Sunday, September 11, 2011

Empire of Chaos: How 9/11 Shaped the Politics of a Failing State

Arun Gupta
September 9, 2011.
" ... The philosopher Hannah Arendt once observed that Empire abroad requires tyranny at home. The post-9/11 police state has proved useful in suppressing “enemies”: the threat within, Arab and Muslim communities; the social threat, the left; and the demographic threat, Latinos. All have come under severe repression in the last decade, Arab- and Muslim-Americans most of all.

Ten years on, ideology has outlasted the relevance of the events of 9/11. Islamophobia serves to mobilize support for an endless war. Suppressing the left has scattered radical social opposition to the dominant order, and the war against Latino immigrants has created shadow armies of fearful workers with few rights that corporations prey on to drive down wages and further impede labor organizing.

As tragic as September 11, 2001 was, it is a historical blip because it only speeded up the process of imperial decline. Shortly after the attacks, the historian Immanuel Wallerstein suggested the American hegemony could go down one of two paths. The first was managing a soft decline. The other was a crash landing. It’s not hard to see which path we’ve been on since 9/11."
Read the rest here.

Comment:  I know no one who is not deeply saddened by the tragic events of 9/11.  This blog is not an apologist for killing innocent people, anywhere.

In the same vein, this blog is not an apologist for the horrific western foreign policies that gained momentum after 9/11 and led to the mass murder of innocents in the so called Middle East.

What should be commemorated today is the unacceptable loss of innocent lives not the victim-turned-victor mentality that is the mainstay of American exceptionalism.

9/11 is a tragedy that affronts all humanity.  But so is the rampant rise of Islamophobia, extraordinary rendition, Guantanamo, drone murders of innocents, murderous invasions for oil, and on and on.

And while we remember those who died innocently on 9/11 we should also remember those who continue to bare the brunt of the US's uninterrupted and insane "war(s) on terror" under Obama.

This includes the US's racist preoccupation with propping up Israel at any cost.

How can anyone remember 9/11 and not remember Israel's war(s) on Palestine?  Such a clinical and prejudicial separation of humanity is not possible.

Perhaps inside of an inclusive remembrance there will be enough global political will to bring Bush, Blair, and the associated murderers to trail for declaring war against humanity.



Anonymous said...

I've been thinking about this recently- the offerings and manifestations of sympathy.
Wondering, too, why that can wound people- wound the outcasts, the others.
And it rests on such a simple line.

Sympathy isn't exclusive.

If we bleed for the man who died on the street today, we must bleed for all the men who died on all the nameless streets everywhere.
The Street should not bind his dignity- he should have dignity - just being a man.

Who'd have thought the three rules to real estate were so pervasive?
Location, location....location.

Ridwan said...

Thank you for a very thoughtful comment.

You are absolutely right.

If we put a humane face on everybody then it is impossible to ignore some over others.

I worry about this one-sided "sympathy" too, and I have asked myself if I am being sensitive and fair to say this here and on this day.

Any one of us could have perished in NY a decade ago or in the bombing of the Kenya and Uganda embassies.

Yet as you so aptly point out the issue of "location, location, location" makes some tragedies more than others.

But if we connect it all then it is impossible to see it as apart, no?

But how to do that?

How to stop news articles like the one I saw today that asks whether Muslims are singularly capable of acts of terrorism and then to read the usual responses.

And the convenient amnesia that has all but erased the Norway massacre.

And that is the sad part too.

Some brutal actors are also excused because of "location".

The US can dismiss the inhumanity of killing children in a night raid and doing so again with drones.

Some life too is more valuable and others easily dispensable.

How to recreate our humanity is perhaps the most important 'thing' that stands before us.

Thank you kindly for making me think.

Peace to you,

Nolwazi said...

Dear Ridwan and Anonymous...and by the way Anonymous, you sound so familiar. Like a really smart person I know.

When my Mama and I watched that spectacular picture of the planes crashing into the Twin Towers, I honestly thought it was just another stunt in just another violent American film. I was much younger back then, of course but strangely or maybe not...the scene still looks like just another typical American movie- which no doubt, after some aggressive marketing with an even more aggressive trailer- will end up being a box office hit...right here in South Africa, of course.

Ridwan and Anonymous, America exasperates me. I'm Black, female, African, Zulu, the odds are against me and anybody else who even resembles me. I'm saying, and Ridwan I asked you this question by sms on 9/11/11, why is America's pain made to be so much more tragic than that of other countries? What is this bleeding heart-symphony orchestra background music-"commemoration" thing going on?

All over our TV screens in Africa, all over my cellphone listening to my conversation, all over my 100ml liquid facial products at the airport, all over my freedom of movement in my own country 17 000 km from away from the self-ordained empire? What is this? Did America really think it was immune from the troubles of this world?

America all but prophesied its own demise. It's obsessions with explosions, yes, even in the movies. It's obsession with race as a determinig factor for basic human dignity or lack thereof. It's narcisstic obsession with grabbing greedily every resource NOT OWED TO IT.

I remember watching a documentary about the survivors and victims of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki (American) genocide last year on Al Jazeera. A 93 year-old woman said:"I hate America, I never want to go there."

Every day in Africa, a 9/11 happens. Every single day. I teach a grade 8 class- a 15 year-old girl is pregnant. She has no parents who love her or want to take care of her. That's a 9/11 for this continent. And it's as invetable as the Twin Towers falling down on that day.

All men are born equal but some are more equal than others.

That's another thought that comes to my mind when I think of America and all the repurcussions that followed 9/11. The world must revolve around this country-it's NY Stock Exchange, it's Levi jeans, its basketball games, its brutal capitalist ideals, its deadly McDonalds, its clandestine foreign policies, its racism, its first non-landing on the moon, its inevitable self-imposed and quite possibly staged tragedies.

America does not have a human face to which one can attach a tragedy in order to feel some sympathy for the Innocents. The American government stole that human face from its citizens and traded it in for that of some invincible deity that rules over all of us "mere mortals".

America does not have my sympathy. That annoyingly clueless, pregnant 15 year old Black girl-child and all the other 9/11s just like her have my sympathy, NOT AMERICA. NEVER.