Archive for July 24th, 2011
I’m all for remembering, but only as long as remembering is emotionally healthy and oriented to an optimistic future.
About 15 years ago, I met a young man in a civil war museum in Virginia. Unprovoked, he stated that he was angry at “the North” because the North had defeated the South–and his great great great [great?] grandfather had “fought bravely for the South. He was visibly angry as he told me these things. It was pathetic to see someone so consumed and defined the American Civil War. His way of remembering had trapped him in an endless cycle of anger.
In an article in Harper’s Magazine (August 2011) titled “After 9/11: The Limits of Remembrance,” David Rieff has expressed concern that many Americans are “remembering” 9/11 in accordance with the official George W. Bush explanation from 2001: We were attacked “because the terrorists hate our freedoms–our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other.” This form of “remembrance” has no room for any possibility that the attack was provoked, even in part, in response to the constant meddling in the Middle East by the United States, going back at least as far as 1953’s “
Seumas Milne of the U.K. Guardian puts things into perspective:
Murdoch’s overweening political influence has long been recognised, from well before Tony Blair flew to Australia in 1995 to pay public homage at his corporate court. What has been less well understood is how close-up and personal the pressure exerted by his organisation has been throughout public life. The fear that those who crossed him would be given the full tabloid treatment over their personal misdemeanours, real or imagined, has proved to be a powerful Mafia-like racket. It was the warning that News International would target their personal lives that cowed members of the Commons culture and media committee over pressing their investigation into phone hacking too vigorously before the last election.
Forty-five people were murdered in the United States yesterday (16,591 homicides for the year 2009). And another forty-five will be murdered tomorrow. And another forty-five every day of the year and next year and next year.
What happened in Norway was terrible. A Christian extremist named Anders Breivik killed 91 people.* It was clearly a massacre. Here in the United States, we have a massacre the size of Norway’s every other day, but we don’t call it a “massacre” because the killings aren’t as geographically clustered–but then again, many of them are clustered in the inner cities of America. And if we don’t call it a “massacre,” we don’t feel as compelled to do something to stop the killings. Something simple like calling off the “war on drugs.”
For anyone who objects that I’ve called the Norwegian killer a “Christian,” I’m willing to make a deal. Next time a Muslim inflicts violence in America, will you agree that you won’t describe him as a Muslim when you describe his conduct? That would avoid a double-standard. Deal?