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9/11 Ten Years Later. Share your thoughts & experience.
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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9/11 Ten Years Later. Share your thoughts & experience.  Reply with quote  

MAKESHIFT PATRIOT by Sage Francis (2001)

I'm offering Makeshift Patriot as a free download just as I did when it was first released. This is an emotional day for all, but a great lesson we've learned is to not get lost in, nor act upon, that emotion. A friend just sent me an email that made me realize something. There is a need for us all to *feel* something on this day. I believe I was unconsciously trying to avoid those feelings, because I don't like feeling manipulated by emotion (which the govt & media absolutely did to us after the attacks), but once the tears hit me it felt perfectly human. Things are not OK. It's important to know that and feel that. If nothing else, that's what I will "always remember and never forget" every 9/11. We can be loving and peaceful while remaining critical and aware.

Below is an interesting piece of audio B. Dolan just posted where he speaks about his 9/11 experience, conspiracy theories, civil liberties and more. I especially like his take on the 9/11 truther stuff.
B. Dolan speaks about his experience on 9/11, conspiracy theories, civil liberties

As 9/11 was a collective experience, and it affected all of our lives in one way or another, I'm wondering where your heads are at 10 years down the line. From then until now. If you have any experiences or thoughts you'd like to share, I'd like to hear them.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:35 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
Posts: 2026
Location: Saint Louis Park, MN
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I just posted this on my Facebook wall:
    - I remember that for the first few days after the attack there were televisions everywhere, in places where you normally never saw them. People brought them to work, and just sat and watched together for hours. Everywhere seemed deserted, and quiet; it felt like half the country was away on bereavement leave. I suppose we were.
    - I remember that within two or three weeks I had stopped reacting to the tragedy and started reacting to the reaction. I was resentful of the media coverage, of the idea that there were these painted faces caught between cameras and smoking ruins, trying to emote their way into bigger and better careers.
    - I was distrustful of the surge of patriotic sentiment; in retrospect I think that this is because I felt that it would be hard to find a worse reason to love one's country than as a reaction to an act of terrorism. The act itself didn't make this country better; it made the world a uniformly worse place. I didn't understand how that should translate to nationalistic pride, except as a contrary reaction: The terrorists want us to change, so instead we will simply strengthen our resolve. It became very important to us to be about whatever they were against. It makes me think now about the scene in Unbreakable where Samuel L. Jackson says: "Now that we know who you are, I know who I am."
    - A month or two later, I remember sitting in bars and hearing so many guitar renditions of the Star Spangled Banner, and thinking about how they were expressing something close to an opposite of the Jimi Hendrix Woodstock sentiment using a style that was a direct homage to his performance. The only piece of context we kept from that moment in the history of 1960s counterculture was the idea that the national anthem can be played as an act of defiance. We were in a pretty defiant mood during the waning months of 2001.
    - I remember hearing for almost the first time America the Beautiful sung outside of a school context and thinking that this was strange but not being able to explain why. I've grown to think since then that the song ties patriotic sentiment to religious sentiment in a way that the national anthem doesn't. People returned to churches in droves after 9/11; I think there was a sense of safety in it for them.

Social media and roadside signs alike are covered with a particular slogan lately: Never forget. The first thing that comes to my mind when I hear this slogan is an old platitude: that those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. When we admonish ourselves to remember 9/11, what elements of history are we hoping not to repeat? The grave and senseless tragedy of the attack itself? Our national reaction to it? Our complicity in the foundation of bin Laden's terrorist organization, which having defeated the Soviets turned and bit the American hand that had once fed it?

Bruce Sterling wrote a novel called Zenith Angle, largely about the dotcom crash and 9/11. He concluded the book on an optimistic note, suggesting that if the great global conflict was between technocrats and cave-dwellers, victory for the technocrats was an essentially foregone conclusion. A battle worth fighting, certainly; but also a battle with a certain outcome.

