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WTC before 9/11

Hard to believe it has been 10 years since I worked in the World Trade Center. I try to keep in my mind's eye a vision I could see driving into work. There are days I can do it, if only to push away the endless looped images of flaming falling towers that are shown on TV news programs on this day commemorating those who died in the attack and their families and friends.  

After the towers fell, I never went back to visit the site. Maybe one day I will, but I am not ready yet.

After the towers fell, there was a hole in my heart and a hole in my hometown's skyline.

Ten years is not a very long time. But it has been long enough to radically change the fabric of life in the United States. Those of us who did not perish live on to tell our tales of that day.

After the towers fell we each had our own stories to tell of where we were on 9/11 and how it changed our lives.  

Today I will re-tell mine.

My tale speaks to not just the towers themselves, nor the attacks, nor the falling.

It speaks to something rotten that has sprung up in the place where once there were two towers standing tall and proud. It speaks to fear and hatred. The growth of Islamophobia.

My story was first posted here in Why we had to put an American flag decal on our car.

I have never worn a flag pin.  I own an American flag that was presented to my mom by the Tuskegee Airmen, Philadelphia Chapter, at my dad’s funeral. I come from the generation that was more apt to burn flags and draft cards during the Vietnam War, than wear them. I too have been associated with groups that were  on J. Edgar Hoover’s favorite hit list

My husband and I live upstate New York, two hours from New York City in an area that is an odd mixture of hard-core Republican’s, Green Party members, aging Woodstock hippies and an assortment of Democrats.  

I was working in the World Trade Center when we decided to move upstate, from our home in Astoria Queens, NY. We wanted more space, I wanted to garden and grow veggies, and we couldn’t afford to buy a house in the city.  So we searched for an affordable home and found a fixer-upper for sale–cheap-two hours away from Manhattan. My husband was able to change jobs to a place nearer to the new house, but I didn’t have that luxury. After relocating I continued to commute to work early in the morning to make it in to my office,  located on the 16th floor of  4 World Trade Center.

One morning, in September of  2001, I got up at 4:30 AM to get ready for the long 2 hour drive in. Before leaving I heard a strange grinding sound from our cellar.  County homes often don’t have basements; ours had a cellar with a sump pump.  For those of you not familiar with sump pumps–they are used to pump out ground water  that accumulates under the house. I investigated and saw smoke; the grinding noises were the sump pump burning itself out. I figured out how to shut it down, but water started to flood over the boundaries of the sump hole and flood the cellar. I woke up my husband and told him to call a plumber. I had to leave or I’d be late for an early morning meeting with my boss.

My husband is a musician and blissfully un-mechanical. He looked at me with dismay and said "what plumber do I call? I explained patiently that he should look in the yellow pages and find one, but that task proved too onerous and with exasperation I found the phone book and started to make calls myself. All I got was answering machines.  Meanwhile the water in the basement was rising up–threatening to flood into our hot water heater.  We both rushed to get buckets and started bailing. In between bailing and many trips up and down the steep cellar stairs I got more and more worried about missing my meeting at work. I realized I wasn’t going to make it in. I called and left a message on my boss’s voice mail that I would be late.

At one point, while I was still in the cellar,  my husband hollered down the stairs to me saying "Denise, you aren’t going to have to go to work this morning."  Aggravated with the damned pump that I was still cursing, I asked , "Why?  Did Sherry (my boss) call?"  "No", he replied, and then said "An airplane just hit your building." I laughed.  Very funny, ha-ha, and picked up yet another bucket to hand up the steps . He looked grim,  and said somberly, "Come up here and look at this." I wiped the mud off my shoes, trudged up the steps and walked into the living room where the TV was on.  I normally put it on to NY1 to figure out how bad the traffic would be for the morning drive.  There was a picture of smoke and flames and the Twin Towers and a hysterical announcer reporting that a plane had struck the North tower. As I stood and watched reports came in of a second strike and the rest is history.

In horror, frozen in front of the set we watched and cried and I frantically attempted to call my co-workers. No phone calls made it through. All circuits were busy. At the same time I started receiving calls on my cell from our other office in Puerto Rico, from co-workers who made it out of the building and from others who had arrived on the scene before heading into the building that was now crumbling to the ground.  The next few days were a blur, of horror, of pain of tears for those lost and of mourning and attempts to realize the enormity of it all. But something else was happening too;  a massive  mobilization to counter the threat of another attack by nameless faceless demons from "the axis of evil."  

Our small town is located not far from the Ashokan Reservoir one of the largest reservoirs  in New York State that supplies the water to NYC.  

After the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the city and state decided to permanently close the spillway road to vehicular traffic as a security precaution. This has added a great deal more traveling time and distance for those on the south side of the reservoir to reach locations to the north. The city compensates the local school district for the extra fuel costs its buses have incurred. The Reservoir Rd. causeway, however, is still open.

Large Huey helicopters began to circle our skies.  Businesses near the reservoir were deserted.  No customers. The hunt for other "terror cells" went into full swing.   American flags went up on all the homes in the area–at half-mast. Any home without a flag was under suspicion.

Jingoistic statements were heard on local radio; we have hate groups up here, as well as liberals. But even the tone of the liberals was getting ugly. I stopped in to check with our local gas station guy to see if he was okay ; because he’s a Pakistani. He said he was fine, hadn’t had any weird responses but that his cousin in a neighboring town had closed shop and stayed home. He had been spit upon and threatened by some locals. "Dirty Arab terrorists...go home".

My husband is a musician, as I said before. He plays Afro-Cuban drums in local jazz band and for tambors in the city. One night, he left for a gig near Woodstock, loading his drums and other instruments into the station wagon, accompanied by a fellow drummer up from the city.  

When he got home later that evening he, and his friend were shaken and angry.  They had been stooped by state troopers, pulled over at gun point and he had to get out of the car on a dark road and face cold hard angry armed guys, who moved him away from the car and then shone lights on the contents of the trunk area. Slowly he handed over his identification, careful not to make any odd moves.

Unfortunately for my husband, his first name is Nadhiyr. Oh yeah, his last name is Velez, but he was wearing a  kufi (skull cap) which he usually wears to gigs, or some other similar African head covering and he had a goatee, mustache, is tall, with a fairly hooked nose and looks like a cousin of Osama.  

His buddy, the other drummer, also slightly olive-skinned, was wearing similar garb.   Though his buddy looks like what anyone would describe in the city as a "Boricua typico" ("typical" Puerto Rican) on that evening two Puerto Ricans became potential Arab terrorists.  

As soon as they both opened their mouths and started talking–New York accents, and the officer had probed the duffle bags finding only drums,  not explosives or weapons, they were allowed to leave and drive home with a warning that "maybe they shouldn’t be driving late at night." Shaken by all of this, I dug out tee-shirts that we have from Puerto Rico  with the PR flag and slogans on them like "Puerto Rican and proud". My husband shaved off his goatee, and mustache, cut his hair short and for the first time in our leftist lives got magnetized American flag stickers to put on our cars. We unwrapped my dad’s funeral flag, folded carefully and lovingly away in a cedar chest,  unfolded the triangle, and hung it up on the front porch. Not in honor of those who died,  or my dad,  but as a defense from the suspicions of neighbors.

Am I angry and bitter about this?  Yes.  Was it something that we needed to do at the time?  Yes. For the first time in many years I was afraid of my neighbors. I hadn’t felt that way since I was a young person moving into an all white neighborhood in Queens when crosses were being burned to keep "us" out, or as a kid in the south when my dad armed himself to confront the Klan.

When I finally got into NYC a few days later for a meeting with my boss and co-workers and the entire research team, it was held at Beth Israel Medical Center on 16th street, close enough to still smell smoke, and there was fallen ash on the patches of green by the edge of the sidewalks. I went for a walk to 14th Street and stopped at a small street-side shrine. They were everywhere. I said a silent prayer for the dead and then I prayed long and hard for the living. One of those prayers was for members of the diverse Muslim and Arab community-family, friends, co-workers and neighbors, who would pay the price for something they had not done, something they mourned and suffered through with the rest of us.    

streetside shrine (Library of Congress)

That prayer, or hope was not answered. Over the last ten years it just got worse.

And so we as a nation moved into Muslim=Terrorist mode.
Not terrorist=terrorist.

That would be too simple.

In a society where Muslims of all ethnicities are a minority, and ofttimes a visible one, marked by cultural custom and garb, sometimes by phenotype, and clearly by attendance on a different day of worship at a mosque, rather than a church or synagogue we had a new enemy to despise and revile.  

Our Muslim American neighbors, and anyone mistaken for being Muslim, including turbanded Sikhs, and African-Americans in headwraps.  

I too wear a headwrap.

American Muslim

After the towers fell, American Muslims increasingly became targets of suspicion, open hatred and ostracism.  

Tarred as the traitors among us, with dual loyalty to a "foreign faith", as if somehow Christianity is written into our Constitution as the only way of faith—freedom to believe or not believe discarded.

So let us discuss where we are today, 10 years after.  

Conflicting reports make headlines.  

NYC on High Alert

After receiving threats of 9/11 anniversary attacks officials called 'credible,' New York and Washington, D.C. are ramping up counterterrorism measures and showing force on the streets.

No evidence of suspected 9/11 terror plot

U.S. intelligence agencies have found no evidence that any al Qaeda terrorists sneaked into the country for a strike coinciding with the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, senior officials said Saturday.

Behind the headlines is solid statistical evidence of animus toward our Muslim community.
Poll: Many Americans uncomfortable with Muslims

Washington (CNN) – Ten years after 9/11, Americans are wrestling with their opinions of Muslims, a new survey found, and where Americans get their TV news is playing a role in those opinions. Nearly half of Americans would be uncomfortable with a woman wearing a burqa, a mosque being built in their neighborhood or Muslim men praying at an airport.   Forty-one percent would be uncomfortable if a teacher at the elementary school in their community were Muslim.

