I picked this photo off the Internet five years ago. It always made me uneasy somehow, and I'm not sure why. Too glib? Too irreverent? Too morbid?
I don't know. But I kept it. Now I know why. Because, five years later, it's the question I ask the perpetrators of 911. Leaving aside the myriad conspiracy theories, let's assume the official story (Osama bin Laden & al Qaeda) is the truth. How many Muslim deaths have resulted from that one outrageous act? Tens of thousands, we're told. Was it worth it? Has the situation of any Muslims throughout the world changed for the better because of it? Is death really a victory?
But meanwhile, I have a question for the US and the rest of the west too. Was/Is our response really the correct one? The number of American soldiers killed in Iraq has already exceeded the number of those who were killed in the World Trade Center.
I remember saying to many people at the time that I thought that the American people were essentially good-hearted, open-hearted, generous people. They didn't deserve this. And yet, somehow they (or their governments) lacked skilfull means. Even before 911, I thought that so many actions of the government with respect to foreign policy were wrong-headed. Not just Bush. Or Clinton. Or Reagan. Or Whoever. Historically wrong-headed is what I mean. So that what often presented itself was US support of brutality and dictatorship, rather than the fine spirit of the American people.
So what happened after 911? Two countries were invaded, one of which didn't really have anything to do with 911. And the other has been a pit of quicksand for successive invaders over decades. And occupiers are rarely popular.
911 shut me up for a long time. There was nothing to say when compared to the insanity of it, the hatred, and the subsequent rage for revenge. Really, it's a sadder, more constrained world we live in now. Perhaps that was the goal. Nothing succeeds like excess.