September 11.

911 anniversary WTAP dot comToday is September 11. A day to mourn. And a day to reflect.

Seventeen years ago, on this day, we went through one of the most horrible terrorist acts in the history of human civilization. My family and I went through the experience, where we were disconnected for a long time: none of us knew where the others were. Our high-school-going child saw the twin towers collapsing, and hapless people jumping to their deaths. We lost countless innocent people — of all races and religions. Windows of the World, the restaurant at the top of the tower, had a number of Muslim workers who all perished with the others.

But then, we saw how the ruling class took advantage of the terror that they could not prevent (and many say it was insider job, hushed up), and unleashed global terror. New York Times and other media with their fake WMD in Iraq stories legitimized genocide, and Bush and Cheney with complete disregard for the American and international people, wreaked havoc. Countless people were killed, and the destruction of Iraq de-stabilized Middle East. More terrorist groups were born, with alleged help from CIA and U.S. government. Bush, Obama, and Trump have all continued the bombing and killing ever since.

Fanaticism, hate, bigotry and violence-based politics have risen their ugly heads — in an unprecedented way that we have not seen since the demise of Hitler and Nazi Germany. People who supported Hitler and genocide of the Jews are now in power — both in the U.S. and in India. Trump’s father was a white supremacist, and Trump himself is openly supported by hate groups in America. In India, those who eulogized Hitler and killed Gandhi are now ruling the land of Tagore, Kabir and Sri Chaitanya.

The world order of peace and harmony that human civilization aspired for and nearly reached — is now a dream of the past. The international Doomsday Clock is now put at the closest hour to midnight, by scientists. As Noam Chomsky, whom New York Times ostracized repeated, climate catastrophe on one hand and threat of nuclear bombs on the other have brought us and our children on the brink of destruction.

I mourn the lost lives on 9/11. I pray for their souls. I condemn any variety of terrorism. And I mourn the loss of humanity, equality, peace and justice — because of the aftermath and politics of hate and violence, following 9/11.

Sincerely Yours,

Partha Banerjee

Brooklyn, New York

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Photo courtesy (for one-time, nonprofit, educational use): WTAP.com

Heartland America, Saturday and America’s War, Syria

I drove through a picturesque Northeast town on a late-summer Saturday morning to a writer’s retreat. And driving alone, with nobody else to talk to, some simple thoughts came to my mind.

I thought about the quiet town in Heartland America — in this case, Rutland, Vermont. It could easily have been Carbondale, Illinois or Albany, New York where I lived for a number of years. Or, it could well have been Madison, Wisconsin, or Athens, Georgia, or Portland, Oregon, or Winston-Salem, North Carolina — American towns I’ve spent time in.

In small town Rutland, Vermont, on a late-summer Saturday morning, I saw a number of yard sales happening on Main Street. It was a narrow street, with a small number of volunteers controlling traffic. Driving through slowly, avoiding visitors attending the community event and gleefully but erratically crossing the streets to move from one sale to the next across the street, I thought about them. I looked at the way they were passing time on a Fall Saturday morning and having fun doing it. I rolled down my car window and listened to their happy smiles and happy talks.

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I said to myself, do these men and women — young and old — in this small-town neighborhood of Rutland, Vermont know that their government, our government, is going to start another war on another distant land on the other side of the globe, drop bombs and grenades and rockets and missiles and other weapons of mass destruction, inevitably killing an unknown number of people, and severing limbs and crippling and maiming and hurting men and women — young and old — and permanently traumatizing an entire generation of children, just like those children that are having a good time along with their parents and uncles and aunts and brothers and sisters here in Rutland, Vermont here in Heartland America?

Okay now. Nobody, for God’s sake, even for a moment should think that I’m comparing violence and war and terrorism in another country with those possibly happening here in America. No, I do not condone violence in any shape or form. I reject violence. I reject war.

I condemn terror. Period.

I just had some thoughts about thoughts possibly happening in the minds of those people who I think can think. Of course, I did not have an opportunity to get off my car, and ask the men and women participating at the community yard sale how they felt about the imminent new war. I did not have time to ask them how the Syrian Sarin story — i.e., the chemical weapons story New York Times published and CNN and Fox aired was different from the Iraq WMD story we heard ten years ago. I wish I had ways to ask the Heartland people of Rutland, Vermont if they remembered the WMD story Judith Miller wrote for New York Times for weeks immediately preceding the 2003 American war on Iraq? (BTW, if you want to ask Ms. Miller directly, try Fox and Rupert Murdoch’s address. She now works for them.)

God's Mirror on Earth
God’s Mirror on Earth

I drove through the milling Saturday morning crowd, slowly, making sure nobody was hurt and everybody was safe. I’ve always been a careful driver and never hurt anyone. I’m never rash. I’m sure most American drivers are just like me: caring, careful and cautious.

Most Americans care about human lives. They care about dignity of life. They especially care about children. I’ve always observed with great awe how Americans treat their children with maximum care. Their safety is top priority in America. I’ve seen it for many years.

I wish I had ways to ask the Heartland Rutland neighborhood how it felt about human lives and dignity in other places of the world — such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam, or Syria.

I wish I could ask them how they felt about Syrian children.

Not that it would matter much. Because our governments — Bush or Obama governments with their McCains and Cheneys and Clintons and Kerrys — would bomb Iraq or Syria, one way or the other. They couldn’t care less about what the rest of the world says.

Many Syrian children will in all likelihood lose their parents soon. It’s going to be an Iraq genocide deja vu.

But I wanted to ask the ordinary men, women and children of America about it — only if I had a chance.

In Sincere Reflection,

Partha

Brooklyn, New York

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