|Nine years on
||[Sep. 11th, 2010|12:01 pm]
This is a difficult entry to write, because it is about a difficult and tragic topic. But I feel that I must write it.|
Nine years on from what was a tragic and stunning day, this country is still letting the terrorists win daily. We do this by continually picking at our own wound, by leaving a gaping hole in the heart of our largest city, and by letting fear-mongers and bigots set the national debate.
I am not denying the tragedy of bombing of the World Trade Center. I watched in horror as the footage was replayed time and time again. The loss of nearly 3,000 civilian lives at Ground Zero, as well as the loss of life at the Pentagon and United Airlines Flight 93, threw families into unceasing grief. The collapse of the WTC towers shocked the whole country, and much of the world. It staggered us. It deserved outrage and grief and anger.
But a staggered USA should not have stopped at that stage. This is not the worst loss of innocents, the worst destruction at the hands of enemies the world has ever known. In World War II The Blitz killed over 43,000 Brits, half of them Londoners. They lived under a reign of terror that wasn't just an abstract possibility. It was repeated night after night.
And when it was over, they rebuilt. Because that's what you do. Or what you should do.
Instead, we have been so paralyzed by this one attack, and so willing to believe that our grief is unique in the history of the world, that instead of saying, "Screw you fundamentalist jerks; you can't make us live in fear," we have turned the damaged site into a continuing monument to fear.
Stop worrying about the mosque three blocks away being some kind of victory for the jihadists; the gaping hole of Ground Zero is the best victory monument we could possibly build for them. And it will continue to be so when it's turned into a couple reflecting pools and a park. For decades, people will be able to point to that area and say, "That's where the USA handed over prime real estate to radical Islam."
In London, people will point out sites where buildings were completely destroyed in The Blitz. They are blocks on which new buildings have been built and where life has carried on. The lives lost are still a part of their history, but they are not paralyzed by it.
We do not honor the fallen dead by surrendering the heart of New York City to the effects caused by the hijackers. We instead hand victory to the jihadists by fostering that wound into a cultural stigmata. It's time to defy them by rebuilding and refusing to live in terror.