Criminal lunacy sans frontiers and the meaning of 9/11
by Tony Hall
In 2001, just after the Twin Towers were hit, my brother-in-law, who was a minister in the Mexican government at the time, called me and asked me:
‘Phil, what do you think of what’s just happened?’
I thought for a few seconds and then said to him. ‘Look, Juan, I don’t know who did this or why they did it and it doesn’t really matter. The main point is this: The USA and its allies should stop their support for Israel.’
Later on, my father wrote a poem about the Twin Towers and their lesser significance in the grand scheme of moral tragedies. This tragedy, as tragic as it was, was embedded into a larger context where the USA was responsible for millions of deaths all over the world either in direct confrontations (carpet bombing from the air) or in indirect confrontations through its proxies.
The murderous regimes the USA supported killed millions. Fewer than three thousand people died in the Twin Towers and many who died were undocumented Mexican workers, their loss unlamented by the US press.
Of course, then, this attack came as a shock to millions of Americans who, while weeping and mourning for the victims, couldn’t care less about Palestine, Indonesia, or Chile. or Zaire, or Vietnam or Nicaragua.
On and on and on.
People cocooned away from the crimes of their own state and corporations read themselves into the story of the crashing down of the twin towers. But the event didn’t come as a surprise to us, or, I imagine, to any US citizen who was involved in resisting the war in Vietnam.
Not to mention in too great detail, too many of these crimes: the deaths of 500,000 children from sanctions under Saddam Hussain (once a US stooge himself). Madelaine Albright, nestling in her tomb next to the worst mass murderers of all time, said that the genocide of Iraqi children was worth it.
My father wrote a poem about the twin towers, the massacre that led to a million or more Iraqi deaths. He called it, The Giddy Clowns.
22 years later, with the Israelis conducting a genocide in Gaza, and well over 5,000 Palestinian children dead, so far, perhaps it is possible for some US citizens emerging from their cocoons of unknowing, of self-deceit and confusion, to understand better now what the meaning of 9/11 is and put it ‘in perspective’.
Here is Tony Hall discussing the significance of the massacre:
In the second week of September, large numbers of innocent occupants were killed in the bombing of big city buildings at the instigation of Islamist terror groups run and financed by Arab Muslims.
New York in 2001. Of course. And Moscow two years before.
Responding to a wave of anger and revulsion, staring at the prospect of a centre that could not hold, of a state no longer able to protect its citizens, the US President ordered the armed forces to move in and to bomb and blast the perceived source of the terror.
That’s how George Bush saw it and did it in Afghanistan; that’s how Vladimir Putin responded two years before, in Chechnya.
We all know the differences. But what are the similarities?
It was three decades earlier, in the third week of September 1970, that the Jordanian Army went into the Palestinian refugee camps, bombing and blasting. They killed 5,000 people. That was Black September.
The historical times of the first Black September were very different to those of the second Black Septemebr in Russia and the third in New York.
The second and third happened in a world gone crazy with capitalist exploitation and speculation, and religious extremism, operating globally. Extremism and capitalist hyper-exploitation were feeding each other – with socialism so left out, and secular nationalism so constantly slapped down that almost the entire geo-political stage was taken up by two mad, ungovernable forces pitted against each other. Criminal Lunacy Sans Frontieres.
How did it happen?
The world in 1970 was going into the last phase of a long period of standoff, if not balance, between post-colonial, state mediated capitalism, and giant state socialism.
The Twin Towers
The twin towers
Of deathist mentality
Rage like a giddy clown
Dirt and insects stamped
Onto the anthrax hole
Cleanliness is next to
Anybody’s god a cover
For the volcano of life
Let us awake to the
Light in the fire
On the unveiled muck
Of female beauty
Let us dance
With the raging lusts
Until the growling face
Of our superficiality
Relaxes into the truth
Of a smile
Tony Hall was born in Pretoria in 1936. He worked as a reporter at the Star and was the first journalist to interview Nelson Mandela undercover. He was also the first journalist to be banned from a major newspaper in South Africa after interviewing Potlako Reballo in hiding. In Kenya he worked at Daily Nation. At the request of Ruth First, an intermediary for Odinga Odinga, Tony drafted the platform of KANU. He was appointed Communications Officer for the East African Community, but when his involvement with KANU was discovered, he and his family were forced to leave the country. He was training editor on the socialist newspaper, the Tanzanian Standard. As Oxfam press officer for East Africa, he revealed the first great Ethiopian famine in 1973 to the world. After working as Oxfam’s press officer in India, partnering Eve Hall in the job, Tony Hall worked as an editor of international News magazines focused on the Middle East for eight years. Subsequently, he left to join Eve Hall in Somalia. He then edited magazines in Somalia, Zimbabwe and South Africa and ended his journalistic career as the acting information officer for UNECA helping to recruit his successor.