9/11 A monumental confusion

‘… instead of planes and skyscrapers, it has Yoko Ono’s “Wish Tree,” on which you can hang little tags with your ideas for world peace … ‘

There has been an outpouring of reflection and commentary on the tragedy of the 9/11 attacks on New York in the media. It is a very mixed bag.

Views predictably alternate between the dominant political orthodoxy that basically considers America got what it deserved — Waleed Aly’s seemingly ‘impartial’ po-mo view in The Sunday Age that both sides were just as wrong, citing bin Laden himself,  “As you spoil or security, we will do so to you” — to the fortunately clearer moral view of Christopher Hitchens — “It’s simple really: this was a totalitarian outrage”.

Hitchens aknowledges that “public intellectuals often feel an obligation to introduce complexities into their arguments but he is very clear on this issue.

But what I learned in a highly indelible manner from the events and arguments of September 2001 was this: never, ever ignore the obvious either. To the government and most of the people of the US, it seemed that the country on 9/11 had been attacked in a particularly odious way (air piracy used to maximise civilian casualties) by a particularly odious group (a secretive and homicidal gang: part multinational corporation, part crime family) that was sworn to a medieval cult of death; a hatred of Jews, a religious frenzy against Hindus, Christians, Shi’ite Muslims and “unbelievers”; and the restoration of a long-vanished and despotic empire.

Added to this, another outstanding piece by Mark Steyn critiques the US paralysis with political correctness and its curious concern for, of all things, inclusiveness. The  comments in this latest essay echo the frustration and fury felt in his new book After America. He summarises the present spate of reflections on the New York attack thus: “We retreat to equivocation, cultural self-loathing, and utterly fraudulent misrepresentation of 9/11.” He asks how we in Australia and other American allies are remembering the real victims of 9/11.

How are America’s allies remembering the real victims of 9/11? “Muslim Canucks Deal with Stereotypes Ten Years After 9/11,” reports CTV in Canada. And it’s a short step from stereotyping to criminalizing. “How the Fear of Being Criminalized Has Forced Muslims into Silence,” reports the Guardian in Britain. In Australia, a Muslim terrorism suspect was so fearful of being criminalized and stereotyped in the post-9/11 epidemic of paranoia that he pulled a Browning pistol out of his pants and hit Sgt. Adam Wolsey of the Sydney constabulary. Fortunately, Judge Leonie Flannery acquitted him of shooting with intent to harm on the grounds that “‘anti-Muslim sentiment’ made him fear for his safety,” as Sydney’s Daily Telegraph reported on Friday. That’s such a heartwarming story for this 9/11 anniversary they should add an extra panel to the peace quilt, perhaps showing a terror suspect opening fire on a judge as she’s pronouncing him not guilty and then shrugging off the light shoulder wound as a useful exercise in healing and unity.

The rage and indignation goes on. It is a satisfying corrective to all the drivel we read about the importance of  ‘understanding’ these homicidal fanatics.  Steyn gives us an insight into what is wrong with Western culture. He sarcastically concludes:

In the weeks after 9/11, Americans were enjoined to ask, “Why do they hate us?” A better question is: “Why do they despise us?” And the quickest way to figure out the answer is to visit the Peace Quilt and the Wish Tree, the Crescent of Embrace and the Hole of Bureaucratic Inertia.

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One Response to “9/11 A monumental confusion”

  1. FatherJon Says:

    I’ve never been a supporter of US foreign policy and its support of despotic regimes around the world, while it suited them!
    But I found that 9/11 attack the most horrendous, unjustifiable event EVER! I fully sympathise with the dead and their families and had no problems with the initial attacks on Tora Bora as a response.
    However, they’ve finally eliminated the grand architect, so it’s time to get the hell out of the ‘stans and let them sort themselves out. We’ve just become more entrenched in a sinking situation in Pakistan, and by supporting Karzai and his klepto family. Now, we’re worried about Pakistan’s nuclear bombs falling into the wrong hands…….it just goes on and on.

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