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September 11 Plus 7

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Here we are at the seventh "anniversary" of September 11, 2001. It is hard to believe that seven years have passed, and it is hard to believe that only seven years have passed. Seven years since the horrifying images of crashing buildings and falling bodies was burned into our brains. So much has happened, and yet resolution is as remote as it was on that day. Questions, hundreds of questions, still remain. Terrorism, and the war on it have grown - not shrunk. Instead, many more shattered lives have been thrown into the maw of revenge and greed. Seven years and the immigrant families of those lost in the World Trade Center still have no legal status, and therefore no status. Many are even afraid to come forward for fear of deportation. We have heard thousands of times of the heroes who lost their lives on that fateful day. All of the victims are considered "heroes" - except the hidden and inconvenient immigrant victims. Justice takes many forms, and legalizing and recognizing these survivors should have happened long ago. Since 9/11 we have watched the usurpation of power by the Bush administration; the attack on the Constitution and undermining of our civil rights; the rise of corporate power and privatization of the military and intelligence communities. We have watched the stripping of resources and blatant cronyism undermine the infrastructure and safety of the people of the United States. We have watched the nation's honor and integrity be forever sullied by torture and murder. Yet Sarah Palin is so disconnected to the critical nature of those rights that she chastised Obama in her acceptance speech: "Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights?" Indeed, this is a reflection of how far we have fallen from our commitment to law and justice. We have arrived at a point where candidate for the second highest office in the country throws away the principles of the Constitution with a sneer - and is cheered for doing so. With the public's awakening to the injustice of the invasion in Iraq, Afghanistan has become the "good" war. Afghanistan, where we threw out the law and attacked a nation for one man. Almost seven years later the death and destruction continues. Even Obama hoists the "good war" flag for Afghanistan. It was not a "good war" when it started, and it certainly has not become one with the passage of time. The trail of destruction spreads out from the events of 9/11 like the debris path of a megastorm. In many ways, it seems as indiscriminate as a storm, but it is not. The destruction has been deliberate, or at least the consequences of deliberate action. I hope for a day when we look forward to rebuilding and healing the damage that has been done. A day when we realize that war is not an answer, and that human and civil rights are not an impediment to safety. A day when we realize that hatred leads to hardening ideologies and destructive actions, and we come to terms with ourselves and those who share our planet.


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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.

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