Forty-seven percent of survey respondents said the values of Islam are at odds with American values.

The Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution conducted the survey and issued a report, “What it Means to be American: Attitudes in an Increasingly Diverse America 10 Years after 9/11.” “Americans are wrestling with fear, but on the other hand they’re also wrestling with acceptance,” said Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute. The results of the survey were announced Tuesday at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Stop the Mosque movement

There is a large vocal "stop the mosque movement" and Islamophobic websites abound.

This does not just come from the right wing. Despite strong support on the left for the Arab spring movement, things are not so clear here at home. Lest we forget, Howard Dean.

Former Democratic National Committee chairman Howard Dean says the Muslim community center and mosque being planned near the World Trade Center site is an "affront" to people who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks, and the center should be moved elsewhere. In an interview with WABC's David Goodman Wednesday, Dean said moving the mosque to another site would be "a better idea."

Lest we forget, there is a large African-American community of Muslims. Hard enough to be black in the U.S. without the dual pressure of being Muslim as well. Yet some of our greatest heroes are Muslim—from Malcolm X to Muhammed Ali. So many of us name our children Malik, Jamal, Khadijah or Aisha.

Islamophobia And The African-American Muslim

By Nicole Balin: Whether it’s vandalizing a Mosque or a hateful taunt, harassment of Muslim Americans post 9/11 is at an all time high. But what about African-American Muslims, who according to the most recent study by the Virginia based Allied Media Corp, make up 24% of 7 million Muslims in America? They can be harder to recognize (they often don’t wear scarves or head dresses) but they are lawmakers, rappers, and even corporate executives.Debra Mubashshir Majeed, an associate professor of philosophy and religious studies at Beloit College in Beloit, WI and author of Encyclopedia of Women and Religion in North America (Indiana University Press, 2006), says this is really about the stereotype of what a Muslim looks like. Dress is the cultural aspect of the faith and interestingly, since 9/11, people associate the Arab garb with Islam.

African-American Muslims range in faith from NOI to Sunni to Sufi. Masjids are not uncommon in our neighborhoods, from Harlem to Chicago to Detroit.

Islamaphobia infects even our presidential politics. "H" for Hussein, and who can forget these news stories, which still infect our thought processes? Used as a slur, it re-enforces racist Islamophobic memes.

I was proud to see Congressman Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, featured at Netroots Nation 2011.  

Keith Ellison has represented the Fifth Congressional District of Minnesota in the U.S. House of Representatives since taking office on January 4, 2007. His philosophy is one of "generosity and inclusiveness." His roots as a community activist and his message of inclusivity through democratic participation resonates throughout the Fifth District. His priorities in Congress are: promoting peace, prosperity for working families, environmental sustainability, and civil and human rights.

He gave this inspiring and rousing keynote address.

He is a bright beacon for our future.  

The tentacles of Islamophobia are twined around not just the body politic of the U.S.
Europe as well as the US faces a growing chorus of bigotry documented in Chris Allen's "Islamophobia".

Islamophobia, Chris Allen
Despite numerous sources suggesting that Islamophobia is becoming both increasingly prevalent and societally acceptable in the contemporary world, there remains a lack of textual sources that consider either the phenomenon itself, or its manifestations and consequences. There is no authoritative text that attempts to understand or contextualise what might be seen to be one of the most dangerous prejudices in the contemporary climate. Chris Allen begins by looking at ways of defining and understanding Islamophobia. He traces its historical evolution to the present day, considering the impact of recent events and their aftermath especially in the wake of the events of September 11, before trying to understand and comprehend a wider conception of the phenomenon. A series of investigations thematically consider the role of the media, the contemporary positioning of Muslims throughout the world, and whether Islamophobia can be seen to be a continuum of historical anti-Muslimism or anti-Islamism, or whether Islamophobia is an entirely modern concept. The issue of Islamophobia is considered from the perspective of the local, regional, and global. The incidence of Islamophobia, and the magnitude of the phenomenon and its consequences, is one that warrants a greater investigation in the world today.

So what is to be done? What does the future hold for Muslims in the U.S. 10 years after the towers are no more?

10th Anniversary of 9/11 and Muslim Americans: the Need for a New Narrative  

While post-9/11 resulted in necessary Western government responses to counter international and domestic terrorism, this tragic event has been widely exploited by far-right neocons, hardline Christian Zionist Right and xenophobic forces. Islam and mainstream Muslims have been brush-stroked with "terrorism," equated with the actions of a fraction of violent extremists. Major polls by Gallup, PEW and others reported the extent to which many Americans and Europeans had and have a problem not only with terrorists but also with Islam and all Muslims.

Islamophobia grew exponentially, as witnessed in America's 2008 presidential and 2010 congressional elections, Park 51 and post-Park 51 anti-mosque and so-called anti-Shariah campaigns, as well as increased hate speech and violence. The massacre in Norway is a tragic signal of this metastasizing social cancer. Anders Behring Breivik's 1500-page manifesto confirmed the influence of the hate speech spread by American anti-Muslim (Islamophobic) leaders, organizations and websites.

It is truly time for a new narrative, one that is informed by facts, and that is data-driven, to replace the shrill voices of militant Muslim bashers and opportunistic politicians chasing funds and votes. Key findings from the recently released Abu Dhabi Gallup Report, Muslim Americans: Faith, Freedom, and the Future, offer data that provide a good starting point -- a very different picture of Muslims in America today.

Let us join together with our Muslim brothers and sisters to fight intolerance and bigotry.

Join up with Americans Against Islamophobia.

Let the beacons of light that mark the site of the towers guide us to a place of peace and understanding.

Let us build new towers of spirit, forged in solidarity, not rooted in animosity and bigotry.  

As-Salāmu `Alaykum

Peace be upon you.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Please share your stories, thoughts (156+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ana Thema, Olkate, Clem Yeobright, doroma, Yasuragi, Onomastic, blue jersey mom, andgarden, angstall, Kaili Joy Gray, carolanne, seeta08, nicolemm, JesterDel, JekyllnHyde, KJG52, marleycat, rockhound, side pocket, badger, Barbie02360, Moody Loner, a2nite, scribe, sebastianguy99, ms badger, txdemfem, Mnemosyne, lissablack, sockpuppet, MrJayTee, GoGoGoEverton, myboo, jinx303, eeff, left my heart, Debby, Lorinda Pike, PapaChach, Clarknt67, KayCeSF, gloriana, KrazyKitten, maryabein, FogCityJohn, SottoVoce, Nada Lemming, foucaultspendulum, no way lack of brain, historys mysteries, blindyone, mithra, Nona D Above, your neighbor, Lefty Coaster, Mayfly, vidanto, hopeful human, raina, copymark, Aji, CA ridebalanced, mishal817, Kimball Cross, Sylv, maineprogressiveswarehouse, shortgirl, esquimaux, fou, mdmslle, blueoregon, DamselleFly, sharonsz, Gooserock, davehouck, geordie, classico, sturunner, parryander, jnhobbs, BluejayRN, Sandy on Signal, Chacounne, readerwriter, asterkitty, Mindful Nature, TigerMom, dewley notid, joanbrooker, Kysen, edrie, SoCaliana, angry hopeful liberal, Nowhere Man, Kentucky DeanDemocrat, MaryinHammondsport, Velocity, oldcrow, second gen, rebel ga, Diana in NoVa, carolyn urban, sngmama, zenox, bythesea, AnnetteK, franklyn, dss, tardis10, klompendanser, BachFan, politik, denig, JanF, jessical, SoCalSal, ladypockt, BobboSphere, Annalize5, royce, Dancun74, Steve Singiser, Ian Reifowitz, addisnana, Loonesta, evilpenguin, greenbird, gogirl2, tharu1, Matt Z, meralda, barbwires, smoothnmellow, Rashaverak, catilinus, TN yellow dog, Creosote, shanikka, Sybil Liberty, BeeDeeS, AgavePup, mommyof3, hardart, blueness, LSmith, imokyrok, skohayes, Grassroots Mom, Actbriniel, texasmom, FindingMyVoice, legendmn, missLotus, EclecticCrafter, Free Jazz at High Noon, mikejay611

    prayers and memories, and ways we can build a stronger community in the days and years ahead.

    "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

    by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:18:16 AM PDT

  •  On not going back ... yet (32+ / 0-)

    I had a 94-year-old woman tell me the other day she has all her son's letters from Viet Nam - before he was killed - stored in a tin box in her dresser and she intends to read them again ... she's just not ready yet.

    It isn't always so easy to move on, is it?

    Am I right, or am I right? - The Singing Detective

    by Clem Yeobright on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:36:37 PM PDT

  •  thanks for this diary denise (29+ / 0-)

    the only thing that I can think of to say is that what happened that day was a criminal act, not an act of war.  The perverse rhetoric of the Bush Administration and its cronies have not only fed the Islamaphobic culture that was simmering before 9/11 and has blossomed since, and has resulted in a right-wing Republican party that we must resist with all our might.

    "Kossacks are held to a higher standard. Like Hebrew National hot dogs." - blueaardvark

    by louisev on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:39:52 PM PDT

  •  I have family who are native NY/NJ and they (23+ / 0-)

    are so full of hatred, fear and mistrust. I can't imagine what it was like for those who experienced 9/11 firsthand but it was also horrifying for those of us who experienced it second-hand.

    Coming as it did on the heels of intense personal difficulty, it blurs into a cautious and frightened year and a decade of nightmare-inducing violence against people who were likely proclaiming themselves 'one of us' after 9/11. My heart breaks for the country we could have been and for the lives of the innocent, both here and abroad that have been sacrificed on the altar of the military industrial complex.

