History (Pay attention, George)

History (Pay attention, George)

Well, it’s just gone midnight here in London and I thought I’d scribble few thoughts about 9/11 before going to bed.

Today, let’s mourn the dead. Let’s pay our respects, and by giving each victim a name, respect and celebrate the value of human life. I suspect most readers were probably going to do that anyway, without this soapbox’s prompting.

This note is targeted at a particular fan of donkeyontheedge, George W Bush. George is a keen reader of history and an intellectual, moral, and ethical giant in the field. So George, here are a few fragments of text and links from America’s history for your edification.

First of all, from http://www.densho.org

…May it serve as a constant reminder of our past so that Americans in the future will never again be denied their constitutional rights and the remembrance of that experience serve to advance the evolution of the human spirit… From a plaque at the Poston Relocation Center

Now George, for our next exercise spot the difference between the two following passages:

Following the Al Quaida attack on New York in September 2001, the United States was gripped by war hysteria. This was especially strong along the Atlantic coast of the U.S. where residents feared more Al Quaida attacks on their cities, homes, and businesses. Leaders in Massachusetts, New York, and Washington DC, demanded that the residents of muslim ancestry be removed from their homes along the coast and relocated in isolated inland areas.

Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, the United States was gripped by war hysteria. This was especially strong along the Pacific coast of the U.S. where residents feared more Japanese attacks on their cities, homes, and businesses. Leaders in California, Oregon, and Washington, demanded that the residents of Japanese ancestry be removed from their homes along the coast and relocated in isolated inland areas (like Guantanamo).

Of course the text refers to Executive Order 9066, which resulted in the forcible internment of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry in 1942, but it’s surprisingly easy to replace ‘Japanese’ with ‘Muslim’ — I don’t know about you, but this worries me. Forgive me for bashing this point to death, check out Ansel Adam’s portraits of the interned Americans. And repeat after me, “Muslims are people too”.

Finally, I’d like you to read an address by President Dwight D Eisenhower, one of America’s greatest Commanders in Chief, regarding American foreign policy in a global, post-conflict situation (not too dissimilar from the feel of your own boots right now I should think…)

I notice the White House website lauds “The Spirit of Freedom”. I ask you to not be the instrument of its corruption.