Wednesday, 11 September 2013

We are older, not any wiser, just more experienced. The children orphaned must, in many cases, be young adults. The unbearable grief of bereavement has become a burden carried for twelve years by families.

Twelve years ago savage fanatics murdered thousands in an atrocity intended to provoke global war. They got a war, indeed up to Obama's blithering failure on Syria in the last 48 hours it had looked like America was committed to endless, futile war. Maybe the failure of a vacillating, incompetent and underwater president marks the real end of that sorry episode?

In that pursuit of an Armageddon the 9/11 attackers saw the murder of three thousand people not just as collateral damage but as a bonus.  Islam has not properly addressed the warped morality of the attack or the evils of Wahabism. When the Christianity's outstanding mind and figure attempted to engage Islam in a vital debate on the central issues of faith and our relationship with, and the nature of God, Pope Benedict's Regensburg address was attacked, misrepresented and vilified by a media so corrupt and stupid that we must doubt the possibility of any useful public debate on any issue occurring.

The purpose of terror is to terrorise and because government uses every excuse to expand, because the rabid secularists, for whom all religions are equally evil, and equality pimps insist that NO judgements can be made, and because the wahabists are still plotting we remain terrorised. Catholic pilgrims from the Marian shrine at Lourdes are forced to empty holy water from their luggage lest they smuggle explosives. Endless queues for security at every airport are a reminder, a people-snake monument, not a defence. The best answer to random terrorism may be sensible security alongside a recognition that terrorism is the fault of the terrorist.

We have lived twelve years with the images and memories of what was done on this day. On the anniversary each year I take a moment to remember Jimmy Gray who died with his colleagues of Ladder 20
when Tower 1 collapsed. Jimmy's father was from Kilkenny, his grandfather Paddy, asked my mother to pray for his missing grandson the next day. His body was not found and that November  his eight year old daughter, Colleen, spoke the memorable, heartbreaking, line at his memorial service: "Daddy, if I knew you were not coming home, I'd have let you tickle me harder."

The pain inflicted on the families of the victims will last as long as Colleen's and her sister's lives. For the wider society the twelve years that have passed should allow us the space to look at 9/11 with older, if not wiser eyes and minds. We owe Jimmy Gray, the men of Ladder 20 and every other person whose life was stolen, that we at least try to understand the impact of what we commemorate.

Part of that impact was revealed by the revelations of Edward Snowden to be the utterly enormous data and spying apparatus built by the American government to compliment the airport people snakes. No government can or should be trusted with the private business of every person. Carte blanche to spy on citizens in the name of security is permission to undermine democracy, law and rights. The administration that used the I.R.S to target opponents can hardly be trusted with with universal eavesdropping.

Men wore Jimmy Gray's name and those of his colleagues in battles with wahabists in Afghanistan, Ladder 20 was a T-shirt worn with pride. Those soldiers believed they were fighting for the most fundamental rights, life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It would be a grave betrayal of them, the men of Ladder 20 and all the 9/11 victims to justify stealing every persons privacy in their name.


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