A COUNTER-NARRATIVE CHALLENGES THE OFFICIAL 911 STORY
By Danny Schechter
Author of The Crime Of Our Time
When the whole media system is presenting an official narrative, as most were this past weekend in reporting on the official commemorations of the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of 911, it is almost impossible for alternative perspectives and critical ideas to be seen and heard.
The shear weight of the events seemed to have mandated media memorialization and mourning to honor the dead and allow their families to feel the love and solidarity of the American people.
While this may be reassuring and reinforcing to those in pain, a predictable ceremonial approach and tribute keeps the society of deeper reflections and lessons that might help us avoid more attacks.
That an estimated 80 members of the US military came under attack in Afghanistan was a strong signal that the forces and wars set in motion after 911 are not over by a long shot. The Americans who grieved this weekend did not shed any tears for the victims of the drones and bombs that have taken so many lives in many countries--not just the ones we invaded.
Underreported, if barely noticed in the media this past weekend, were three events that I covered that offered oppositional voices.
To its credit, Pacifica Radio devoted hours of programming on Sunday night to a consideration of various conspiracy theories and dissenting views. The shows did not take sides; they featured debates about the details of claims of government complicity and suppressed information. There were actually serious discussions and rebuttals, the first such measured and calm presentation that I have heard to date in progressive media.
On Friday night, the survivors of the Attica prison Rebellion of September 9-13 1971 marked their 40 anniversary with survivors retelling their story of the uprising and the fight for justice for millions of Americans behind bars, many serving long sentences in oppressive environments. They packed the Riverside Church where Martin Luther King gave his famous speech condemning the War in Vietnam, a year and a day before he died.
Their September struggle raised important questions about the persistence of racism and the reality of human rights in America as well as charges of state terrorism against minorities and the poor under police state conditions.
TV anchor Amy Goodman reminded the audiences of other 911s
that have been all but forgotten including the US backed coup against Allende
on September ll, 1973, as well as the fatal beating of South African liberation
leader Steve Biko who was tortured on September 11th 1977 by the US
backed apartheid regime. He died on September 12th.
On Saturday night, I dropped in a Libertarian event called Liberty Fest at the Club Amnesia. It was crowed with supporters of Ron Paul. I was struck by speakers who angrily denounced the wars and spoke movingly of their opposition to the atrocities committed in our names.