    And please forgive me for a moment of cynicism, but I'm a big football fan and seeing the flag-waving and beautiful shots of the Statue of Liberty before the Redskins/Giants game has been incredibly poignant considering our current policy of demonizing immigrants to this country who are in search of nothing more than a better life.

  •  Thank you for sharing (18+ / 0-)

    Such a personal story. Thank you for sharing it.

    10 years is not such a long time and yet it does seem like so much has happened to change our world.

    In 2000 when the election was given to Bush I thought 'how bad could it be'?

    Among the many things I will never forget since 9/11/2001 ... I will never let myself forget how much bad one person can inflict upon the world.

    "I'd like to find your inner child and kick it's little ass." -Don Henely

    by Olkate on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:44:01 PM PDT

  •  I work in lower Manhattan, and I spent a (31+ / 0-)

    couple years back in the 90s working in Building 7. It was an archaeological lab for the Five Points site. I have not been back to the WTC site in 10 years. I am troubled by all the maudlin TV this weekend. I have been watching the Food Channel. What upsets me most is the aftermath of 9/11--the Islamophobia, the Patriot Act, and the totally unnecessary war in Iraq.

  •  Intense story (15+ / 0-)

    What's interesting to me is that, while I've heard personal stories from other people who have olive complexion that it could be unpleasant to go out on public, I haven't seen it much written about. I suspect that most people have concluded that little good can come of the discussion. I'm not so sure, and I'm glad you wrote about it.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:45:34 PM PDT

  •  A word, Denise (2+ / 0-)

    I'm all about diversity...just so many Americans are all about diversity.  I grew up with Mexican-Americans in my school and I have played sports against just so many different races of people that were here as Americans.

    Saying that, Americans, as a whole, are very suspect with regard to Muslims.  The reason come primarily because of 9/11, of course.  We intelligent folks here and we folks here that honor diversity in our society don't see agree with that feeling, but, alas, that's a big feeling in American society.  

    The biggest fear by most Americans is that the Muslims coming here to integrate into our society will want to change our laws and have our governnment go the way of sharia law (sp?).  That, to the vast majority of Americans is totally unacceptable.  Even "honoring" the religious doctrines of Islam is against most people's beliefs in this country.  We can say that "we accepted Mexicans or the French or the Spanish people", but they still believed in American's majority Christian values.  We can say that we accepted the Hindu's and the Japanese with their religion....but, they NEVER tried to change our customs or integrate their religious beliefs in our laws.  Americans believe that muslims will do this...and that it is their goal to do exactly that.

    It's a threat...and I'm not so sure a great many right here on Kos think that as well.

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:48:50 PM PDT

  •  A sorrowful beauty in your diary Dee. (20+ / 0-)

    How could it be anything else?

    I dearly hope this country learns to move beyond fear and it's bastard child, hate, to this -

    Let the beacons of light that mark the site of the towers
    guide us to a place of peace and understanding.
    Let us build new towers of spirit, forged in solidarity, not rooted in animosity and bigotry.  

    As-Salāmu `Alaykum

    Peace be upon you.

    That would be a true honoring of all those who died on 9/11 and since.

    All blessings to you, your husband, to those you lost on this day 10 years ago, and to all who loved them.


    "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it." President Obama

    by Onomastic on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:50:00 PM PDT

  •  I was worried about my sister (9+ / 0-)

    for a little while after 9/11 when the anti-Middle Eastern hysteria became obvious, we are both half Armenian and she is quite a bit darker than me. Luckily for her  she moves in relatively privileged circles, and her name is "safe" sounding

    I offer a Muse song written after 9/11 , how we looked to a thoughtful Brit

    -7.75, -6.05 And these wars; they can't be won Does anyone know or care how they begun?-Matt Bellamy

    by nicolemm on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:52:31 PM PDT

  •  10 yrs later, islamophobia is fierce (18+ / 0-)

    and omnipresent.  The attacks accelerated xenophobia, nativism, and the animus against immigrants.

    Thank you Denise for bringing attention to this.  It is up to each and everyone of us to put an end to this ongoing demonization of folk of arab, south asian, latino, and muslim descent.  

    I say that as someone who hails from a Muslim and Indo-Carib family.  And on my mother's side, our name is actually Hussain.

    I worried for my father and my brother after 9/11.  I still do.

    Educate and teach.  Much thanks, Denise.

    I'd like to also ask everyone to watch the film below.  The animus against immigrants in this country has become an epic and dangerous tragedy.

    Set in the U.S./Mexico border area near Tucson, Arizona, a region that sees more and more migrant deaths every year, the video explores the idea that the way to move forward is to find connections and build coalitions among between diverse groups of allies — including Muslim-, South Asian-, African-, and Latino-Americans; civil rights lawyers and media activists — that have identified with each other’s histories and united in the common goals of justice, equality, and respect for all.
    •  Checkpoint Nation is definitely (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lefty Coaster, seeta08

      something we should all see. Thanks for posting SeetaSis!

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:07:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  One of the things that I remember very clearly (9+ / 0-)

      and I was in lower Manhattan, south of 14th street, in the part of the city that was shut down in the immediate aftermath, was the news story from AZ, about the Sihkh man who was murdered pumping gas because someone two thousand + miles away from the events thought he was a Muslim.

      Four days after the event we in that part of Manhattan were struggling with helping people, helping people cope and taking it all in.  Somebody with little or no understanding of that, and no connection to what was going on on the ground on the other side of the country were acting out misplaced rage violently.  

      Not exactly the expression of "unity" that most people had in mind when they praised our national unity.  

      Flags and unity and "national purpose" all seemingly desirable goals and positive symbols, except when they aren't.

      Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

      by a gilas girl on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:23:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In the fall of 2001 I was on a pagan email list-- (7+ / 0-)

        immediately after 9/11 the pagans recruited homes where American Muslims would be welcome to stay/hide-out in case there was some kind of mass movement against them.  That never came to pass, I'm glad to say.

        Maybe that reaction was naive, but it was admirable. Pagans still think about witch-hunts.

        As offensive as our adversaries can be, it is always the people on our own side who drive us crazy.

        by Mayfly on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:45:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not naive at all (6+ / 0-)

          Too many of us American Pagans have been targeted for harassment by Christian teachers or co-workers or bosses, or had our children taken from us by Christian judges. Some, like Darla K. Wynne, have had houses vandalized, their pets brutally murdered, and their lives threatened. Many of us have been subject to the same kind of hate and fear directed at American Muslims. All too often the witch-hunting has been literal.

          I was working for the FBI in Hawaii as an analyst a few years after 9/11. Several Pagan groups and the few known practicing ME immigrant Muslims on Oahu (as opposed to Indonesian or other SE Asian Muslims) were targeted for investigations, based on nothing more than that they were the "wrong" kinds of Americans. There was no material evidence of any wrongdoing, or reasonable suspicion of any criminal act. Just hate.

          If you are a religious minority, law enforcement is neither your friend nor your ally. Do not trust that you will be helped if the worst happens.

          When are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage. - Practical Magic

          by Keori on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:23:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks, love u, love ur thoughtfulness (5+ / 0-)

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:54:32 PM PDT

  •  As a (13+ / 0-)

    White, straight family in an urban Bay Area community, we had to put up American flags to protect ourselves from our neighbors, too.

    But nothing like that.

    Soon after, when we were in the mall, there was a Muslim couple with a table set up offering to answer questions and being shunned. I am ashamed to admit how much it took for me to shake their hands, compliment their bravery, and get a Qu'ran from them, but I did.

    So what do we non-Muslims do? Visit. Accept. Be respectful when we ask questions. And don't let the media or our neighbors tell us to be afraid.

    Like they do every year, around this time. And why, when I took the man's hand, realized it was sweating, looked into his eyes and saw a man just as afraid of the Other as I was, why I hate this fucking fake-ass Patriot Day so.

    Are you on the Wreck List? Horde on Garrosh.

    by Moody Loner on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 02:59:56 PM PDT

  •  My 9/11 (16+ / 0-)

    We haven't had a TV for about 12 years, since my first child was born, so on 9/11 I was at home alone listening to the NPR and being six months pregnant. I remember listening to Scott Simon trying to convey the awfulness, the confusion, the panic of those moments. But not seeing it over and over and over again, the impact is less for me. It's about the same Challenger exploding or Jonestown or Katrina.

    Losing anyone close to you is horrible, but seeing the images played over and over and over again while the fear-mongers on Fox peddle their brand of insanity has warped the minds of so many people who have never been to New York or Washington and knew no one who knew anyone who died that day. For example, an elderly neighbor of my mother is to this day convinced that her rural community is next on the terrorists' list. What died that day was our nation's sanity.

  •  I, too, do not own a flag pin, (12+ / 0-)

    nor have I been downtown since, nor do I intend to go there.

    I lived and worked in Manhattan for a long time, saw those buildings go up and hated them as the ugly monstrosities they were. They were also part of Nelson Rockefeller's edifice complex, which is why the Albany skyline looks the way it does.

    A well-known city planner joked shortly after they opened that they were so bad that the only way to fix them was to tear them down and start over. But this isn't what he meant.

    As for the excrescence that was and is George W. Bush and his treatment of this horrible time, Juan Cole sums it up very nicely today in his posting for Informed Comment.

    Thank you for writing this, Denise. I knew I was still sad, but didn't realize I was still quite so angry about how it was mishandled and appropriated for political purposes.


    Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why. -- Hunter S. Thompson

    by Mnemosyne on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:03:49 PM PDT

  •  ((((madam cuz))) (10+ / 0-)

    I didn't know you worked in the world trade at that time!


    as for Nadhiyr, you know Kamal feels his pain.  and as for him looking like a cousin of Osama... remember what Zaccharias Moussaoui looked like.  I was growing out my dreads and beard at the time, and dude made me realize it wouldn't matter if I shaved everything except a goatee, I'd still look a lot like a suspect.

    either way, I've NEVER flown without that "sir can you come over here" extra patdown since.  lol seemed to me everyone got up in arms last year about something thats happened to me every time I've flown since '01.  and I fly a LOT.  

