Photo credit: Emanuele Satolli, Time
I promised myself I wasn’t going to write about September 11, but sometimes you see something that is just so stupid and infuriating, it brings the whole fuckin’ thing rushing back. Thanks Facebook, for this little turd:
I’m going to set aside for a moment that the original poster is clearly writing about American politicians who are not only Muslims but women, like Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, and is essentially contradicting his (or her) own “thesis,” to the extent that there is one. What am I supposed to “never forget”?”
I’ll never forget that a pal of mine from high school died, that I spent a week or so trying to find out if other friends were dead too, and that I got to hear all sorts of traumatic horror stories from friends who lived through it. My kid’s mom, it turns out, was evacuated from the WTC and put on a ferry across the Hudson to NJ. My friend Rupa’s then-fiancee walked from WTC Plaza to the school where she worked near Central Park, covered with dust and debris, to let her know he was alive—there’s a story I’ll never forget. My friend Claiborne’s brother narrowly missed being in one of the buildings when he showed up late for a meeting, but was unable to get through to his family until 6 PM—they all thought he was dead.
I can’t forget how I’d go up to NYC for band practice, and everywhere it was nothing but fliers reading “have you seen me?” The subways—both the trains and the stations—were wallpapered with fliers. I remember standing on a wharf in Brooklyn looking south and you could still see the smoke rising, weeks after the attack, and there were piles of charred paper everywhere. That was pretty unforgettable.
But here’s some other shit I’ll never forget.
I’ll never forget that every goddamn Republican with a war boner—and more than a few Democrats as well, but mostly the GOP—decided they and they ALONE spoke for NYC, the city that party typically holds up (and still do) as a punching bag of “liberal values” that are “out of step” with the “heartland.” And it’s hard to forget that whoever posted this to begin with is without a doubt one of those people that has taken a few rhetorical punches at “libruls.”
Today those same pieces of shit are out there making pious “never forget” remarks, when it took Jon Stewart—a goddamn comedian— to get them to FINALLY pass a 9/11 responders fund THIS YEAR, which until just a FEW WEEKS AGO was blocked by good ol’ Mitch McConnell, super patriot.
So yeah, I haven’t forgotten that either.
I also haven’t forgotten that several months after the attacks, America learned that President George W. Bush ignored warnings that bin Laden was determined to strike inside the US, with airplanes. Or that the attacks were used to gin up a war with Iraq which had nothing to do with September 11. Or that our civil liberties were dramatically curtailed, and remain so. Or that we killed innocent people with bombs and guns, and tortured other innocent people for trying to kick an occupying force out of their country, a country that—again—had nothing to do with September 11. Or that we basically lost that entire misbegotten war after expending so much blood and treasure. Can’t forget that.
And I can’t forget that to this day, racists and bigots and warmongers drag out those 3,000 corpses and those tons of concrete and steel, and bludgeon the rest of us over the head, like clockwork every fuckin’ year, here comes Santa Claus with a load of broken lives, dead bodies, and scarring memories and all he wants in return is your hatred, just a little bit. Never forget.
But they’re not calling on us to “never forget” the sacrifices of first responders or the people who died: the actions of these fake patriots give the lie to those words. If anything, it’s a call for even MORE war, this time against some of our own people who happen to share a religion with the 9/11 attackers, just as many Christians happen to share a religion with those who bomb abortion clinics.
It’s a little much for me to see all the “never forget” crap from people who spit on New York City (and its “liberal values that are out of step with the heartland”) the other 364 days of the year.
But you know what? It’s the rank hypocrisy that I can’t forget the most.