Sunday, September 11, 2011


“If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”  -Thomas Jefferson

The event of 9/11 was an American disgrace not a tragedy.

“Tragedy” has become such a misused and misapplied word that is has lost its real meaning, depriving it of its seriousness and human dignity.  It has become a term to cover every form of loss of human life regardless of the circumstances, from accidental drowning to car accidents.

The classics say otherwise. Oedipus, the main character in classic Greek tragedy, is visited by a fate of misfortune and misery not because of unexpected, unconnected circumstances out of his control in life, but by his own doings. Oedipus is not altogether an innocent victim of fate.

In the classical sense tragedy occurs when a character brings upon himself a turn of fortune (usually from good to bad). We observe how a character makes mistakes upon mistakes trying to fix a dealt bad hand and is not able to see the complex compilation of those mistakes in his future.  Pride plays a central role in tragedy, as it does not allow the character the moral judgment necessary to see his predicament. 

The audience fears and at the same time feels pity for the character, and even cheers for him and hopes that in the end he can break from the logical but ominous path he have set for himself.  We know our character is not a bad person, just simply blind. In the end, we are able to release the tension the play creates in us because a tragedy bring us healing, but only if one is able to reconcile the facts that led to the tragic ending and the final fate of the character.

Even though we feel pity for the character, in the end we accept that his fate was all his own. The character is not innocent. That is tragedy.

When I hear of 9/11 referred to as “tragedy”, I have to ask, what was the guilt of its victims? Yes, we heard some, like former professor Ward Churchill (people working at the WTC were “little Eichmanns”) and even a linguist like Noam Chomsky blame American policies for 9/11. And even a college textbook has this conclusion, “The root cause [of world violence] is not terrorist activity. It is the relationship between the United States and the Islamic world. Until this central cancerous problem is treated, Americans will never be free from fear.”  We have also heard “They hate us for our freedom.” 

None of the statements above can be proven as true, but they serve the tragic version of 9/11. We deserved it therefore the victims of 9/11 deserved it too. But does that make it a tragedy, even if true?

Contrast the term “disgrace”.  It means “shame”, “dishonor”, “humiliation” it’s the antonym of canonization, exaltation.  And that is what 9/11 is, a disgrace.  On 9/11/01 the United States of America was disgraced, not as result of anything its victims did, knowingly or not, but by politics, cheap politics.

On 9/11 we were disgraced by politicians that did practically nothing after the first attack in 1993, even after a formal declaration of war by al-Qaeda; they disgraced the victims, and the country. The same politicians who tell us we are safer today because a 90 year old woman has to leave her wheelchair to be patted down like a criminal, or a 3 year old child has the fingers of a government employee run through his intimate clothing.

Politicians and their spouses, working for airline industry lobbies that successfully lobbied legislators for lower security standards at airports disgraced us. The same politicians that still allow for uncontrolled open borders knowing that groups like Hezbollah operate in Mexico and Venezuela.

You see, nearly 3,000 human beings were killed on 9/11 through no fault or guilt of their own. Was 9/11 a tragedy? It never was. When a "9/11" happens again who knows, perhaps, next time it will.


Post a Comment

<< Home