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:08:11 PM PDT

    •  I was thinking of you when I wrote (4+ / 0-)

      this Kamal.  

      Shudder everytime I go to an airport.  

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:12:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  oh and because I decided in the late 90s that (6+ / 0-)

      I was gonna OWN the American flag because of my family history (which matches the uniquely American family history of so many people we know) so I already had a bunch of USA olympic gear like basketball and soccer jerseys and a couple of those tees old navy's been making for the 4th since forever so I just rocked those like I had been.  when I wasn't rocking my marley tees and the red gold and green of course lol

      a lot of my more militant friends used to look at me crazy before AND after 9/11 when I'd rock the flag but I'd retort I've got the three way split you only get in the Americas (AfricanIndianEuropean), and I've got bonafide heroes to this country on both sides of my family.  I'm claimin it.  you should too.  we built this thing, come to that.  you don't see, for instance Jamaicans being sorry they were born Jamaican.  they revel in it.  why can't we be proud of OUR flag?

      point being I didn't have to 'rally around the flag' like so many Americans.  I was already embracing it, warts and all, when it happened.  everyone caught up to where I was.  it was weird, even still.

      This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

      by mallyroyal on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:20:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  one of the most tangible (10+ / 0-)

    manifestations of this I remember, living in lower Manhattan at the time, was that post 9/12 all the NYC Taxi drivers had flags or flag decals on their cabs.  They were necessary for safety, an insurance policy.

    There was a lot of debate about flag displaying in those days in late September and October.  Todd Gitlin had written his first piece about the flag and I was in staunch disagreement with all the flag waving, until it was pointed out to me exactly what you've written about here, some people needed those flags to mark themselves as "not terrorist".  Flags had a completely different meaning in the multiethnic, multicultural, multinational and multilingual post 9/11 NYC.

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:08:30 PM PDT

  •  Denise do you also go (2+ / 0-)

    to tambors? I love them! I attended one last night that was awesome. Maybe we can talk about these and other Bimbes and invite one another to visit each others city. I would like to meet your Husband. Please let me know. Thanks for the diary.

  •  I bought a new car in March '01. (7+ / 0-)

    September '01, the Chicago Tribune included an adhesive 3X5 flag that I affixed to the rear window of my car.  My car has only around 45K mis, and a flag on its rear window.

    Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

    by ChiTownDenny on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:11:37 PM PDT

  •  My partner is from Iran (10+ / 0-)

    We starting dating in early 2002.  At that time, he owned a restaurant.  Business really declined from that day on and never recovered.  This was partially due to the economy and partially due to unspoken bigotry of the clientele.  Once I was having dinner with him at his place and someone who did not know he was the owner started talking trash about how "we never used to let people like this in here before".  Other patrons shut him down.  There were other occasions as well dealing with bigots.

    At the same time when we started dating, my father was dieing from cancer.  He was pretty much bed-ridden and watched a lot of TV because he could not concentrate on much else.  The hatred and Islamophobia and fear of brown people affected his thinking so much that he actually said to me "Those people (terrorists) come from there".  That was a stab in the heart.  

    There are other instances, smaller, but they accumulate.  

  •  An editorial in this past week's Chicago Tribune, (8+ / 0-)

    by Steve Chapman, who is decidedly right wing, was interesting that I might share here.  I share it because of this:

    Millions of Muslims live in the United States. Had even a tiny percentage been radicalized enough to commit violence, they could have done immense damage. Despite all the efforts to upgrade security at a few crucial sites, it really wouldn't be hard for any group to kill lots of people.[...]We hear a lot of allegations of radical American imams preaching jihad. If so, they are not getting through. The simple fact is that most American Muslims don't sympathize with religious extremism, and almost none is willing to practice it.

    Who kept us safe after 9/11?

    Koch Industries, Inc: Quilted Northern, Angel Soft, Brawny, Sparkle, Soft 'n Gentle, Mardi Gras, Vanity Fair, Dixie

    by ChiTownDenny on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:17:41 PM PDT

  •  I'm a field service technician... (8+ / 0-) the Philadelphia area, and on that morning, I was scheduled to do a service call in Center City Philadelphia.  The day before, I had gotten my paycheck, so I stopped at the bank near my office on the way to my calls.  They had broken in on the financial reports they usually run on the TV to show what was happening.

    I remember getting back into my car to start heading south on I-95 into the city, and being such a clear morning, the skyline came into view quickly.  The first thing I noticed was the Liberty Place towers, which happened to be where my second call was scheduled.  I call my boss on the phone, and remember telling him, "I don't feel comfortable going into the city today," to which he replied, "contact the customer and see what they're doing."  I went to my first call anyway, and when I got there at 9:30, they were already clearing out of the office.  I figured that the larger Liberty Place buildings would be empty by the time I got there too, so I just headed back to our shop.

    It surprises me just how vividly I remember that morning, and how I felt when it happened.  Here's to hoping that no one else ever has to experience anything like that ever again.

    "If you're a talented person and you're not successful there is probably something inside of you that is stopping you from being successful, and sadly, it might be your talent." -Marc Maron

    by Nona D Above on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:21:21 PM PDT

  •  Ten years in (14+ / 0-)

    and not a week goes by without hearing some islamophobic statement.  

    My sweet, beautiful, now 32 year old son is 1/4 Syrian and he's had to hear this crap all his life.  Islamophobia isn't new to him, it's just louder and clearer.  

    I have heard people who I thought were my friends call him my "rag head son".  

    I've heard people call him a "sand n***er".  

    He was called the Ayatolla in baseball by other kids' parents, who obviously didn't understand they were sitting next to his dad, otherwise they'd have whispered it.  

    Thanks for the diary, it's much better than the jingoism that Fox Sports had on display before football.  

    Ask not for whom the ban hammer swings. It swings for thee.

    by Nada Lemming on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:22:53 PM PDT

    •  That is awful Nada. Just awful (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nona D Above, Moody Loner, Mayfly, Matt Z

      How does your son deal with it?

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:37:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  He smiles (0+ / 0-)

        He has the most beautiful smile, people melt when they see it.  

        He has also written a wonderful children's book, written from an Arab point of view, about a little boy making hummus for a holiday feast.  The ethnicity in the illustrations are telling.  The whole family is multi-ethnic, and the boy is blonde, just like him.  There is some wonderful prose I'll crib here.  He's trying to publish it now. It's like a middle eastern Dr Seuss.  

        Excerpt from Mosquamba!  (Arabic for, roughly, "this thing that I am smelling is better than winning the lottery and a month of birthdays")

        But when the family sat and the dinner bell chimed
        the boy and his grandpa had finished on time
        on the day that was when the whole family would gather
        with bowls and with dishes and glasses and platters
        and uncles and nephews and nieces and brothers
        and cousins and sisters were there with their mothers
             to feast on a magical garlicky dish
        with chicken and lamb chops and kettles of fish
        and eat at a table from here to next week
        and marvel at the boy's hummus technique

        He ends with the recipe for hummus that kids can do.  

        Ask not for whom the ban hammer swings. It swings for thee.

        by Nada Lemming on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 08:13:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  The plan was to turn America into a land of fear.. (12+ / 0-)

    and distrust, to pit Americans against the "Islamic" world and our government and many of our people fell into the trap. The trap of revenge, hate and fear, the sacrificial system of identifying an "other" to unify against and by destroying them end our own anxiety. It is an old trap, a tribal and ancient way of thinking that arises from a clan and tribal root we must uproot and honestly examine, in order to bring about the change necessary to eliminate the ignorance, fear and anxiety inherent in our culture.

    Emotion trumps reason in any crisis that is perceived to be an existential threat. Both Bin Laden and Bush knew this and used the emotion to appeal to our basest instincts in order to further their own agendas. Both wanted to create a "new world order," both failed and engendered only mistrust, fear, death, chaos and failure.

    My business was destroyed on 9/11, subsequently the financial distresss tore my family apart and the impact of that remains to this very day. I lost three friends on that day, deaths that occured as a result of the simple act of going to work. 9/11 ripped my life apart, but the subsequent acts of my government are the true tragedy that my children will have to live with; an America in the grip of fear and a diminshed hope; an America of lost opportunities and internal division; an America ruled not governed.

    Gandhi said it best. "An eye for an eye, making the whole world blind."  

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:23:32 PM PDT

  •  The saddest thing for me (9+ / 0-)

    in the past couple weeks has been listening to stories, mostly on NPR, from American Muslims about how they felt after 9/11 and how they still feel. One from the man who was the union steward at Windows on the World, who was responsible for finding out how many of his coworkers, his brothers and sisters he called them, had been in the building at the time, how he spent days working on finding them, or not, and then days later was shopping for groceries and was verbally assaulted for being Muslim. Or the doctor, a southerner who sounds like any good old boy you'd want to hear, who feels funny while out dining with his wife who wears the hijab. Or a local participating in a round table discussion about kids and 9/11, talking about how she has to be as good as she can be because she's a Muslim and she wants people to know Muslims are okay, they're good people. How sad is that?

    I went to work out today. I use a rec center on a university campus. As I went around the track, I kept passing a young man moving a desk in the opposite direction (the track has classrooms nearby and a walkway for those not working out). He was definitely Middle Eastern. He didn't look at me the first couple times we passed and I thought what a hard day it must be for him. The third time, and before he left the area, our eyes did meet and I said, "Hey," and smiled. He returned it. I have very little connection to the events of 9/11. It seems perverse to me to take it on with a lot of breast-beating. I'm glad I could make that small gesture, though.

    Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. --Mark Twain

    by Debby on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:24:48 PM PDT

  •  As an American Muslim (15+ / 0-)

    I truly appreciate your story and views on Islamophobia. On 9/11 I was an 8th grader living in suburban Texas. Never mind that I was a straight A student, played on the football team, was a Boy Scout, and volunteered. Because of my ethnicity (Pakistani) and my last name, I became targeted by my once friends and peers. It is sad to see how these attitudes still prevail today. I recently moved back home and was reading the online version of the local paper yesterday. There was a story about patriotic Muslims and the challenges they faced with their image. On the comments section, you could see that the vast majority of comments were homophobic. What is worse was how many people "liked" those comments. We will never be able to eradicate ignorance. All we can do is live our lives with love and peacefulness. I try to do this every day, even with the ones I disagree with.

    "If the machine of government is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then, I say, break the law."-Thoreau

    by mishal817 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:25:34 PM PDT

  •  Getting here hella late, but . . . (8+ / 0-)

    I wanted to say thanks for a superbly written piece, Denise.

    I lived in DC on 9/11, and in the days that followed we saw some of the same stuff you write about.  Suddenly it seemed as if almost every cab I got into had a little American flag flying on the antenna or displayed on the bumper.  I'd take a look at the driver and see a Sikh, an Iranian, or (as is so common in DC) an Ethiopian.  I listened in appalled disbelief as one Sikh cab driver told me what he'd been through in the days immediately following the attacks.  The Islamophobia was horrific, and it was affecting people like him and Christian Ethiopians, even though they weren't Muslims.  

    I felt dirty and ashamed of all the ignorance.  I started to make an extra effort to patronize the Arab and Muslim-owned businesses in the neighborhood.  When I did, I made a point of looking the shopowners in the eye, greeting them warmly, and thanking them appropriately.  It was precious little, but I felt the need somehow to communicate that "we" weren't all bent on some kind of revenge.  I couldn't usually bring myself to ask what I wanted to ask, which was whether they were okay, whether they'd been harrassed or attacked, and whether they felt safe.  Mostly they seemed warily silent, as if they were afraid to speak up about how they were being treated.

    It may go against the grain of how most Americans commemorate this day, but September 11th doesn't rouse in me any feelings of patriotism.  All I can feel is a mixture of sorrow, disgust, and regret.  Sorrow for those who died and for their families; disgust at the shameless exploitation and wave of anti-Muslim bigotry that followed; and regret that even ten years later, far too few Americans understand the importance of what you've written about here today.

    Tipped and recc'd.  You've written some really good ones before, but you outdid yourself today.  Kudos.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:31:57 PM PDT

  •  Sorrow for those who died that day and since then (6+ / 0-)

    After President George W Bush exploited the nation's horror and hysteria transforming it into a jingoistic war fever that wouldn't subside until Americans woke up to the reality that the War in Iraq wasn't going to be the quick inexpensive cake walk Bush and Cheney had sold to Americans.

    Gasoline made from the tar sands gives a Toyota Prius the same impact on climate as a Hummer using gasoline made from oil. ~ Al Gore

    by Lefty Coaster on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:33:35 PM PDT

  •  Denise, as always, thank you for sharing with us. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Mayfly
  •  Thank you (5+ / 0-)

    We deliberately spent a quiet weekend with our children; the eldest came up from Boston for her first trip home since starting law school. Yours is the first and only diary I have read today and I cannot express the emotions...

    Thank you. Much peace to you.

  •  A wonderful and thoughtful diary, Dee. (19+ / 0-)

    It saddens me to think of what might have been, the nation we could have become, had we, as a country, reacted differently in the days and weeks and months after 9/11. Had our response to our profound national grief been different, had we chosen to embrace each other rather than divide further, where might we be today? If we had sought peace rather than vengeance, if we had been called upon to comfort each other and help one another, rather than spy on each other and go shopping and take our families to Disney World, and of course stock up on duct tape ... Where would we be today?

    Grief isn't rational; I understand that now far better than I did a decade ago. I think perhaps we were simply not capable, as a nation, of doing anything more than reacting to and with our grief, and we used that grief to justify the way we lashed out at the world and at each other. It was an irrational time, inventing new enemies and new ways to divide ourselves, and I think we have not yet recovered from it. And those who dared to call for calm, for introspection, for peace ... they were punished, ostracized, condemned. How dare you speak of logic when we are grieving? Our grief trumped everything.

    And of course our grieving was narrowly defined by our crooked leaders and by the loud voices on TV. Only a certain kind of grief was acceptable. If you were willing to question an entire faith, or anyone whose skin color was not sufficiently "American", it was somehow justifiable. If, on the other hand, you dared to question the blood thirst that swept the nation, or if you had the misfortune of having a "different" name ... you weren't grieving the "right" way, you weren't even capable of understanding the nation's grief, and your motivations and loyalties were called into question.

    And now this is our "new normal." This is who we are, who we have become—a nation so traumatized by its grief that it will justify hatred and fear and violence and bigotry by invoking this date. Among the many reasons to mourn on this day, I think this, our squandered opportunity to be better, to learn from our grief rather than react to it, is one of them.  

  •  Wow. Thanks for sharing this story. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, asterkitty

    I felt anger and great great sadness at your account of the actions you and your husband took after 9/11 to try to ensure your safety, declare your "loyalty". Wow.

    Thanks for sharing, De.

    We have a few mosques in our community here in DC. They are black muslims. The buildings the occupy used to be baptist churches. Many of our community are exposed to Islam in the prison systems but it's grown larger than the NOI version that used to be the norm "back in the day".

    Thanks for a great post. I was delighted about the action link too. I love action.

    It's time. Time for us to come together to support each other. Enough is enough.

    It's the difference between losing a fight and refusing one. (h/t Kossack james richardson)

    by mdmslle on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:49:09 PM PDT

  •  That's Something People of Many Backgrounds Have (3+ / 0-)

    found themselves needing to do at one point or another in our history.

    It doesn't help that there's often a lot of money to be made from inflaming our mutual fears and anger.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:51:01 PM PDT

  •  It’s like Rudy Giuliani around here. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Mayfly

    A noun, a verb and 911.

  •  thank you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Mayfly, tardis10

    and peace to you.

  •  Powerful testimony. (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    In 2005 I saw this car parked outside the Smithsonian. I was so pissed that I had to take a picture.

    With every goddess a let down, every idol a bring down, it gets you down / but the search for perfection, your own predilection, goes on and on and on. . .

    by cardinal on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:54:50 PM PDT

  •  great diary Deo, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Mayfly, Matt Z

    thanks so much for the read.

    "Fascism is attracting the dregs of humanity- people with a slovenly biography - sadists, mental freaks, traitors." - ILYA EHRENBURG

    by durrati on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 03:56:35 PM PDT

  •  Bad people come at you one at a time. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, smiley7, Mayfly

    Like good people.  Judge them one by one.  

    Stand with the good against the bad when the bad stand against the good.

    A song from your old neighborhood. It just felt right for today.

    Assent- and you are sane- Demur- you’re straightway dangerous- And handled with a Chain- - Emily Dickinson

    by SpamNunn on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:04:06 PM PDT

  •  Wow, I'm very happy that you were late to work (5+ / 0-)

    that day.

    Something similar happened to a cousing of a friend of mine.

    A fascinating and compelling read.

    Thank you.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:05:30 PM PDT

  •  Recall the FIRST image, and then its replacement? (6+ / 0-)

    On my own home blog, I decided to finally have it out with this date, myself.

    I remember well that the image of the day was of civilians without training coming to work in the pile, making lines of volunteers. I remember the spontaneous memorials. I remember the way that the radio invited ordinary people to help, and ordinary people who showed up at all hours to help in any possible way.

    The image we had of 9/11 was everyday people with their differences erased all giving to each other.

    That image became militarized gradually. First, the fact that we honored the fire companies and the compelling stories led to fire company tales -- which were altogether worthy of telling. Those then took the place of responders, of all responders, the police included. Then the "wars of 9/11," which were as unrelated to 9/11 as anything might be, so entangled the day and got so often intentionally entangled that the military somehow got enmeshed in the date.

    Even at this moment, one of the memorial services is playing military music as a memorial. This was an event that did not respect religion, and the people responded without class or religion or race. It is as vile as canker sores that people use this date for its opposite, to create class and racism and religious bigotry.

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:08:17 PM PDT

  •  ((((((((((((((((((((((Sis Deo))))))))))))))))))))) (4+ / 0-)

    Amen !

    And lest we forget, Jose Padilla, an American born in Chicago, still sits in solitary confinement, his mind destroyed by years of torture by his own AMERICAN government.

                       Standing with you,
                       Peace be upon you,

    Torture is ALWAYS wrong, no matter who is inflicting it on whom.

    by Chacounne on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:09:11 PM PDT

  •  Everyone is something....... (3+ / 0-)

    Muslim, Christian, Agnostic, Jewish. But not any of those somethings are terrorists. All of these factions came together on 9/11 to rescue, and repair. They all came together to fight against terrorism under one name...American. Their religion, ethnicity, color, or creed had nothing to do with the enemy they abhorred. The unity and determination of all Americans transcended the efforts of terrorism to destroy the nation they all love so dearly.

  •  Thank you Denise (4+ / 0-)

    You asked that we might share our thoughts; and immediately coming to mind for me is that treating each other with respect, understanding and compassion leads to peace.  And if our goal is peace among all of our Earth's peoples, then treating each other with respect, understanding and compassion must begin with each of us, today, everyday, throughout the entirety of each day.

    And that includes here on this site, in each diary, in each thread, in each post; in every exchange we have with other members of this community.

    Then it spreads from how we treat each other here to how we treat others that we deal with in the world of politics.  If our goal is peace among all of our Earth's peoples, then we must bring respect, understanding and compassion to the way we talk with and about Republicans, Tea Party members, and politicians.