Osama bin Laden wasn't a cave-dweller, though. He lived out his final years in a walled suburban compound with TV and other modern conveniences, passing notes out to his criminal organization through trusted couriers just like Mafia dons in Italy and America. The only difference between him and them is that he was trading in geopolitical chaos and terror, while they were trading in money and vice.

This is the man we saw as a useful idiot in Afghanistan in the 1980s; we paid him, we trained him, we used him to beat the Soviets even though we never believed in his ideology and never wanted his vision for that country to shape it after the Soviets had left. We just didn't concern ourselves with the long-term outcome for the Afghan people, because we weren't intervening in Afghanistan for the sake of Afghans; we were intervening there because it was strategically advantageous for us to do so in the context of the Cold War.

We aren't stamping out cave-dwellers here. We're fighting committed, well-funded, and militant ideologues who believe that the primacy of their religious and political agenda is worth any number of deaths. They want open warfare because they see it as an avenue toward their desired outcomes; ten years ago they provoked us into giving them that avenue. The cost has been very high, and we're still continuing to pay it today.

The thing is, I don't think that all people who say "never forget" and mean it are thinking in terms of learning from history. The slogan isn't that open-ended, it's more specific than that. When we say "never forget," part of what we mean is that we should honor our dead and continue to mourn them. We also mean that we should maintain that particular sense of national unity and resolve we arrived at in reaction to the 9/11 attacks.

This in turn makes me think about how Rahm Emanuel caught shit a couple of years ago for repeating a very old political truth to the New York Times: "You don't ever want a crisis to go to waste. It's an opportunity to do important things that you would otherwise avoid." In the end that quote speaks to what I remember most strongly about 9/11: How much it shocked all of us, how our reaction as a nation in shock took us to places we would never have gone otherwise. When we say "never forget" not as students of history but as sorrowful patriots, we are encouraging an artificial perpetuation of that national crisis moment.

To what end?
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:46 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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Mark,

I know that to a lot of people (not everyone), the "never forget" slogan was all about this:

"Never forget how fucking pissed off, angry and hateful we were on 9/11. Don't allow a cushion of time to make you soft. Don't start questioning yourself over why we're attacking other countries and seeking revenge for something we don't truly understand. Always remember why this is how it has to be!"

I mean, I thought that was understood and implied. Maybe I'm crazy though.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 12:57 pm
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mortalthoughts
LAME KID


Joined: 12 Dec 2002
Posts: 11616
Location: MI
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i just watched the 'American greed' on 911 fraud
http://www.cnbc.com/id/18057119/
parts of it made my stomach turn
people can be pathetic it makes me sick
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 2:15 pm
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futuristxen



Joined: 01 Jul 2002
Posts: 19376
Location: Tighten Your Bible Belt
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Do we still have the thread from the old forum for that day? This forum got me through a lot of that grieving time, because everyone else I knew was in the "Let's go bomb some brown people" camp, and I wasn't so it was a very isolating experience.

That was like a month after my parents decided to file for divorce, a month after I started college in New Orleans, and a few weeks after I talked to my dad before I cut him out of my life for being a complete asshole.

August 2001 to August 2002 was probably the worst year of my life. And so I think whenever I think of 9/11 it's the tragedy plus all of the baggage of that time.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:06 pm
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Sage Francis
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Joined: 30 Jun 2002
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I have no idea how to find that thread but I'd love to see it.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 3:11 pm
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the mean
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Joined: 31 Jul 2003
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We'll see how far I get before one kid or another starts pulling on me...

I was about 2 weeks into my first year of law school on 9/11. Just moved across country away from all of my friends, from the place I had lived for 29 years.

I walked into my first class of the morning and people were chattering about something happening. Our professor walked in and said, "some planes hit the World Trade Center, things will be much worse tomorrow, so I am going to go ahead with class right now." 5 minutes later, someone walked in and said that all classes were cancelled.

Watched the news in the hall at school where someone had dragged out a TV. Then went home with a friend and watched it there.

My mom called, worried about how close I was to the plane that went down in central PA. Had to inform her that I was much closer to NYC, even though I was in the state of PA.

