Friday, September 11, 2009

A Tiny Blip On The Radar Of Tragedy

It's September 11th today. A day which means nothing. A day, in actuality, which decreases the sum total of meaning in the world. A meaning vacuum.

Nevertheless we're going to engage in an orgy of ritualized reflection and glorification today. Mars will grow exponentially in power for awhile, as we pour libations on his altar. Everyone will be asking - where were you? What does it mean to you?

The travesty which occurred eight years ago on this day was a tiny blip on the radar screen of horrific awefulness that is the human propensity for violence. Less than 3,000 people died in the Al Qaeda attacks. Compare that with these other massacres:

At least 500,000 people died over 100 days in 1994 in Rwanda. That's 5,000/day or almost 2 9/11 every day for 100 days!

8,000 civilians were murdered on one day in July 1995 in Srebrenica, and 30,000 more were killed in the surrounding region in the following days.

In the Nanking Massacre an unknown number in the hundreds of thousands were murdered. At least 20,000 women were raped.

This is just talking about massacres of civilians that happened in single events limited in scope. It doesn't begin to talk about the millions that were murdered under Stalin, in the Killing Fields in Cambodia, in the Holocaust, East Timor, Turkey, the Sudan and who knows where else.

And this is confining ourselves to civilian deaths. If we include military deaths then you'd have to compare 9/11 to events like the Battle of Stalingrad where 2 million people lost their lives. 2 MILLION!!! That is 667 9/11's.

As tragic as 9/11 was, ultimately so for those who lost a loved one, it was not world-altering in the smallest degree. Our exaggerated estimation of its import has been the most damaging aspect of the entire event, because we continue to use this miniscule event as the universal justification for infinite violence. We have now killed over 450 TIMES as many Iraqis as the number who died on 9/11. When will it be enough?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking the same thing all day. Thanks, Aric!

John McNeese