12 years ago on 9/11 I was there. Now I'm here.
I've published this before, it's done well. So well that people were nice enough to ask permission to send it to others. I welcome your doing that. This version is changed quite a bit.
I am only glad that this can now be (partially) in the past tense.
I'm a victim of 9/11. I was in 2 WTC when the plane hit.
Compared to some people, I was lucky: I wasn't injured. I kept my job. I got home easily. But compared to the vast majority of Americans, I am a victim. I had glass in my hair. I lost a year's work, and some irreplaceable items. My family went crazy for a while. My kid had nightmares. You explain to a 5 year old why (in his words) "They crashed into the building on purpose?" or reply to "I thought pilots were good people".
But I am a victim another way.
I share part of this other victimhood with all Americans. I am a victim, not of terror, but of the so-called `war on terror'. I am a victim of a government that was out-of-control, and is still not fully in control. I am a victim of crushing national debt. I am a victim because I live in a country that went from having the sympathy of the world to one that was a pariah, an outcast among nations, a rogue state; and that has not yet fully recovered. I am a victim because I now have to `watch what I say'. I am a victim because my rights are violated, not by some nebulous and inimical group of terrorists, but by my own government.
They do not speak for me.
Immediately after 9/11, I had to explain terror to my child. Long after 9/11, I had to explain torture to my child. And I could not longer say "it is not something we do". I am waiting, impatiently, to be able to say that again.
But in another way, I do not share this other victimhood. My victimhood is being abused.
I had to watch for years as my government - our government - has whittled away my rights, stolen my freedoms, and wrecked the constitution in the name of a false security. I have watched and watched and watched, as they have used my name - my victimhood - to make me a victim once again.
I am waiting, impatiently, for my freedom - our freedom - to be restored.
They do not speak for me. They may not use my name.
So, I will post this diary, and I will take action. I will volunteer. I will give money. I will make a difference. This is MY country, this is MY victimhood, and I will not have it abused. I am no martyr; I have no death wish; I hope that no terrorist ever strikes anywhere again. But the founders of this country knew what they were doing. They wanted freedom. They DEMANDED freedom. They put their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor on the line to win freedom. And now it is reduced to this.
Our e-mails opened. Our shoes off. Our fellow citizens detained, without reason, without purpose, without end. GITMO. Military trials. Islamophobia.
My ancestors came here because 19th century Russia was not a good place to be Jewish. I will not have it that 21st century America is not a good place to be Muslim.
But it is worse even than this; it would be one thing to pay too heavy a price to increase our safety. But we have paid the price for nothing. We have arrested thousands of people, and let them go (or not). We have spied on our own citizens, and found out nothing. We have allied ourselves with torturers, and yet, we are not safe. Indeed, by making our enemies unite, we have made ourselves weaker, and our enemies stronger.
This victim demands an end to the 'war on terror' that is really a war on America.
I am waiting, impatiently, for peace.
That's why I'm a progressive.
More; that is why I am a supporter of the ACLU. Because nothing is more American than civil liberties. And nothing is less American than the Patriot Act.
I am waiting, impatiently, to be free.