Our Pain is Not Unique
Now that it is September 13 let me say that, yes, the bombings of 9/11/2001 were horrible. I was there. I know it. People I love still suffer from related illnesses. The equivalent violence many people around the world experience on a daily basis including that which is perpetrated on US soil and elsewhere in our name is just as horrible. I have witnessed some of that too. The only difference is attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon elicited global sympathy. The rest goes unnoticed not because it is less severe but because it happens to people whose oppression goes unnoticed. Yes I suffered as a New Yorker and a first responder but nothing about my suffering was or is unique in any way. It is part of what everyone in the world goes through, some more than others, due to our fallen human condition. Therefore I will not participate in any efforts to turn “911” into a bigger deal than the global violence and oppression of which it is merely a symptom. The US did not change on that day, although we could have, and neither did the world. Bombs still drop. Death squads still operate. People still disappear. Torture still happens. People still starve. People still needlessly die. Voices still go unheard. Hope is still hard to come by. If I manage to contribute one drop of hope to this hurting world sometime before I die it will mean immensely more to me than all the “thank you for your service” messages I ever received for just doing my job on a lousy day.