i dread 9/11 each year and all the outpouring of manufactured grief (from the media, corporations, etc), all focused in on one event in the grand scheme of horrible things. it all comes down to such a narrow focus- no consideration of how these events affected people globally.
i remember where i was on 9/11/01, as so many facebook posts have implored me to do. that morning i was woke up by a friend in my pennsylvania dorm room, banging on my door. i was dead asleep and my roommate was at class. he told me that the buildings were being evacuated because of a terrorist attack. a plane had crashed in shanksville, PA. i didn't know where that was.
i remember throwing on some clothes and forgetting to put a bra on. i eventually found my friends and we sat on the grass. everyone was outside . .. i remember thinking, weren't we all sitting ducks exposed like this? i called my boyfriend a bunch of times, wanting to hear him. . . i tried calling ali and another friend i had in ny but couldn't get through to any ny people (from what i recall). i felt strangely peaceful despite all the chaos, people crying, holding hands, praying. my atheism felt stronger than ever at that moment- i told the group i was sitting with, "Just because we might die today doesn't mean I'm suddenly going to find God." I still stand by that statement. I got some dirty looks for that one.
At that point in my life, i cared very little for myself- death didn't seem frightening to me. i had spent the majority of my 19 year old life wishing i was dead, so it wasn't that overwhelming to me on that level. i had believed in a anarchy since i was a young teen, believing in revolution on a political and societal level. riot grrls. punk rock. that was my life. i spent the next years wholeheartedly supporting the many musicians and writers who critically examined this event. i was at huge anti-war protests, with a black bandanna around my face, marching with the anarchists. i had my "fuck racial profiling" sign. i had such passion for change, and it wore me down when i saw no results. it hurt me to know the suffering that still continued in the world. i lost hope in anything getting better for a couple of years. my personal life didn't help one bit. i was hopeless, in many ways.
10 years later, i still feel that dissent and need for revolution. the difference is that i treasure every day of my life now. i don't hold the same degree of nihilism i once did. i care if i die- and hope i get the chance to be a grumpy old cat lady, scaring the neighbors on halloween. i will always fight for my beliefs, but not just out of anger. i feel some of that hope again after advocating for and truly helping the clients i work for, on a micro and macro level. i've gotten back that genuine desire and belief that things can get better- if we make them better.
9/11 pisses me off for a variety of reasons. i think it was a tragic event, of course- some fashion mag i was reading recently had a whole section of letters from the families of 9/11 victims to their loved one. it brought me to tears.
i get pissed by the naivety of most Americans, who thought we were somehow special and would never have any repercussions for our own aims of world domination/exploitation/destruction. none of those people deserved to die. . .but none of the people who have died everyday for years due to stupid and misguided wars do either. remember the individuals who have been detained and abused for being brown in a fear-fueled country (some of them kids). and of course, remember the many people tortured by American soldiers.
i despise the politicians who have exploited the deaths of Americans and ignored the deaths of thousands of non-Americans to keep or gain political office. See the Family Guy- 9/11 on hulu.
And finally, stores make me sick with their 9/11 merchandise. Remember Veronica Mars? When the kids went off the cliff and Kevin Smith was selling miniature buses and tee shirts commemorating the day in his gas station?
Some critical thinking never hurt anyone. . . there is a lot to "never forget" about today.