Tuesday, September 11, 2001
September 11th, at 9:00 pm.
New York always gets ruined in movies. It got blown up in Independence Day, smashed by meteors in Armageddon, whacked apart in Godzilla, drowned in Deep Impact. And those are just the ones I can immediately remember. I also remember people laughing and saying it was funny to see New York getting obliterated, snotty stuck-up New York that thinks itís such a badass. And today they were shaking their heads, crying, horrified, saying blankly it was just like the movies, but worse. In our imaginations, our country is vulnerable to aliens, giant rocks from space, and monsters created by nuclear radiation. Not what happened today. I wonder how long it will be before anyone has the desire to create another special effects sequence like that. If they make a TV movie out of this, Iím going to shoot myself.
I have been away for the summer, traveling. Now I canít stop watching TV.
The image that sticks with me most from today is that of the people in Palestine celebrating in the streets, tossing candy around and encouraging their children to dance and sing, ďGod is great! Thank you God!Ē What God is this exactly? Same one that ordered the Israelites to clear out the Promised Land down to the last woman and child? Oh, wait, thatís the Judeo-Christian God. Thatís supposed to be the good one! Were the Children of Israel throwing candy to their children when the walls of Jericho came down? Who are these gods who rejoice in the death of innocents?
Religion is dangerous. Iíve never been so glad to be an atheist. Religion means that if you crash an airplane into a building and die, it doesnít matter, because in heaven youíll be a superhero. Religion means that retaliation makes martyrs, and striking down those responsible only makes room for more leaders to rise in their place, angrier and more dedicated than those who have gone before. God is always right. If God tells you to kill Americans, then killing Americans is right. Christians now believe in loving your neighbor, being good to those that hurt you, etc. But their god is the one that killed the firstborn sons of all the Egyptians, and they havenít torn up the Old Testament yet. Iíll tell you what. There is no such thing as GOD. And using the promise of heaven, and the reassurance of a divine mandate to make people KILL OTHER PEOPLE is absolute evil. Okay, so weíre Christians now. We donít do that anymore. Well good for us.
Good for us on a secular level too. I was talking to a friend today about how if Bin Laden set up camp under a day care center we couldnít do a damn thing about him, and how hard it is to use ethics to fight people with no ethics who will kill anyone without discriminating, when I remembered Hiroshima, Nagasaki, children running naked through the streets, burned. People today were comparing this disaster to a nuclear holocaust, with the ash and dust falling and all the devastation. Well we did drop atomic bombs on cities and we did kill babies and women and civilians and that happened. But we felt like shit about it. And we certainly werenít parading through the streets, passing out cake, burning flags, and thanking God. Were we?
I am sickened to the point of despair by the thought of all the little kids whose moms and dads were killed today, all the moms and dads whose kids were killed, everyone who died screaming in those planes and buildings. I am angry at those damn Muslim extremists and their shitty god. I am, therefore, normal. Everyone feels this way. I am in no way comforted by promises to ďhunt downĒ and ďbring to justiceĒ those who perpetrated this terrible crime. These are religious people. They are obeying God. My deep feeling and the most horrifying thought of all is that there is nothing we can do. No amount of security will prevent this, no amount of retribution will deter it. Journalists keep repeating that we donít know who the enemy is. We do. The enemy is GOD. God ordered this, God approved of it, and God has plans for the next big party as well. And this God, like any phantom, cannot be killed with a gun or a bomb. Only the long slow process of change, of enlightenment, of technological advance and intellectual progress will improve us. But good luck to George Bush as he tries his hand at revenge.
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