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9-11 for the right reasons
by Thanos Kalamidas
2007-09-11 09:37:51
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Is this how it is going to be from now on? Bin Laden will send a video calling us to worship Islam as the only solution for our survival and George W. Bush calling us to fight terrorism harder by helping Iraq? Is this really what comes from 9-11?

This dark September day changed more than a New York skyline and the lives of almost 3,000 of the victims' families, its changes are something we will only begin to understand after a long time despite all the analysis and theories. Somehow this act of murder took on its own life and I’m not sure if bin Laden had ever predicted that. According to the theories, the eventual outcome was his target, by hitting the temple of capitalism he would make everybody feel insecure, but reading the scripts of his videos I don’t think he has any talent to see or predict how far his actions would take this world.

The man is a fanatic who crossed the line and became a criminal. Of course you need some kind of intellect to manage to be an international criminal and mastermind to commit mass murder like he did, but I doubt his talents would extend so much to predict the changes that would come - and we haven’t finish yet because things are still changing.

These are things that we fought for centuries and they definitely cost a great deal of blood, yet we are willing today to give them up in the name of safety. Safety, that’s something we missed. What is safety? Did you ever feel safe enough? What happened in New York was not the first terrorist act and crimes happen on a daily - or better at an hourly - speed everywhere in this world but suddenly we became aware of safety.

More people die everyday from a lack of water than will ever die from terrorism, more people die every day from home accidents than they will ever die from terrorist acts but somehow we cannot see that. Suddenly bin Laden became more dangerous than hurricanes and electricity because he gave shape and a face to our inner fears; our boogieman suddenly has a face.

A year ago I wrote another article in remembrance of the event and I was explaining why I do hate bin Laden. A couple of weeks ago I was in an airport traveling inside Finland and the security was still high. A young boy forgot his rucksack on a seat and, within minutes, five men and a woman had jumped out of nowhere looking at the bag. At the same time the young boy, with his father, returned looking for the rucksack and it took them a full five minutes to explain and prove that it was theirs.

I didn’t realize straightaway but when it was proven I took a deep breath and most likely I was holding my breath all this time. I was not the only one; you could see the sense of relief on everybody’s faces. That’s how much our lives have changed. Totally! When the boy with his angry father left I couldn’t laugh, not even smile, and for god’s sake we are in a Finnish airport for a local flight - I’m sure bin Laden doesn’t even know where Finland is.

Cameras are watching us all day long, infringing upon every single human right, actually since 9-11 we said goodbye to privacy. The state has immediate access to anything we do, write or say. The Internet has lost any sense of privacy. I never understood why the state is so eager to protect my post and it is strictly forbidden to touch my postal-letters but they can have any access they like to my mails. Aren’t they private? Or they do read all my mail and everything we know about protection of privacy is just a myth? And that is only a minute example of what’s really going on around us and how much we have changed since that day.

A year ago I wrote I hate bin Laden for what he made me and now I hate him even more because he is not even clever enough to understand and use it; he’s a scared little man, scared by what he did! Finally one more thing he did, something with which George W. Bush seems to cooperate, is to remind us of the 'War on Terror' and terrorism but to forget the 3,000 victims of the Twin Towers and their families. That’s tragic!

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Emanuel Paparella2007-09-11 10:39:08
Indeed Mr. Kalamidas, much to reflect upon! Carl Jung called the hatred of our own unappropriated shadow “projection” : we tend to project our own insecurities and flaws on boogiemen and strawmen thus avoiding the hard work of introspection and self-reform. If Margalit and Buruma's thesis’ has any validity, what Bin Laden has done is simply appropriate all the worst features of the West’s extreme self-criticism, self-hatred, auto-flagellation and inability to defend its own moral values. Having consciously or perhaps unconsciously appropriated those features he uses them against the West ignoring the true precepts of his religion. Indeed, there was another man who was “a fanatic who crossed the line and became a criminal” and his name was Adolf Hitler and he wrought immense misery and destruction on most of Europe. However, to simply call him a madman and leave it at that will not do, because it allows the post-modern men that S.C. Lewis calls “men without chest” to get off the hook a bit too easily, those in the Weimar Republic for example, who permitted the descent into hell of a whole country in the 1930 by simply standing on the sidelines and “democratically” electing Hitler to the chancellorship of the Republic. They too opted for safety and sold their freedom. Those who nowaday get upset at churches being sold and converted into mosques but then gladly approve of the liquidation of religion which they misguidedly consider obscurantism, ignoring the heritage of 17 centuries of Christianity in Europe. Those who do not think that it is worthwhile to spend time in examining and vigorously debating the root causes of a rampant western rationalism ever mindful of the economic and political but contemptuous of everything that belongs to the poetical and the humanities.

Jack2007-09-11 21:36:21
I agree with you that our very own privacy has been a victim of bin Laden. In the states millions of people have had their headlights on all day, daylight included, as our own private tribute, honor, rememberance and not to forget them. That light, I pray, never dies. Thanks for a great article.

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