Friday, September 9, 2011

9 11 10

There is so much talk of the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at the moment.  At the risk of sounding callous I find myself a bit over it (or overwhelmed by it?).....and I wonder why "we" so desperately want to make a big deal about this?

It was, no doubt, an horrific moment in history.  For my generation it is one of those seminal moments when people remember where they were and what they were doing...... like when JFK was shot for the generation before us.  That is if you are from a first world, westernised country (and in the case of 9/11, an Arab country).   I know where I was.

Because let's be honest for millions of people it was just an event in a distant land.

It strikes me that this re-hashing, re-living, re-looking at the images serves a political agenda and serves to justify the actions of some western countries since 9/11.  Actions that have brought much suffering, much death, cost bazillions and brought little peace or security to any nation involved.

I know the quote that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it and I know there was much heroism and self-sacrifice that day and that for many it is indelibly imprinted on their lives and families, on whole cities and even the nation of America.  I read this week that up to 80,000 people in New York still have PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) from the images they saw first hand that day, from the sounds they heard, from the stress they felt.  How do you recover from something like that?  How does the almost constant replaying of those images and sounds help these people?  And doesn't it expose a whole new generation to the trauma?

Truly I don't think anyone who wasn't there will ever really "get it".

I remember when I came to live in Canada for a year after finishing Grade 12 (back in the 80's) I realised I had no idea about the impact of  the Vietnam war on Canadians/Americans. I went to the Kerrisdale branch of the VPL and searched out books explaining what happened.  Equally so, my peers here in Canada had little to no knowledge of the apartheid regime in South Africa and all it's abominable implications.  I guess what I am saying is that these events are all relative to where you are and who you are.  I am sure not everyone reading this blog is being saturated with 9/11 memorials, tv specials, radio specials, newspaper special editions as we are here in North America. 

I know that grieving takes it's own unique path and for many many people they are still on that journey since 9/11.  I don't think anyone will ever forget it, many will never forgive it, some will continue to exploit it but my own hope and prayer is that some will find healing and peace and that the remembering will spur us on to find new ways to live together on this earth that was given to us to take care of,  not tear apart.

Jack Layton, a Canadian political leader who died recently penned a  letter to our nation on the eve of his death...the world could do worse than heed his words........

"My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world."

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