging from the rubble. The New York Times has a great four-part presentation hosted by reporter David W. Dunlap showing the rather sombre rebuilding.  “When are they going to start rebuilding at Ground Zero? They have!”  Thank goodness. [Thanks to reader Russell W. for the link.] Watch progress (and the lights)at the Ground Zero web cam. [Hat tip Rational Jenn]


And what about the psychological responses to a war long declared but still unacknowledged? To policy both confused and myopic? On this note, on this now sanctified day of remembrance in a war declared in the name of  Islam (but still undeclared and largely unrecognised by western leaders), this thoughtful reflection by “a liberal Democrat,” writer Pamela Sutton, is worth reading, and contemplating.

There was nothing religious about the Twin towers, but it was sacred ground to me. I have never been able to return to New York City. The pain is still too fresh; too deep. Have nine years gone by? I’ve hardly noticed…

America, likewise, is stuck in a frozen prism of confused loyalties. We’re trying to move forward and backwards simultaneously. Our country is treading through congealed slush in the ice floes of polarized vision. America has no unified sense of itself, and our actions bear this out. America is trying to win a war in Afghanistan while building mosques in New York City. Presidents proclaim “Islam is peaceful,” while driving unmanned explosive drones into Pakistani mountain villages. America is obsessed with arresting and deporting illegal aliens, while simultaneously trying to embrace Islam with open arms -- no questions asked. It’s politically correct to ask if western governmental models can work in the Middle East, but it’s a hate crime to ask if Islam can ever be compatible with western democracy. Last week in Europe I stepped back from America and took a long, hard look. What I observed was confusion…

Today I received my copy of Time magazine. The cover reads: “Is America Islamophobic?” Before flipping to the article, I have a better question: “Are Muslims Islamophobic?” The unspoken answer would be “Yes.” As American troops packed up and left Iraq on Aug. 25, at least 53 Iraqi civilians were killed and 270 wounded in coordinated suicide bombings targeting Iraqi security forces throughout their country. According to Saleh Khamis, a 38-year-old teacher in Buhriz, Iraq, these attacks are “just the beginning of the storm…

Is America “Islamaphobic?” If not, we’re doomed…

Instead of burning a Koran to commemorate 9/11, as pastor Terry Jones from Gainesville is advocating, I suggest that Americans read a Koran, along with a few basic history books. As repulsive and hateful as “Pastor” Jones of the “Dove World Outreach Center” may be, the difference between him and Islamic extremists is that he is not promoting “behead an Imam day.” Spend 9/11 in a library. America needs to understand Islam in all of its complex-refracting-Medieval-nihilistic facets before we decide it’s politically correct to embrace a religion that, for as long I can remember, has wreaked terror, death, and misogyny throughout the Middle East, North and South Africa, Central Asia, Indonesia, Israel, America, and Europe.
    On 9/11 America was blindsided by Islamic extremism; and America is still deeply confused. America is as confused as airline passengers whose plane has just been hijacked. Except the plane hasn’t just been hijacked; it’s been turned into a suicide bomb. And unless we make informed decisions about Islam, our moment of epiphany will be our last.

Lest we forget.


1 comment:

  1. Excellent commentary, especially the penultimate paragraph.

    Understanding that evil philosophy is half the battle to defeating it, and one that has barely begun in America.


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