    And that understandably seems a tall order; but if we wish to see change in the behavior of those who unfairly and falsely accuse, blame, fear and castigate, if we wish to see change in those whose actions cause so much suffering in the world, if we wish our world to move toward peace, then we must change our own behavior toward those same people and groups that we so easily and so often find at fault.

    I am heartened to see so much growing communication between people all over the world through the many channels made possible by the internet.  I am heartened to see so many people around the world working for social justice and non-violent change.  But, in my view, our progress toward peace as a global community must begin with each of us, and with the interactions we have with everyone we come in contact with.

    Respect, understanding, compassion.  We are all children of this Earth; we all share a common and interconnecting bond of humanity at the core of each one of us.  And given this common bond, if we wish for peace, if we wish to see our world move toward peace, then our actions, our speech, our thoughts, must reflect that wish.

    So, that's what came to mind when I read your request for thoughts in response to your moving diary and on this day of reflection on the past and hope for the future.

    Thank you again Denise.

  •  it is an honor to read your diary. (6+ / 0-)

    i have avoided all 9/11 writings - as a new yorker displaced to california, i cannot go back.  i worked in the towers in a different way.  one company i worked for built battery park city - and the red marble walkway was ours - i used it to cross into the oppenheimer building (the one with the triangle roof that was in the foreground of all of the smouldering shots) when it was 60 stories and no walls.  i stood in that building looking down with only girders between me and the earth below.

    i cannot imagine the choice that some made - but think i would have been one to choose to "fly" that day, as well.

    i spent much time sharing the towers with friends and family when they came to visit - loving to share the history of new york in the towers observation deck - the view of the planes below the deck coming in to land at la guardia - telling folks about phillip petit and george willig - time spent  in the wee hours after chinese at wo hop's and then taking the staten island ferry there and back to work off the msg... walking back to 57th with friends from the ferry but ALWAYS stopping to sit atop the lions or play in the fountain of the world.

    i can't go back yet, either.  i cannot conceive of a new york with the towers not there.

    i remember when i first moved to ny in 1970 and was staying on 14th street where helpful friends pointed out that if the towers fell over, they would land on 14th.  little did we know then that they wouldn't fall "over" - they would fall "down".

    i cannot grasp blaming other americans for this tragedy - i cannot grasp our succumbing to such fear afterwards.  i cannot grasp all the hate and destruction that has occurred AFTER the towers have fallen.

    that is why i have avoided all diaries - news - media today.

    your diary expresses what america has lost - and it isn't just the towers.

    we have lost our way - and we don't know how to find the path back.

    thank you for writing this diary - it is most appropriate now and here when so many deny bigotry exists among even our sheltered group.  bigotry comes from fear - bigotry comes from ignorance.  your diary helps to teach all who read it that it is truly up to what is inside each of us to "come home" - to find our way back to a world of tolerance, sharing, love and joy.

    thank you. a thousand times!

    It's the Supreme Court, Stoopid!

    by edrie on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:30:57 PM PDT

  •  I didn't know you worked in the World Trade Center (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Mayfly, tardis10

    towers. My mom had just moved to New York City from El Paso, Texas, to work in the INS office in the federal building there that summer when I first started at Smith College in 2001. I stayed with my mother that entire summer, before I went off to Smith near the end of August. I think it was three weeks before the Towers fell, and my two brothers and mother and I were walking around by Trinity Church. I looked at the old, worn gravestones, thought about all those dead from history, and then looked at the WTC towers high above me. My only experience with the WTC was the terrorist attack in 1993, and as I looked up, I wondered out loud, "What if lightning strikes again?"

    "Mijita!" My mother admonished me, and said not to mention that. I told her that I was worried that it could happen again. She told me that it wouldn't.

    And then September 11th happened. I'd rather not dwell on that day, but on the weekend after, for what it represented: hope and unity in an United America that was squandered by George W. Bush in two misbegotton wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is that story of my visit back to NYC after September 11th:

    On Friday, I'd just stuffed all the books I needed for studying and two shirts into my backpack. I walked all the way down to the bus terminal from Capen House at Smith College and just stood around waiting for the 1:25 bus to arrive. My bus ride into New York City turned into a seven-hour long ride because of Bush's arrival into New York City. We moved slowly through nearly impassable traffic meanwhile this guy and I struck up a conversation. He was going into New York City because his girlfriend went to Fordham University and he just wanted to make sure she was all right. He kept talking about how his life had been changed by the events on Sept.11, 2001--and that he'd changed his perspective on life and wasn't going to be such an asshole anymore. I just simply nodded and kept staring out the window, watching the green corners of surburbia change into the concrete sidewalks of Queens, and the Bronx.
    As the bus kept going further into the city past the streets of Harlem and into the Upper West Side, I opened my eyes and to my shock, I saw dozens of New Yorkers on every street corner holding candles and talking quietly among themselves. There were flowers laid out on the sidewalks against the sides of buildings and almost in every shop hung the red, blue, and white American flag along with the captions,"United We Stand," and "We Shall Overcome."

    Some people were crying on the bus and I held back my tears because I didn't want my mother to worry about me when we arrived at the Port Authority bus terminal. When I came down off the bus and heard people singing, "God Bless America," outside on the street and my mother appeared and she gave me the tightest hug I've ever had in my entire life.

    She didn't let go of me for a single moment, telling me that she was so glad that I'd come to see her. She pulled back and saw my freshly pierced right ear. "What do you think?" I grinned, waggling my ear at her with my right hand. "You look just like a cow," she responded and we laughed at that, hugging each other repeatedly. We kept talking the entire time in the cab on the way back to the apartment on the Upper East Side. My little brother was worried because my mom had been at the bus terminal two hours past the time that my bus was supposed to arrive into town.

    We explained that the delay was because of Bush. He nodded, displaying disgust on his face. "That Bush always screws everything up," he said, giving me the quickest, briefest hug. He wasn't much of a hugger now that he was a moody, intellectually superior teenager. There were some candles in the apartment that my little brother had bought the day before in anticipation of the candle vigil at Lincoln Center. We took another taxicab back with the unlit candles in our hands. As we got out of the cab and paid the driver, we realized we didn't have a lighter or matches with us. Upon hearing our predicament, this bearded man pulled a lighter out of his jacket and lit our candles. I was astonished at this--people were actually listening to each other talking and helping each other.

    We stood at the back of the crowd with our lit candles and listened to people sing the anthem of America, watching New Yorkers, normally jaded, indifferent people, come together to remember the victims of the World Trade Center. People started leaving the candle vigil for their homes, huddled together, still carrying their lit candles. I watched all those lit candles making their way back home on sidewalks, in taxicabs, and on buses.

    It was almost ten and we hadn't eaten dinner yet so we went to the Island, this restaurant a few blocks away from our apartment. For the first time I can remember, people were quiet, talking softly among themselves while eating their meals. Back at the apartment, we didn't turn on the television and read books instead, trying to escape reality for a little bit. I felt so much better about my mother and little brother staying in Manhattan after having gone to that vigil and saw all that display of generousity from New Yorkers who, two and a half weeks ago, had seemed like cold, self-contained entities.

    On Saturday, we just stayed inside the apartment and I caught up with my pyschology reading, feeling very accomplished with myself but there was still the reading to do for Government. My mom wanted to play a game of Scrabble with me like we used to do back home in Texas. I set out the board, shook all the letters in the bag, and found a pen and a piece of paper for the score-taking. I put down the word, "mortar," and my mother put down, "doom." Other words followed like, "jets," "plot," "came," "city," "center," "hurls," "fire," "taints," and "haunts." There was no escaping the reality, even in an innocent game of Scrabble.

    My mother talked with me for a while after the game, describing how she felt when she heard and felt the first and second explosions and told me that I shouldn't worry so much about her and that I should enjoy college. "Perhaps you can pierce your other ear!" She said, laughing again. We just hugged each other again. I had to leave New York City this morning so I could catch up with all of my reading assignments. I feel so much better now after seeing my mom and my little brother.

    My mother's right--I should enjoy college and not have everything stand still because of the attack last Tuesday to defeat the terrorists' aim of destroying lives of Americans. Yes, my life was forever changed because of Sept.11, 2001, but it wasn't destroyed at all and I plan on making sure that my life will go on, and keep all the plans I had in mind for future before last Tuesday.

    I work with B2B PAC, and all views and opinions in this account are my own.

    by slinkerwink on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:31:28 PM PDT

  •  Remember when "9/11 changed everything"? (3+ / 0-)

    Or at least, that's what we often heard, especially from the Republicans.

    It has always been my belief that 9/11 didn't change enough.

    We still believed that the proper response to a monstrous attack was to go to war. Never mind that the attack wasn't perpetrated on us by a government: we needed to "kick some Arab butt", and we did.

    We still had faith in American exceptionalism, as if nothing, nothing the United States had done could reasonably cause anyone to be angry with us.*

    And we still continued to believe that it was perfectly OK to keep consuming a vastly disproportionate share of the world's resources, particularly energy.

    No, 9/11 didn't change everything. We're still unwilling to seriously examine ourselves as a nation, and our nation's relationship to the rest of the world.

    * I hope I don't need to add this, but of course anger doesn't justify violence. Not by us, and not against us.

    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

    by Nowhere Man on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:34:56 PM PDT

  •  A Mystery Man (6+ / 0-)

    I recall reading this story in the local newspaper and have searched for it, but can't find it. I remember it as a side-bar. H/T to the reporter.
    A firefighter is standing off to the side of Ground-Zero. He is taking a break. Someone behind him is trying to get his attention. He turns to find a man standing there. The man, by his dress and appearance, is obviously homeless. He says nothing but holds out his cupped hand to the firefighter. The firefighter holds out his own hand which the man drops some change into. It is a mixture of pennies and silver. The man turns and walks away, silently.
    I cried like a baby. I think I found hope, and, perhaps, even a little comfort.
    I definitely learned, at last, what our parents and grand-parents could never translate to us about Peal Harbor. The incredible emotional state of so many people. The good and the bad. I don't ignore the bad; we never should. But the good can be so good.

