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.

3 Responses

  1. tj

    You have made a huge critical generalization of Americans. I may have been sympathetic to your bitterness towards America but that is not who you aim your anger.

    Clearly time and again it is Americans who are nauseating and self-righteous. You blame the whole of the people for the actions of a government you abhor.

    You speak as if we are all the same and blindly accept and applaud the actions of our government and the media that covers it.

    You are a educated and worldly man I should not have to remind you of the diversity of the peoples of a country whether it be America, North Korea or Finland.

    I should not have to tell you about the goodness that is in the hearts of most people regardless of nationality or country.

    I should not have to tell you of the pain, anger and dismay many Americans feel about the atrocities in this world whether they be on American soil or across the seas.

    And I apoligize now for telling you anything because you did not ask for my thoughts but nonetheless I am compelled.

    I do not intend to change your mind or lesson your bitterness I only want you to know I am one American of millions who pray daily for people who live beyond our borders.

    There is no perfectly functioning government on this earth. With this statement I do not excuse the abhorrent actions of America or any other country I only remind you that greed, thirst for power and corruption has no borders.

    Many American citizens disagree with the actions our goverment takes on many issues aside from war. Many of us strive to make the world a better place.

    Your words of hate towards America are an example of ‘why things turn toward tragedy rather than wisdom, growth and learning.’ Rather then aiming your bitter words at a government who is wrong you strike out at the people on a whole. Words are powerful and words of hate and intolerance fuel wars your words perpetuate and further the violence.

    I do not know you. I only know what you say here but what I see is not a person who is a ‘bleeding heart dreamer’ A person such as this recognizes the goodness that is inherent in most peoples.

    You have given me something new to pray for.

  2. Pica

    I remember feeling totally alienated after September 11. There were American flags everywhere. People put them in shop windows, in their cars, in front of their houses. They were being “patriotic.”

    I grew up in a fascist country (Spain). When I see flags of any kind, a red flag goes up for me. It’s frightening, it’s a reminder of the ugly spectre of nationalism that lurks below the surface. I agree with TJ that lots of Americans do not behave or think like our government. But we got lost in the welter of flag-waving jingoism. It was not safe to express a different point of view. Just as, Butuki, it was not safe for you to do so in this post….

  3. lourdes cuadra

    After Sept.11 I saw Flags like never before,to me it became Idolotry. It became a reason to commit hate crimes,to go to War and kill innocent people. I wonder who they worship in this Country. Is it Mars the Roman God of War? Is it Money,with “In God We Trust” on a dollar bill? To preserve our way of life we are abusing people all over the world, this is not the kind of life I want to preserve.