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September 11, 2003

A Dissent from 911 Rememberance

The families and friends of those who died on September 11, 2001 deserve all the compassion possible.

But for the rest of us, there is a point where narcissistic "rememberance" of one group of victims, if unaccompanied by compassion for others who suffer in the world, becomes nearly hateful in its averted eyes and our inaction in the fact of their deaths.

Yes, 3000 people died on 911.


2 million people die every year globally from preventable tuberculosis.

2.2 million people, mostly children, die annually from diarrhea.

1.5 to 2.7 million die annually from malaria.

Congo: In two years, from 1998 to 2000, 2,300,000 people died in just five provinces of Congo due to war and disease-- 200,000 were due to acts of direct violence.

Sudan: Civil war led over the last 17 years to 2 million deaths from war-related famine, disease and casualties.

Uganda: 5000 children have been abducted in the last year to be turned into foot soldiers for the Christian terrorist army, the Lord's Resistance Army.

Iraq: 5000 to 10,000 civilian Iraqis were killed by the US during the recent war.

When 911 happened, it seemed like America was opening up its heart to identify with other victims of violence around the world. But with the cynical opportunism of Bush, that was quickly converted into arrogant self-interested vigilantism. And so other deaths around the world have remained marginalized, as if they have no relation to why violence might happen to us.

There is nothing wrong with mourning one's own deaths and suffering. As an old saying goes, "If I am not for myself, who will be?"

But the second part of that saying goes, "But if I am only for myself, who am I?"

Who is America this second anniversary, arrogantly going it alone in the world, ignoring others' suffering so casually and consistently?

Posted by Nathan at September 11, 2003 08:15 AM