September 11 also marks the day when, in 1973, a US backed coup overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. While 9/11 was painful, Trish Kahle writes it should have also come as no surprise given the United States long history of interfering in the affairs of other countries.
This is the obligatory 9/11 post. Obligatory not because everyone else seems to do them, but because I keep hearing that quote–”a time comes when silence is betrayal”–playing over and over again in my head.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that and funnily enough I spent my afternoon today once again at the International (Deeply Flawed) Museum of Civil Rights (see my rant about my last visit here. One of my many criticisms of the museum is of its implicit depiction of interventionist policies as a sort of continuation of the Civil Rights movement. The final exhibit, for example, contains a UN Peacekeeper helmet next to a picture of a demonstration in Kosovo. Both times I’ve been in the museum, the staff have tried to argue that US intervention and subsequent UN occupation of Kosovo as extensions of the gains won by Black activists in the United States during the 1960s. This is a flat-out, unambiguous lie. Interventionist policies are tools of imperialism and are a part of the oppression, not a part of the solution.
And what a day it is to talk about US imperialist policies.
The revisionist history of September 11, 2001 portrays the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon as a beginning–more specifically–the beginning of the so-called US war on terror. In reality, the September 11 attacks are a result, not a starting point. The nearly endless TV commentator drones talk about how 9/11 “blew everyone away” completely overlook the facts. 9/11, as painful as it was for the families and friends of people who died, should have surprised no one considering the long US history of policies that lead to terrorism. As one of my friends on Facebook put it, “Let’s be real, the US military has been committing tons of 9/11s all around the world for decades. If you want to end terrorism, you should stop committing it.” I couldn’t put it better myself.
Unfortunately, the US is not going to stop committing massive acts of terrorism of its own accord. History has shown us that time and time again, that wherever corporate profits or global influence is threatened the US will show up, red rockets glaring and bombs bursting in air, to make sure democracy doesn’t get in the way of a new oil pipeline, or banana growing, or copper mining. (Did you know: September 11 is also a big day for the US in Chile. September 11, 1973 is when a US backed coup forcibly removed popularly-elected reformer Salvador Allende from power and replaced him with the fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet.)
This year, in October, is also the tenth anniversary of the invasion of Afghanistan. A ten year war for profit that has expanded into several other wars (that we know about) worldwide. In the process, people around the world have been stripped of their human rights in varying capacities, the US has committed war crime upon war crime, and calls for self-determination are met with derisive mocking from policy makers.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had enough of this shit. To quote Fannie Lou Hamer, “I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired.”
Ten years of war. Ten years of slaughter, constant jingoism, lost futures, violated rights, racism and Islamophobia, wanton destruction, shameless lies, war profiteering, night-time raids, budget cuts and privatisation, no-bid contracting, war crimes and violations of almost any international law you can think of. To be silent now is to betray the people of Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Libya, Palestine. To be silent now is a betrayal to ourselves.
You see, there is something we can do besides being cynical. We can organize. We can fight back.
Look back to Vietnam. The war in Vietnam didn’t end because the country was “tired”–it ended because the country was on the verge of total explosion. As a general rule, things in the universe don’t spontaneously combust and when that does happen, it can be difficult to control. Laying fuse for a well placed set of dynamite, on the other hand, can be a long and arduous process, but the spark that sets of the bang–well that can really accomplish something. We need to mobilize this fall against the war in Afghanistan and all imperialist policies. We need to fight to end this war now. I am only 23 years old. I have not lived in a world at peace. The reason the world has never been at peace in my lifetime is not because of terrorists. My world has never been at peace because it is at odds with capitalism. Eventually, to end the wars once and for all, we are going to need to abolish capitalism, but the way forward is a movement, one that will help radicalize people and broaden their political understanding beyond capitalist pseudo-two-party-politics.
Their profit wars are destroying our world, our connection with each other, our hope for a future. We can’t let them take it. Fight back, fight hard, and don’t stop until we win. Find an action near you, organize one yourself, or if you can, get to the national rally. We are ordinary people, but organized, we are capable of extraordinary change.
This column was first published on I Can't Believe We Still Have To Protest This Shit