While the passing of the second year following the New York tragedy still hovers over American minds, I wandered around a bit through the internet, perusing what people might be saying about it. As expected the Net, press, and television are inundated with the same old American self-pity and “we had it worse than anyone else in history” mumbo-jumbo. The sentimentalism is cloying, the excuses nauseating, and the self-righteousness impossible to sympathize with.
Here is an excerpt from the New York Times article Foreign Views of U.S. Darken Since Sept. 11:
“Even at this low point, millions of people [in the rest of the world, outside the Unitted States] still see the United States as a beacon and support its policies, including the war in Iraq, and would, given the chance, be happy to become Americans themselves.”
This is what Americans have to read. Coming from the New York Times they might very well believe such doublespeak as the whole truth.
From the very first hour after the New York tragedy I, and millions of other people around the world, cautioned people I spoke and wrote to not to succumb to their feelings of bloodlust and revenge, and not to be bamboozled by the rhetoric of the American government. Now many of those same people who supported both the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are voicing shock that they had been “mislead”.
It boggles my mind. Just how stupid and gullible are people? Why wasn’t it obvious to everyone from the beginning that things would turn out the way they have? Why must such things turn toward tragedy rather than wisdom, growth and learning? How long must the whole mess go on before more tragedies and loss render the whole thing unbearable? And why would anyone, anyone, accept any further killing, of any kind, of anybody?
So many people I wrote to on the internet who disagreed with me told me that I was a bleeding heart dreamer. One “friend” told me that I was “gloating” over the New York tragedy (…my mother lives in central Manhattan and I will never forget the tremor in her terrified voice and the barely controlled weeping on the phone when I managed to get through a few days later…). I lost a few American friends who simply could not accept my criticism of the U.S. government. All for what?
I made myself a promise not to write about such things in this journal, because in part it just helps to support the undeserved focus on the dialogue that Americans are forcing on the world, and also because I believe that talking about such things without compassion or listening does absolutely nothing to make the world a better place, but just this once, perhaps to touch on the awful effects that the New York tragedy had, I’m letting a bubble escape from Nemo’s submarine, to let it break upon the surface as a little squeak.
I pray for peace and tolerance in the whole world, not just the United States. And I pray that Americans can eventually see that there are other places in the world that people also aspire to besides America. And finally I want to take a moment of silence for all the tragedies that have occurred throughout the world, not just the New York tragedy, one of many.