Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 1, 1939 (WWII), September 11, 1973 (Chile), September 11, 2001 (USA)

Referring to the outbreak of World War II the Anglo-American poet W.H. Auden wrote a poem titled September 1, 1939. Here are some of the lines:
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death
Offends the September night...

I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return.

Exiled Thucydides knew
All that a speech can say
About Democracy,
And what dictators do,
The elderly rubbish they talk
To an apathetic grave;
Analysed all in his book,
The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.
The poem invokes an understanding of how violence and war fit into the cycles of human civilization.

On September 11, 2001 when I received information on the news about the terrorist attacks life felt surreal. Never since the War of 1812 did the US suffer an attack on the mainland soil. Unlike the majority of the world, north Americans are not familiar with such experiences. We north Americans bonded with solidarity. There were vigils and touching conversations. There were also increased levels of hate. People of color were targeted for abuse by thugs. In my own Central Vally Californian town I saw, alongside US flags, large Civil War Confederate flags waving on large trucks. Subdued political tendencies became openly pronounced. There were calls for war and calls for peace. More war prevailed and the violent cycle of human civilization continues.

After September 11, 2001 I learned of September 11, 1973. A catastrophic event on the whole of American society. This American tragedy occurred further south in Chile. It deserves to be told on the same day because this September 11 bloodletting was linked to US "pragmatic" strategies of Cold War politics. I leave a clip from a youtube explaining this often overlooked event. To reflect on our own sufferings I invite the reader to merely turn on the news. The US media is covering it thoroughly. All the sad Septembers should be remembered.We should also ask ourselves what we remember them for.

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