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Stateside With Rosalea: 9/11 Remembrance, Part 2

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

9/11 Remembrance, Part 2

Well, it’s P-CANDY day, when the 51st state of the Union is GZ. Sorry, just got carried away with the two-letter abbreviations for Pennsylvania, New York, District of Columbia, and Ground Zero. Small minds are amused by small things, but really what can you do in the face of such large issues?

There are people and organizations who believe that 9/11 was engineered to “create an Orwellian police state at home and launch wars abroad lasting generations,” as the leaflet I was handed at the cinema showing “World Trade Center” said. I don’t want to think along those lines, and I can’t see how anyone could persuade folks here in the US to think along those lines.

But in contrast, the orgy of swelling violin strings and teary faces and billowing smoke, accompanied by the repetitive mantra of “victims” “heroes” “terrorists” “lost innocence” fill the airwaves for weeks, to the extent we’re made to feel it’s unseemly and churlish to question anything about an event that has caused such heartfelt pain for so many people.

The saturation of the airwaves with 9/11 stories is like a suffocating blanket thrown over a smouldering discontent. And I don’t even get the gazillion channels that cable or satellite TV offers. Moreover, the anniversaries are big-time for local newsrooms, because there’s always some new angle they can look at or some 2001 interview they can update.

Then there’s the ceremonies. At 9am I’m watching CBS coverage of the Bushes’ Shanksville wreathlaying. Does the commentator tell us what all the shouting is about in the background which seems to catch the attendees’ attention? No. But he uses hushed tones to misquote General Tommy Franks’ earlier speech about the field in Pennsylvania being where “we celebrate the victory that they won here in America’s first battle in the war against terrorism.”

At 9:30 am, the local Fox station repeats a program it first aired Sunday night, One Nation Indivisible: Remembering 9/11. It has a decidedly Bay Area slant, with stories about the Menlo Park urban search and rescue team that went to GZ and an update on the John Walker Lindh story. Apparently, Marin County’s so-called American Taliban is forbidden to speak or pray in Arabic. What law allows that to happen? We’re not told.

Then the channel’s chief political correspondent interviews a couple of local university professors—one the director of a center for Middle Eastern studies and the other an historian—about how the US is viewed in the world. Nothing surprising in their replies.

In fact, for my money, the best comment I’ve ever heard on that subject was in a TV programme about money markets, in which a financial analyst quoted a recent survey of what other people think of Americans and America. The poll found that 16 percent more people liked Americans than liked America. The analyst’s conclusion was that instead of Immigration making it harder for people to visit the US and meet real Americans on their home turf, they should be making it easier.

By the end of the evening, when ABC’s current affairs programme Primetime followed Part 2 of The Path to 9/11, the numbers of people who hated the US sufficiently to want to destroy it and every American had been ratcheted up to “millions”, though the real Richard Clarke, brought into the studio to discuss the Primetime segments with host Charles Gibson, opined that there were mere “thousands who want to kill us.”

Well, if you want to rest easy in your bed at night, obviously it pays not to watch television.

ABC News, despite that division not being responsible for the controversial 2-part movie, has created a space on its website for people to comment. One of the commenters in the forum shows how effective the writing was:

“The whole problem is all this politically correct BS, had all that crap been out of the way, they could've had Ben Laden and the whole lot of them well before the tradgedy of 9/11. Time we quite making excuses based on peoples ethinic backgrounds, nationalities, sex, etc. If your wrong your wrong and deserve the consequence.”

The forum is at:



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