The only two songs that came out in the next year that I thought adequately dealt with what happened were "Makeshift Patriot" and "Solidarity" by a band called Abilene.

The racism that has followed over the past 10 years makes me ill, and has probably affected how I have dealt with the whole situation.

The first time I cried about anything 9/11 related was listening to an NPR piece talking about what people were doing on 9/10. Ted Olson talked for about 3 minutes. He was solicitor general under Bush II. You may know him now as one of the two attorneys who filed the case against Prop. 8 in CA. He said that his birthday is on 9/11 and his wife was supposed to fly across country the evening of 9/10. She decided to stay to have dinner with him for his birthday on the evening of 9/10, and left the next morning. She ended up on the plane that went into the Pentagon.

That being said, I haven't watched anything 9/11 related today, and still generally can't get with the a lot of the sentiment that goes along with 9/11.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:24 pm
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AdamBomb



Joined: 05 Mar 2004
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Location: Louisiana
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I happened to be watching the news casually in between classes and remember vividly the range of emotions I felt from the "this just in..." to the heartwrenching conclusion. One thing that stuck with me was the realization that as a country we are vulnerable and our armor isn't as thick as we thought it was. During the attacks, and reports about the pentagon, I was thinking "wait...we're under attack? And are we losing? What if we lose?" I felt like we are much weaker than I thought we were. This was further ingrained on me during Katrina. In both situations, I can't help but picture those who are in charge looking at each other with wide eyes like "Umm..what do we do?" instead of "Damn...no problem. I got this." I'm worried that our bureaucracy is more about how a situation is perceived rather than what it really is. This goes further into "leaders" and how they are in a position giving an appearance of confidence and expertise, only to crawl into the fetal position when tested. The sad part is that it is inevitable we will be tested again in some way (attacks, hurricanes, economics, tragedies, etc), but I'm worried we aren't learning from ourselves after these things happen.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 4:41 pm
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Asterax



Joined: 21 Nov 2002
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Location: Maine
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I have a rather troubling story about what 9/11 means to me now. I am writing about it for another reason now, so I thought I'd share it here:

During my third year of university (2008), I took a course on cross-cultural studies. I along with two other students were given an assignment to deliver a research paper and oral presentation about how gender is viewed in three other cultures. I was assigned to a group with a guy from New Jersey (we'll call him Tim) and a girl from Colorado (we'll call her Sarah).

As most of you know, college students procrastinate on their assignments. In this case, Tim, Sarah and myself were no different. A week before this project is due (entire research paper + complete oral presentation) we all met to work on it. Somewhere between this meeting and the night before the project is due, Tim gets the idea that we should somehow combine the topics of how in some Islamic cultures the rights of females are suppressed (one or two Islamic countries were included into the scope of our work) and how he was influenced by the attacks from (some) Islamic terrorists having grown up just outside of New York City in New Jersey.

Not much of a connection between those two topics, right? This part of the story brings up a lot of bad memories for reasons that will be evident very soon, but I implicitly agreed to Tim's suggestion to make this connection between the suppression of woman's rights and his experiences after 9/11. Sarah did not put up much of an argument either and our lack of disapproval was considered deemed as approval from Tim. Neither of us knew what would happen next...

The day of the presentation arrives and Tim is second in our orientation of speakers. We barely did any preparation for this this oral presentation and I sent Tim the final version of the presentation for him to do edits. I am first. Sarah is third. I give my bit (I don't recall what I said, but it was non-controversial) and then it was Tim's turn to present. Dressed in a suit, Tim gave his part of the presentation which included an old photo of his friend that had passed away in the 9/11 attacks. Tim also included photos of bloodied people who were running around in fear during the attacks. He made that half-assed, backward argument that somehow the 9/11 attacks by Islamic terrorists had anything to do with the rights of woman in Islamic countries.