    We Will NOT Compromise On Fairness.

    by franklyn on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:39:26 PM PDT

  •  Denise, you are a beautiful woman (4+ / 0-)

    Thank you for sharing your story.  I'm sorry you and your husband were intimidated.

    I wish Americans knew more about Islam.  I wish they knew that millions of Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding people who want the same things everyone else wants:  to live their lives in harmony with their neighbors, bring up their children, and follow their religion.

    In December 2001 I bought "Eid" stamps and put them on all my Christmas cards because I was so disturbed by the way Muslims were being treated.  I did the same thing for several years thereafter.  Last year I looked for the "Eid" stamps but the Post Office didn't have them.  Never mind, I made my point.

    One of my friends who, alas, died early this year, was an old Middle East hand who had enjoyed his tours of duty in Saudia and spoke Arabic. He wrote on his Christmas card to me that he very much appreciated my using the Eid stamps.  A man of the world, he too was disturbed by the anti-Arab, anti-Muslim sentiments.

    However, people who watch Faux Noise are not going to learn tolerance from that crew.

    "Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

    by Diana in NoVa on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:41:09 PM PDT

  •  Thank you, Denise, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Mayfly, Matt Z

    for writing such an exquisite piece of such critical importance.

    curious portal - to a world of paintings, lyric-poems, art writing, and graphic and web design

    by asterkitty on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 04:42:02 PM PDT

  •  For what it's worth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I grew up and went to college in California in the 60's & 70's and Vietnam in between.  I'm white and a democrat.  I hope that gives you some context for the following thoughts.

    America is very tolerant of immigrants, but it is not tolerant of change.  If you try to change almost anything, you'll be under suspicion.  If you are radical in your attempts at change, you are under deep suspicion and a number of the more redneck elements in our society will attempt to eliminate the threat to 'non-change'.

    Most of the psychology relies on integration.  If you join a new business or move into a new neighborhood or any other number of society's organizations and you attempt to integrate fully, you'll generally be accepted at some point.  We all go through this.  It is not dependent on race or gender or culture.  Join, contribute and don't make waves, you'll eventually be a member.  It happens here on KOS and in every human endeavor in America.

    Let's take your headgear(love the picture, by the way). You are clearly allowed to wear it everywhere it is not a safety issue.  But having the right to wear it does not mean it's accepted.  There will be 4 reactions to it, I think:

    No big deal.
    Don't like it.  This person isn't integrating.
    Really don't like it and will tell you so.

    So, knowing the above, you have to deal with the behavior generated by the choice you make.  You are not going to change the perception for at least a generation.  The old guard has to die out to allow the headgear to become an acceptable integrated idea.

    So, it's really your choice.  

    I definitely advise against radicalization.  I lived through SDS, SDA and the Black Panthers.  American society, as I said, does not take kindly to radicals.

    And it really doesn't trust new religions.  Read up on the history of the Mormon Church.  They had to get their own state to stop the violence.  Even then, the Army was brought in.  Today....fully integrated because they've done so many fine things and aren't radicals.  Let's see....I think that took about 7 generations.

    So, there you have my view.  If you decide to wear your hajib, I would suggest that you perform some obvious form of community kindness.  Kindness overcomes some intolerance.

    Things are going to settle down for awhile, but there will likely be another war in the mideast within 8 years.  And we will continue to have "Ft. Hood's" here in the U.S.A.

    It really isn't a good time to be a radical.  Christ was a radical and look at what happened to him.  Things haven't changed in human behavior since the dawn of society.  And you won't change them.

    The Dude abides, now get off my lawn.

    by Boris49 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 05:04:49 PM PDT

    •  Black people built this country and we (5+ / 0-)

      have been wearing headwraps since we came here from Africa.

      By law - in some parts of the south - we had to wear a tignon, if mixed race.

      I don't have to "integrate" into anything.  Some of my ancestors  were here before the Mayflower.

      I wear a gele not a hijab.

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:29:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And my relatives descended from Yaks (0+ / 0-)

        Are you black?  I didn't ask, as I don't really think racially.

        That picture with the painted American flag face is not a gele. I'm confused. If you are wearing traditional African dress, I doubt anyone would care.  A hijab is what I was talking about.

        My points remain the same.

        But, I detect a negative vibe, so I won't be back.


        The Dude abides, now get off my lawn.

        by Boris49 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:15:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I should leave this alone, but I won't. (0+ / 0-)

          Don't talk to me about slavery in America.  My relatives immigrated in the late 1800's, after abolition.

          I also remember that many of the slave traders were muslim.

          I spent a year in Puerto Rico.  I loved it, once I was accepted. ;)

          No reply needed.  There are 6,999,999 other people in the world.

          The Dude abides, now get off my lawn.

          by Boris49 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:28:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Jackass (0+ / 0-)

          Why do some people always feel the need to waltz in someone else's front door and take a shit in their cornflakes? WTF?

          When are you going to understand that being normal is not necessarily a virtue? It rather denotes a lack of courage. - Practical Magic

          by Keori on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 08:51:22 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nice (0+ / 0-)

            I was confused by the picture of the lady in the hijab with the painted flag face.  I thought I was responding to a young lady who was talking about wearing a hijab.

            I don't really try to offend anyone, but I do get a little pissed when someone responds and intimates I'm responsible for the history of slavery in the United States.

            This thread was about supporting muslims.  She put an obvious muslim girl foto on the thread.  I made points recommending caution.  

            As to your insult, shove it.

            The Dude abides, now get off my lawn.

            by Boris49 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 09:11:52 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mayfly, Denise Oliver Velez

    "Lets show the rascals what Citizens United really means."

    by smiley7 on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 05:08:52 PM PDT

  •  I am speechless. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, AnnetteK, Matt Z

    Brilliantly done. I am so glad you are here. I feel extraordinarily privileged to get to read your writing. I am just a puddle right now.

    Thank you thank you thank you for being who you are.

    Yes, this is my country Retchin' and turnin', she's like a baby learnin' how to live ~ Buffy Sainte-marie - Soldier Blue

    by denig on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 05:11:47 PM PDT

  •  My 9/11 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Matt Z

    I woke up that beautiful morning to a phone call.  My friend told she'd just seen a jet flying so low in our neighborhood she could read the lettering on the fuselage.  It was primary day in New York and she'd gone to vote early.  Neither of us was aware that she had seen the first plane that hit the Trade Center.  A few minutes later I saw the image on TV.  I ran down to the street and could clearly see the Tower burning and the gaping hole.  The news people had said a small plane hit the tower but seeing the damage I knew it had to have been a large jet.  From my experience learning to pilot a plane I also knew whoever flew into the tower did it on purpose.  It was as if everyone in the street was in a daze not believing their own eyes.  I just kept blurting out that we were under attack.  No one wanted to hear what I was saying but that second jet confirmed my thoughts.

    New York just stopped and the smoke and smells started to hit the Union Square area.  People coming from downtown just trying to get somewhere safe.  Crowds began to gather in Union Square then we all saw the Tower disappear from view.  I remember women crying and men just standing stunned looking downtown.  I decided to go to a local bar where I met a Con Ed worker who had been working by the towers.  We both looked at the TV and saw the message come across that Disneyland had closed.  At the same time we both said it's closed for good.  He had been working outside the trade center when the first plane hit.  Like almost everyone he said nobody thought anything had happened other than a bad accident.  It was that second plane that convinced his crew it was an attack.  He said people gathered around in the streets taking photos and looking at the surreal scene.  Everyone started to run in panic when tower two started to go down.  He and his crew got inside a parking garage just before the attendants shut the doors.  The garage was packed full of people but he said many were still in the street when the doors were shut.  After there was no more sounds the garage doors were opened to an empty street full of building debris and air so thick with smoke he couldn't tell if it was daylight.  I left the bar and started walking downtown it was getting late but I just kept walking.  I walked past 14th street down to Canal over to the Holland Tunnel and turned down Greenwich all the way to the Trade Center site.  Some policemen stopped me and asked me what I was doing there I told them I came to help.  They directed me to the Jacob Javits Center where people were being processed to work at the site but they said with no experience it was unlikely they would use me.  

    The second night after the attack I went up to the Armory on Lexington Ave.  Covering the walls were posters of people for whom loved ones were searching.  I think that was the most emotional night of my life.  People standing in lines waiting for information about husbands, wives, brothers, sisters and children.  I remember standing looking  at all the pictures and when I turned to my left there was Elizabeth Taylor.  She was crying looking at the posters.  

    I spent many nights in Union Square which remained packed all day and all night for what seemed to be weeks.  People just didn't want to be alone in their apartments.  Sad to say but I lived in my building for eight years prior to 9/11 and hadn't known my neighbors until that day.  On the night of the attack many many candles were lit they would be followed by thousands more on the second night.  There were people chanting for peace but I had to tell them it was going to be war.  I will never forget those nights in Union Square.

  •  thanks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Matt Z

    Thanks for putting to words things so important to remember.

    All the suffering of this world arises from a wrong attitude.The world is neither good or bad. It is only the relation to our ego that makes it seem the one or the other - Lama Anagorika Govinda

    by kishik on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 05:50:04 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, De, for sharing another piece of you. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Matt Z, allie123

    Condolences on your reflections.

    As you say, so many black people in the U.S. have Islamic influences in our lives.  I've had relatives who were NOI.  There is a masjid just four blocks from my job but I remember all of the storefront ones I saw in NJ when I was a kid, notable because they were known by numbers instead of names.

    I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect. (O. Wilde)

    by conlakappa on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 05:50:39 PM PDT

    •  Hey Sis. I think a lot of us have (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      family members who are Muslim - so we are probably the only community not steeped in hate.

