September 11th and History
- Hi everyone.
I received this on another list and I thought it was a really good example
of how we can use the events of September 11th to think about History. It
is of course talking about History from an American perspective but the
points are relevant to all history of all countries I think.
>1. History is Full of Unexpected Outcomes: "You all came to school on
>Tuesday expecting your day to be an ordinary day, but it was not. Many
>people in New York and Washington went to work expecting it to be an
>ordinary day, but it was not. Passengers began flights from the east coast
>to the west coast expecting them to be ordinary, uneventful flights but they
>were not. History is, indeed, full of unexpected outcomes."
>2. History revels the causes of events: "As time goes by, the causes of
>this tragedy will be discovered and the full time line will be revealed.
>Those things that preceded and cause this to happen are history. Some of
>them will be ordinary things, like a flight instructor teaching eager
>students how to fly. Some will more extra-ordinary. But eventually,
>history will spill out the causes of these events."
>3. History might not have happend this way. "The passengers of the flight
>that crashed in PA might not have risen to stop the terrorist. Which other
>building might have been destroyed? How many more people would have died?"
>4. History is everyone's story: From the victims to the terrorists, from
>the firefighters to the guy who helped another out of the building, from the
>person giving blood in Texas to the child tying red, white, and blue ribbons
>on car antenas. From the families of those who died, to the families of
>those displaced, to the families of those who lost their jobs because their
>place of employment was destroyed. This is indeed
>5. History help us understand the present: We are asking why? The answer
>will be in history. We are asking "What did we do to deserve this? The
>answer will be found in history. We are asking "What can we do to prevent
>it from happening again?" And the answer again, will be found in history.
>6. The past is different from the present. We have heard this compared to
>Pearl Harbor. But Pearl Harbor was different. We knew from day one who the
>attackers were. And we knew what we had to do. Today, the enemy is not
>another identifiable country, but a group of fanatics who are hiding rather.
>7. We study history to keep the memories alive. "You will remember as long
>as you live what happened on Tuesday, just as I will remember as long as I
>live what happened on 11/22/63. (the day President Kennedy was shot.)
>You will remember where you were and what
>you were doing when you were told. You will remember it like it was
>yesterday. And you will tell your children less they forget."
>8. History reminds us of the continuity of the human experience. Monday
>the stock market will open. Monday regular program will return to TV with
>interruption with "breaking news." Monday those not directly affected will
>try to continue life where they left off on Tuesday.
>I know I will return again and again to this event. This year we will study
>American History in light of September 11, 2001.
- Michael Coghlan wrote:
> Hi everyone.Michael,
> I received this on another list and I thought it was a really good example
> of how we can use the events of September 11th to think about History. It
> is of course talking about History from an American perspective but the
> points are relevant to all history of all countries I think.
> >1. History is Full of Unexpected Outcomes: ETC. ...
Thanks for sending us your views. I've added your comments as well as remarks by
Nicia, Maggie, to ...
For another historical perspective, here is an excellent (I think!) article by
Indian writer Arundati Roy in the Guardian on the 9/11
events entitled "The algebra of infinite justice".
Do you remember I wrote recently on scalphunters who used to be paid to kill
native Americans in the southwest of what is now the USA? (I think in researching
this that they were paid by the Mexican government which was in control of the
region at the time, not the US one - but I'm not sure - maybe Antonio knows
something about this ... I've had trouble finding information).
It's apalling to think that one group of people, whoever they are, would sanction
the killing of civilians of another group, and it's happened over and over again
even in modern times, and in the most "civilized" countries of Europe.
Unfortunately, the present conflict can be seen in this perspective, as detailed
at the url below.
Of course I am aware that many in the Muslim world claim that Osama Bin Laden has
no right or authority to declare a fatwa (death sentence) or jihad (holy war),
and he of course does not represent all Muslims or even a fraction of them. As a
resident of the UAE, a Muslim country, I do not personally feel any more
threatened than I would feel threatened by murderers and criminals in my own
country. But as a target of anyone who might obey Osama Bin Ladin, I find the
following information .. uh, interesting ??
21. Al-Qaida virulently opposes the United States. Osama bin Laden has urged and
incited his followers to kill American citizens, in the most unequivocal terms.
22. On 12 October 1996 he issued a declaration of jihad as follows: ``It is the
duty now on every tribe in the Arabian peninsula to fight jihad and cleanse the
land from these Crusader occupiers. Their wealth is booty to those who kill them.
In February 1998 he issued and signed a 'fatwa' which included a decree to all
Muslims: ``...the killing of Americans and their civilian and military allies is
a religious duty for each and every Muslim to be carried out in whichever country
they are ... We with God's help call on every Muslim who believes in God and
wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill Americans and plunder
their money whenever and wherever they find it.'
In an interview aired on Al Jazira (Doha, Qatar) television he stated: ``Our
enemy is every American male, whether he is directly fighting us or paying
There's a lot more here, including mention of Al Qaeda attempts to secure nuclear
There was this more recent article in the New York Times:
A Kuwaiti spokesman for Osama bin Laden issued a blistering televised threat
Saturday to kill Westerners.
The events of 9/11 have touched us all and as depressing as it is to bring the
subject up, it is the topic which is foremost on our minds, and which is most
likely to impact us all.
- Sorry, this one slipped away from me before I'd finished it ..
Vance Stevens wrote:
> Thanks for sending us your views. I've added your comments as well as remarks byhttp://sites.hsprofessional.com/vstevens/files/efi/death.htm
> Nicia, Maggie, to ...
There are comments on this page by Ying Lan | Michael | Vance | Sue | Ying Lan again |
Multicity | Mark Warschauer | Susanne | Nicia | Maggie | Vance again