I always feel a sense of unease about this date.
Nine years ago I was at work when the word spread of the events in New York. I was horrified at the time, as was the rest of the world. Like everyone else, I mourned for the dead and was disgusted at the perpetrators of the mass slaughter.
I have since discovered that a namesake of mine was killed in the tragedy, which somehow made it more personal.
But that was nine years ago. Since then, a futile and bloody war has been fought and lost and countless more have been killed in the name of retribution. The casualties since that day in 2001 far outnumber the original victim count.
Back in 1974, Ireland had its own terrorist attack. Thirty three died when bombs exploded in Dublin and Monaghan without any warning. Thirty three may not sound very many, but in proportion to the population, it was a significant number. If you scale the number up it would be equivalent to around 2,700 Americans, so the parallels are quite close. Did the Irish demand war on the North, or the UK? No. We grieved for the dead, and have not forgotten them, but we carry on our lives. We didn’t give the event a tacky name – it is just remembered as the Dublin Monaghan Bombings. I doubt that the majority of Irish could even hazard a guess at the date.
I abhor the American habit of giving military sounding names to events. In particular I abhor the expression “Ground Zero”. It is born out of the nuclear tests of the last war, and should be confined to that period. The expression “911” has always irritated me too. Apart from the fact that in Europe, 9, 11 is the ninth day of November, it has become a rallying cry for America’s own fundamentalists and fanatics.
Constantly harping on about an event that is now history only serves to stir up hatred and desire for revenge. Quietly remember the victims and mourn, but stop this fucking flag waving, sabre rattling and hyped up patriotism. It only serves to incite hatred.
I wonder what my namesake and the other victims would think of all this hype? Would they be happy with those thousands that were killed in their name?
I doubt it.