Sunday, 11 September 2011

9/11 - 2011.

September 11, 2001 is a moon landing or JFK assassination moment. 'Do you remember where you were when...?' I suppose earlier generations had them too and have often wondered what they may have been. Probably where you were when you heard that Chamberlain had declared war or, earlier still, when you got your first buboe. My 9/11 memory is not that exciting but still very clear.

I was living in Toowong, across from the old ABC studios. My father had been in the ground a week, I was off sick with a cold and had gone to bed at 10.30pm. As was common back then, I was drifting off to the ambient noise of the BBC World Service when an announcer broke into the scheduled program to say that a plane had flown into the World Trade Center. My first thought was an aircraft along the lines of a Cessna or Piper Cherokee, and while I imagined such a collision to be pretty bad, in my drowsy, feverish and medicated state gave it scant attention. Then the phone rang. It was my friend Chris, who told me to turn on Channel 10. Immediately it became apparent that this was a hell of a lot more serious than I'd first imagined. Chris and I chatted for a few minutes, then the second plane struck. The anchor didn't notice it at first but we did and after a moment of paralysing shock it became apparent that this was deliberate. Once we'd both absorbed what was happening, my first comment was, 'How many more are there?' Once the culprits and motives were established, my fear was that rabid anger and bloodlust would replace the wholly understandable grief and introspection.

It's ten years on. The fear that America's reaction would be one of revenge rather than collective soul-searching came to pass. One semi-literate president, a man who made incredibly large errors, was wrongly branded evil. Another president, regarded by some as a new hope and by others as a radical Muslim socialist, is neither. In 2011, America's economy is in a parlous state and both Republicans and Democrats are to blame, the nation is still mired in the conflicts that arose from the events of September 11 and a pall hangs over a truly great country.

The whole world will remember 9/11/2001 today, as it has every year since it happened, yet the remembrance is not without controversy. New York's official service has gone ahead with no official religious representation and this has caused ire among the religious, despite the fact that the ceremony will be similar to those on every anniversary. Under the circumstances, it's probably best that pastors and priests and rabbis stay away from the lectern. If it weren't for certain people's misguided belief in a god, those four planes that took off from America's eastern seaboard would have reached their scheduled destinations and none of this would have happened. Nearly 3000 people died on 9/11 and countless more have died as a result. Millions of lives have been negatively affected all because a few glazed, brainwashed retards fell for some extremist bullshit and murdered in the name of their god. It's time to reintroduce the notion that, in order to avoid calamities of this nature, bronze-aged mythology must be eschewed in favour of reason, compassion and love.