I made a conscious decision not to write anything on my blog or on Facebook on the anniversary of 9/11. I knew that the day would be fraught with emotion, and anything I would write would either offend or be so vapid as to be meaningless. I wrote one quick status update and that’s it. I also knew I’d be in a bad mood anyway because I had to get on the phone with ebay and let me tell you, that is the quickest route to a migraine headache second only to sucking up an extra-large Slurpee in one long gulp. I survived the encounter with a surprisingly sympathetic customer service rep (thanks Tim!) and was able to relax, do dishes, work on my crochet for a bit, and eat all the turkey bacon I hid in the fridge so my kids wouldn’t know about it. (Late update – my son read the draft of my blog post and found out – oops. I probably have to bribe him with a philly cheesesteak sandwich on the way home from his Civil Air Patrol meeting tonight.) (Late addition from aforementioned son: AWWWWWWWW YEAHHHHHH)
I have very complicated feelings when talking about the horrifying death and destruction of that day, and all the horrifying death and destruction that has followed over the last twelve years. But to discuss my feelings, to discuss the opinions and politics and “what about country XYZ” on that day would be tactless. Kinda like showing up at the wake for your dearly departed next-door neighbor and reminding the bereaved family members that he recently borrowed your hedge clippers and could you get them back. Tactless, a matter of bad timing and lack of sensitivity. It’s not the day for that. It’s not my day.
Okay, it is my day. I am, after all, an American and I was just as poleaxed as the rest of the country when I saw the planes flying into the World Trade Center buildings. I sat in front of the TV with the universal gesture of disbelief – hand in front of open mouth – while I shook and cried and knew that the world had changed once again.
My reactions were complicated by the fact that I am Muslim. Along with millions of others of my faith, I was muttering “Please don’t let it be Muslims, please don’t let it be Muslims”, and wondering if I was going to be safe in my home in a Washington D.C. suburb. Wondering if my husband was going to be safe coming home from work. Wondering if my sister-in-law in New York was going to be able to get home to her kids. Wondering.
Since then so much has happened. Twelve years on we have tried to fight “the war on terror” by invading a country that did not attack us on 9/11 and by making nice with dictators who would just as soon kill us as shake hands with us. Drone strikes continue to kill innocent children abroad and soldiers with PTSD commit suicide here at home because they either can’t live with what they did, or they can’t understand why everyone here is so damn busy worrying about who twerked at the MTV awards show. The divide between the haves and the have-nots is ever widening, and we seem to be on the verge of another conflict in the Middle East. Yeah, I didn’t talk about anything yesterday, but it’s damn sure not because there’s nothing to talk about.
So now it’s September 12th, a day on which bungee jumping was banned in Australia (back in 1980). If you have strong feelings about that, I’m sorry to have awakened your trauma. Other than that, I can’t recall any world-shattering news, so I suppose I’ll go about my business of being a pundit and a gadfly. My condolences to everyone who has died as a result of the 9/11 attacks. The men, women, and children, the office workers and first responders, the Iraqi villagers and the Afghani farmers, the American military personnel and the rest, known and unknown. My sincere prayer is for us to learn to live together and stop killing each other. But I know my history so forgive me if I remain cynical. Cynical, but not hopeless. Because though I am a citizen of this world, this world is only a stopping place for me on a journey that I pray will lead me to Jannah. Hope to see you there.