As you can guess, this was really fucked up. It shocked the professor and the entire class. One girl has to leave the class in anger. While I can't speak for him, I can surmise that he thought our professor would buy the connection between the suppression of woman's rights and the lose of life during the 9/11 attacks because of how much emotional weight 9/11 hold in American culture. Our professor (as a Dutchman, not an American), did not buy it.

The story goes further, but this is basically the gist of it. Tim thought he could pull on the heart strings of a university professor and the emotional lose he felt years earlier to avoid doing real and substantial research on the topic of gender in other cultures. He thought that since it was a second year class, he could bullshit it by bringing 9/11 into the conversation.

To go back to what Sage pointed out earlier in response to Mark's post, the phrase "never forget" also seems to represent some sort of righteousness that some Americans feel because of the 9/11 attacks. As if the subsequent aftermath of the attacks can be used as a card that justifies the individuals actions, whatever they may be.

This particular memory in 2008 is what I think of more than what I felt on September 11, 2011.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:06 pm
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the mean
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Found that Abilene song on youtube:

Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 5:08 pm
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Blackstone Valley



Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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I'm really glad that I sent that e-mail this morning. I almost didn't but after the fourth or fifth time I played Makeshift Patriot it really hit me - That song is the only thing that makes me feel any sort of emotion about that day. I'm thankful that there is a song to which I can turn that provokes healthy emotion that isn't hateful or reactionary. There are millions who don't have that luxury, who will only ever think about how mad everyone was after the attacks..

I was a junior in high school. Teacher was late, came in and said, "The World Trade Center was hit by an airplane. I just saw another plane hit the other building. We're under attack and things are never going to be the same." One kid laughed and got kicked out of class, the rest of us sat in stunned silence. Oddly, when JFK was shot the girl sitting behind my mother in class started laughing upon hearing the news as well.

The planes flew out of Boston, and going to the fancy pants private high school in Central Mass, a couple kids lost loved ones. One kid lost his Dad. It was weird having that happen two years after another classmate lost his father in the Worcester Cold Storage fire.

Two days later with all air traffic grounded, I was in the passenger seat of a car that hit a 100-year old oak tree. We were going seventy miles per hour. Thankfully I was ten miles from a small hospital where I was stabilized before being rushed to UMass. Had Life Flight been active, I might not have spent the next two weeks in a coma.

My birthday is September 18th. That makes three days in a week etched permanently. Needless to say.. it's somewhat surreal to think about.

A major reason I have trouble feeling anything on September 11th is because I was in a coma, hospitalized, and in rehab for the next three months. I was decently sheltered much of the coverage. That which I did see was typically sensationalist and unnerving.

I've written a lot. Thanks for reading, and thanks again for the song, Frank. It's really important to me.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:14 pm
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medicineman
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I was a 17-year-old junior well on my way to dropping out of high school but I was in class, American Government class, strangely, in fact, that morning. We turned on the TV, if I remember correctly, shortly before or maybe it was shortly after the second plane I had hit. I don't really remember. I remember that it did not take them very long to start showing pictures of Bin Laden's face next to the burning towers. I remember putting my head down on my desk but I don't remember what I was feeling. I remember thinking that I was seeing people dying live on TV and that thought was disquieting.

Most strikingly, there was a student teacher in the class who had just moved to Iowa City from New York City. Her last job had been in the World Trade Center just some weeks before. I remember her beginning to cry on the opposite side of the classroom and I remember that some people were giggling at her. Just high school kid shit. Mean, mean as hell, but not really understanding. I think it turned out later that she knew something like 40 people that had died, like everyone she used to work with. She quit the school and I don't know what happened to her. It didn't hit me until years later what an intense and kind of bizarre experience that was. I was just one degree of separation away from what was happening. In her life the tragedy was immediate as to everyone else in the room it was not. It didn't click until much later.

