September 11, 2013
I haven't watched a lot of televised "news" since the night of September 11, 2001, twelve years ago, when possibly the most horrible event in our collective remembered history, the morning "bombing" of the World Trade Center Towers in New York City by terrorists using our own airplanes as "bombs" was turned into "the show" by the time the 6:30pm newscast aired.
I'd only been "on the internet" for a couple of years in September 2001. I created one of my very first "composite artworks", called "Passage to Heaven 9.11.01" to counter the innumerable instances of seeing the same terrible images of the planes crashing into the towers, which the media seemed to bombard the public, almost like "bombs", seemingly in order to stoke the anger and ire of a confused and wounded populace.
All of humankind were in shock and a collective grief covered the landscape. Not only in America, but all over the world. The act was not only "unthinkable" but nobody was sure of who the perpetrators were at the time, and yet, the media already seemed to have a "plan of attack". Even before then president George Bush proposed sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, so "someone" could "pay" for this heinous crime against humanity, it seemed that the news anchors were essentially "declaring" some sort of "war on terrorism."
In a reasoned essay I wrote at the time, on a long gone website community in cyberspace, I "declared" that I would not watch televised news programs again. And I've "stuck to my guns" and now am content to read the raw news feeds from Reuters and AP, plus subscribe to news websites such as The L.A. Times and Al Jareeza.
America sent bombs and troops into Iraq and Afghanistan. The U.S. still has a presence in both countries, although our current president Barack Obama has ordered withdrawals from both countries.
In another long forgotten essay I wrote on my Xanga blog around 2008, I talked about my fears that at some point the United States would make some kind of attempt to send troops and bombs into the civil wartorn country of Syria.
Last week, after reading about Senator John Kerry's remarks and the president's response, on the internet, from news feeds, and not from televised news media, which adds "editorial content" to news as part of the "show", I was horrified and aghast. Kerry's presidential bid in 2004 was based on his opposition to the Iraq war. President Obama got my vote partially because he vowed to pull American troops out of the Middle East.
Now both were turning into seeming warmongers, ready to storm hell bent for Syria, possibly killing more young people, and possibly racking up civilian collateral damage, and igniting yet another Middle East powderkeg.
If one were to sample some of the media's response, it would seem that if Obama DIDN'T "bomb" Syria, in "retaliation" for the gas attacks which killed another 1000 civilians, ordered by Syrian President Assad, then his "ratings" would go down, and he would lose clout in his second term.
I thought perhaps I was the only one on the planet who thought this was ridiculous. Was the "bomb" in O"bomb"a going to be dropped on Syrian soil, soiling another possible decade or two with war?
Earlier this week, a surprise response from President Putin of Russia, spurred by an offhand comment by Kerry, seems to have stopped Obama from harsh actions. Putin will attempt to corral Assad's chemical weapons stockpile under International law. Obama at least said last week he would ask Congress for support for military action. (The first time a sitting president has made this kind of move. As "commander in chief" of the armed forces, the president can declare war and send in troops. An aside: the last president to actually "declare war" was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1942 after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. )
In Obama's televised speech last night, I only wanted to hear one thing. And I'm glad I did.
The United States is not going to begin the 12th memorial of the attacks on the World Trade Center by attacking Syria. I'm glad of this. I think more Americans than not are also glad. Yes, chemical weapons are terrible, horrible, and ghastly. If not for the fact that Obama had mentioned in an earlier speech that using chemical weapons was a "red line" which shouldn't be crossed, my thoughts are that the terror and war which has blanketed the civil strife in Syria for much of the last decade or so, escalated in 2010, has also been terrible, horrible, and ghastly.
On this memorial day, remembering the over 3000 souls which passed to "heaven" after the World Trade Center attacks, let's stop and ponder how much more damage humanity can stand. Let's think for a moment how rash 'retaliations' are possibly more damaging in the long run. Let's hope and pray that perhaps more presidents and leaders both civil, military, and religious, will make an attempt to come together instead of push each other apart.
We all have different thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. But we share something called "humanity". Let's share some kind of understanding that our quarrels and misunderstandings are killing us all, bit by bit, soul by soul.
I'm glad more bombs aren't being dropped, and hope that humankind can, at some point, listen to the Voice of Reason.
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