Tuesday, September 12, 2006

On this day in History

So we sat down to remember, today, the tragedy that befell the world's greatest civilized, industrial nation five years ago. The tears, the fear, the injustice of the destruction of human life -- free, intelligent, American human life. The life of dreams and picket fences. The life of corporate suites, elevators, bathrooms with automatic sensors. THE dream. The one, and the only. Everybody wants it, and we have it. And "never again," we say, will such destruction befall we, the people of the United States of America, who love peace, justice and liberty for all. Who demand it, who breathe it. Never. Again.

I have mixed feelings about 9/11. I feel guilty about it and wonder why I can't seem to smile and nod at the truckload of unanswered and unaswerable questions that haunt the skeptics. "You know, saying it was a conspiracy is like those people who said the Holocaust never happened," someone said to me today. But it isn't the same thing. Not at all. Not in the slightest. I never DENY that those thousands died on 9/11/01. Rather, I deny the why and how they died that is given, fed, pumped into each of us. And I'll leave it at that.

On this day in history, which we all know will be a turning point in history books and civics lessons worldwide, there were other important things. Of course, these things I'll mention have a mighty Jewish flavor, but I don't want to forget thoese things. So here they are:

1) Sept. 11, 1941: Charles Lindbergh makes an infamous speech called "Who are the War Agitators?" in Des Moines, Iowa, where he states that the Jewish "prowar" machine is responsible for promoting entrance into the war. He refers to the "Jewish race" and how unfortunate it is for the troubles they face, but that it is no reason to enter the war.

Said Lindbergh: "If any one of these groups -- the British, the Jewish, or the administration -- stops agitating for war, I believe there will be little danger of our involvement."

He went on to say that the Jews, in running most major industries of communication, had the capabilities to promote their ideas and that this was a great threat to "our interests" -- meaning nonJewish interests.

Said Lindbergh: "Their greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership and influence in our motion pictures, our press, our radio and our government."

He clearly painted a picture of "us versus them." Don't worry, we put his happy face on a stamp.

2) Sept. 11, 1921: Nahalal, the first moshav in Israel, is settled. A moshav is a collective of farms, in a community, very similar to kibbutzim. Interestingly, starting in the 1970s and 80s, most moshav relied largely on outside Arab labor, as many of the folks living on the moshavs took jobs outside the community. I'd like to think there's been a return to the community-mindedness, but who knows. It's weird to think a settlement similar to kibbutzim became known largely as exurban or suburban.

3) Sept. 11, 1962: You know that boy band from Britainland that took the world by surprise? Yes, the Beatles recorded their first debut single, "Love me Do." What happened to that happy, Britpop that the world loved so much? The BSB and N'Sync don't really compare. And as much as I hate to say it, neither did the New Kids on the Block (bites her tongue).

4) Sept. 11, 1978: Peace talks. Yes, peace talks. It was Carter, Begin and Sadat and they sat down at Camp David to talk PEACE between Israel and Egypt, as well as the greater Middle East. I'm glad Egypt and Israel got their skeletons packed away, but what about everything else?

5) Sept. 11, 3 BCE: This one sort of shocked me. After my known interesting Sept. 11 facts ran out, I turned to wikipedia, which says that this date is the second day of Rosh HaShana in the Julian calendar. My response: Que?

6) Sept. 11, 2005: Almost forgot this one, can't believe I did. This time last year, Israel shocked the world and those living in Gaza settlements by announcing the removal of settlers from Gaza after 38 years. I don't know that it had amazingly immediate results, but I will say that in the long run, it was a good step, the best of steps. You have to start somewhere, and with the amount of compromise Israel has tossed in the peace-building pot, this doesn't surprise me in the least. Now if we can just get a Palestinian leader who cares more about his people than ridding the world of the Jews and Israel.

And there we are. There's your history lesson. Don't forget that also in 1941, ground was broken on the Pentagon or that in 1978 the final victim of smallpox kicked the bucket or that John Ritter died on Sept. 11 and so did Johnny Unitis. Or that several thousand people died for reasons that we may never know or understand.

Give it 20 minutes, it'll be a new day and anniversaries will seem trite and insincere. I promise.