When I think about how it psychologically affected me I don't really know how to do the math. I was discovering drugs and falling deeply for hip-hop and becoming exposed to a lot of new people and ideas of a lot of stripes at that point in my life. I had never really thought that much about things like the government and war, except in the context of the medieval history I had devoured as a child, but my concept of that kind of war was fantastic and legendary and didn't have much to do with the politics of it. I felt a vague and general 'patriotic' sensation but I didn't feel any real threat to myself, and the pure adolescent contrarianism I was embodying at the point in my life as I lashed out against what I was beginning to perceive as oppressive institutions...schools, corporations, the government...with of course a pathetically incomplete understanding of what I was even upset about or rallying against. Very Rage Against the Machine. So I hopped on board with the conspiracy movement right away. The fuck Bush movement, I took those cues from my family. Any actual frustration or rage I felt about the events I channeled toward the administration and the powers that be in the situation - they seemed so much more tangible and threatening than Al-Qaeda, regardless of who was ultimately responsible for the attack itself. I felt and still feel the Patriot Act was and is a larger attack on the American people and our freedom than 9/11 was...to see it pushed through on sentiment, to see the world becoming what I think many of us saw as just cartoonishly Orwellian around me...well, I became the frothing at the mouth hard left pot smoking rap spittin young gutterpunk that would eventually become me, in short. Makeshift Patriot made me aware of SFR and that obviously changed my life. And I really didn't want war. I saw the whole thing happening, I saw those of the people I knew who were all too willing and ready to suit up before the invasion was even really in motion. The anti-war movement, back in the days of its birth, back when we thought we might stop them, for all the good it did us, probably was a much more formative time in my life than I've ever really stopped to think about now. I've consumed and spat forth a lot of ignorance and a lot of inexcusable behavior because of 9/11 - on the first anniversary my friends and I took ecstasy and stole a large number of the American flags people had put out on their porches. We burned a big pile of them in the cemetary - kept the most mutilated for display for a long time...what did that mean? Why? I still don't know. Steve Jordan lost his virginity that night to the girl I wanted to lose mine to that night. I remember them making out in the back of my car. Does that matter? I dunno, I remember though. I think that maybe on the whole the events that would follow 9/11 gave me a nudge towards becoming a more aware and conscious person, even if the avenue I took to that conclusion was path of senseless juvenile rebellion and anger, so if that's the case, for that blessing I'm grateful.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:17 pm
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Mikal kHill



Joined: 29 Jun 2002
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As a people, everyone got nicer for a minute, but they've been getting meaner and sadder ever since, every year.

On 9/11 my coworker called and woke me up to tell me what was happening. I said, "What do you want me to do about it?" and tried to go back to sleep. I'd been asleep for MAYBE an hour? I tried to go to work. The mall I worked in was closed, but we had still managed to sell one copy of the Blueprint.

I lived with someone that was in the reserves, and his wife. They were pretty freaked out. We didn't have an antenna or anything for our TV, we didn't watch the news or have cable, so we had to borrow an old set of bunny ears to watch the news with.

I watched the news off and on, but mostly i stayed in my headphones, spinning vinyl on my turntables and making a bunch of cassette mixtapes that i sent out to friends over the following weeks.

It was weird and bleak.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 8:50 pm
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Mark in Minnesota



Joined: 02 Jan 2004
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Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:15 pm
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JohnSchwan



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Location: Baton Rouge, LA/MA
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I was in 7th grade at the time, and the day is mostly a blur at this point. I remember leaving school after hearing about it and going to a friend's to skateboard/stay away from all the chaos. Needless to stay, I break my arm pretty badly and the rest of the day is a swirl of pain, morphine induced hallucinations and constant replays of people dying in front of my eyes in the ER. I also distinctly remember some douche bag nurse taunting me with apple juice because I couldn't have anything to drink until all of the tests were done on me. There I was trying to wrap my head around what exactly was happening in our country, having an overwhelming sense of dread, tripping balls while in pain and this guy is messing with me a clearly distraught middle schooler. For the next few days I was stuck at home recovering and just constantly watched and read about what was going on. I didn't want to base my opinions off of the initial anger I'd felt because even as a youngin' I realized I didn't know shit.
Post Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:28 pm
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