      "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:23:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yep, they aren't "those people" to us. They (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Denise Oliver Velez, Matt Z, allie123

        are cousins, uncles, aunts.  One of my cousins gave his son the middle name Talib-din.  That was 34 years ago.  The oldest Khadijah I know is around 60, I think.

        I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect. (O. Wilde)

        by conlakappa on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:30:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I remember when many people stopped being (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          NOI and became Sunni - studying Arabic and mixing with North African and Arab immigrants.  

          And Muslim or not - half the kids in my neighborhood had Muslim names.


          "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

          by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:36:58 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Right, the break, with Wallace Deen Muhammad (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Denise Oliver Velez, allie123

            going one way and Farrakhan going another.  I remember all of the security that Elijah Muhammad engaged [my uncle was part of his last guard contingent].  Going to a big gathering in Philly [or NYC, or Newark] meant passing through metal detectors.  Oddly prescient, innit?

            I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect. (O. Wilde)

            by conlakappa on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:42:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  We never talk much about that history (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              it is an interesting one - including cultural nationalists - some who became Muslim - others who simply took african names and started learning ki-swahili

              "If you're in a coalition and you're comfortable, you know it's not a broad enough coalition" Bernice Johnson Reagon

              by Denise Oliver Velez on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:55:57 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I think I told you that my mother became (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Denise Oliver Velez

                the unofficial namer, drawn from an African names book.  I cannot recall how she was inspired to pick what names for whom.

                I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect. (O. Wilde)

                by conlakappa on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:15:22 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  I grew up near the Ashokan... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    and the level of security they've put around the Reservoir is insane.

    I hope you made it through Irene OK. My sister still lives nearby, and got hit hard. September 11 turned her short commute into a long haul because of the road closures near the Ashokan.

    Silence is the voice of Complicity.

    by brillig on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 05:59:25 PM PDT

  •  Some memories (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, Matt Z

    FWIW my dad worked there for the State of NY when it was being built.  He was a admin hearing officer.  I would go into the city with him and explore the building - I would go where there were no walls no floors, just steel and planks.  One time a foreman caught me.

    WTF You doing HERE?

    Oh, my dad works for NY State and said I could look around.


    LOL that was a very long time ago in a persons life, yet that world is now gone forever in a blink of the eye.

    I used to go to the WTC from MD where I went to College and settled for a good while - every spring I would go to the top - it was so quiet and nice up there.

    My dad was a lucky guy - he got to work at the WTC and see the harbor - he told me sometimes he would glance from his desk and boom 1/2 hour was gone - later he worked for the State of NJ across rt 1 from Newark airport - he was lined up with a runway that smaller planes used and he could watch planes there all day - some guys!

    Driving up the NJ turnpike it's missing.  In lower Manhattan I cant get around b/c the WTC was my landmark.

    I now live just outside of Philly and I have never been back to the WTC site.  I went to the Empire State building once with friends and it will be forever empty for me where the WTC was.

    I used to go to NYC all the time.  Perhaps every other year now...sigh

    I am kind of a nerd, and for a few years before 9/11 I was consumed with this problem - one day the WTC will need to come down.  How will they take it down,,,

    Surely in the distant future when that day arrives there will be a better way then a crane on the roof.  Jungian something or other, or just a silly nerd?

  •  Thank you for sharing your very personal story. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    When I first saw the awful video from NYC the morning of September 11, I couldn't sort what had happened. I felt a terrible sense of helplessness mixed with a hopeless compassion when I heard about people jumping from the buildings.

    The reality of the destruction came to me when  despite the mobilization of thousands of medical workers, very few survivors were being taken to hospitals. The meaning of that finally sunk in.

    I found out that the DC metro area was under attack. I thought of my brother and his family who live only a few blocks from the White House, a prime target area. Someone called us and said the National Mall was on fire and that the State Department had been hit. Those reports turned out to be false, but who knew at the time where the next attack might come.

    But in the midst of all of this, an even greater fear came from back of my brain, that part that lights up when you feel your survival is at stake.

    The fucking government will use this as a pretext for fascist coup. Thousands of people will be rounded up and disappeared.Who's name would be on the list? Am I on it?

    It turned out I was half right. The coup I expected did not come, although the national security state sure got more menacing.

    But thousands of people were picked up, mostly immigrants. Of course. It's always the immigrants. Just like they picked up Emma Goldman and many others during the Red Scare of the WWI period, when Wall Street was hit by a terrorist bomb, they always go for the immigrants.

    Finally there is always this mental confusion when I think about September 11. The smoke coming out of the Presidential Palace in Chile during the US backed 1973 coup seems to mingle with the smoke from the Twin Towers as they burned.

    For President Allende and all of those who were killed on September 11 1973 and for all of those who died September 11, 2001...peace.

    "Don't believe everything you think."

    by BobboSphere on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 06:30:07 PM PDT

  •  Thank you-and more info below (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez, doroma

    You've shared an important story here, so thank you. All I'll add is a link and the summary from a recent survey detailed of Muslim Americans done by Gallup and the Abu Dhabi Center:

    A decade following September 11, 2001, Muslim Americans still face some public distrust and are more skeptical of law enforcement than are other U.S. faith communities. Despite these challenges, American followers of Islam are optimistic about their future, and they embrace their country's civic institutions and religious pluralism.
    I can't hang around, I need to get to bed, but I'm very glad to have read Denise's post.

    My forthcoming book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity will be published in Summer 2012 by Potomac Books.

    by Ian Reifowitz on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:05:14 PM PDT

  •  best new front pager. best post. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Matt Z, Denise Oliver Velez, doroma

    wish strength can come to america through vision like yours. when elizabeth warren is elected potus, hope there's a cabinet spot for you.

    Addington's perpwalk is the trailhead of accountability for this wound to our national psyche. 48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam

    by greenbird on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 07:25:01 PM PDT

  •  I tip and rec your thread De. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    Because I want to bookmark it.

    Not in the mood to read this now.  Maybe later.

    "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

    by smoothnmellow on Sun Sep 11, 2011 at 08:17:42 PM PDT

  •  Celebrating 911 was the media's mission (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    Not memorializing that was perfunctory and an excuse,but reaffirming the fear, losses, anxiousness and hatreds. Bush got a feature as NFL guest speaker to provide some 911 cachet to their spectacles today.

    Will he be dusted off and do it again on the 20th anniversary, or the thirtieth?

    I have heard the term approaching the media blitz that we would be subjected to "911 porn".  I can't define it exactly but it is obvious that is exactly what is going on.

    No analysis, no lessons, no attempt to do better in spite of the real outrage and suffering, just channelling hate and fear to divide us and attacking people, like Iraqis that are not a threat to us, but inconvenient for Cheney and Bush and their corporate sponsors.  The 7 million Muslims resident, citizens, guests have been targetted and many abused since 911.  That is 7 million Americans.

    I don't like this orgy of handwringing, fear and mindless , shameless exploiting of people's emotions.

  •  god's hands (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Denise Oliver Velez

    On the morning of 9/11/01, a bit after 6 am, I walked down the hallway towards the kitchen. The TV was on in the living room. My youngest son had turned it on while he’d been getting ready for work. "Look at this shit", he said in a whisper, so as not to wake my husband, "We're under attack." We watched, stunned.

    He left for work; I watched and grew wary of "the powers that be".

    Days later he'd bought a flag decal and affixed it to the bumper of his Volvo...upside down. Of course he was stopped repeatedly. Threatened.

    I, wary, verging on fear, grew increasing insistent on moving to Canada.

    As a Pacific Northwesterner all I was concerned about was those in power in DC and on Wall Street. Not "Muslims".

    As second generation Finnish American--whose grandparents immigrated here because of religious persecution, whose adherents believed women should not display their hair, men should not adorn their necks, who--though Lutheran--did not display Christmas trees with lights, who did not own televisions and owned radios only for emergency broadcasts--I understand societal scorn. But I left that.

    My last recollection was when I was 12. At the end of the Sunday 'sermon' all of the congregants rose and went to those they felt they'd slighted, sought them out so they might hug and whisper in their ear "jumalan haltuun"--god's hands. And "anteeski"--forgive me. It was of their belief that each human was a piece of “God” and a god in their own right.

    Though, currently, the majority of the church is right-wing Republicans and vastly home-school, I have no idea what the belief is there today. I became an atheist nearly 50 years ago.

    The only thing that impressed me is that they were forced to migrate HERE for religious freedom (little was and still is shown). And I'm still moved by that "julamlan haltuun".

    God's hands...if you’re a believer vengeance is his.

  •  Thanks for this diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I heard 9/11 described on Irish radio recently as an event  that "united a nation and divided the world". Sadly, as is plain from your diary, the former sentiment is as false as the latter is true. Time to heal all divisions I hope.

  •  Another truly beatiful and thought-provoking diary (0+ / 0-)

    Thank you for this and may it be read by every single person who really needs to see and absorb it's message.


    Racism is our national cancer ~ Silence is not an option.

    by Actbriniel on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 07:28:12 AM PDT

  •  The man who knew... (0+ / 0-)

    Google this:
    o'brien world trade center "the man who knew"

    There also was a PBS Frontline special called the same thing, which certainly raised questions.

    "The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously." -- Hubert H. Humphrey

    by Candide08 on Mon Sep 12, 2011 at 08:02:54 AM PDT

  •  Needed: National therapy for PTSD (0+ / 0-)

    I don't know how a nation gets therapy; I just believe that we need it.  We do not just have to process the grief of various losses (loss of lives, loss of innocence, loss of security), we need to recover from the trauma of attack -- rather than continue to relive it.

    I grant that there are individuals in the country who were more and less affected than others, not everyone is suffering from PTSD, but if we were to observe the national behavior since 9/11 under the guidelines for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder I think we'd qualify as a nation for a diagnosis.

    Hopefully through the sharing of powerful stories such as these we can process the trauma and heal.


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