Over the past week society, and in particular the media, have been in my opinion obsessed with commemorating the tenth anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Center. I am not one of those nutters who point to other terrorist attacks in remote places and try to equate eggs with oranges but it does concern me greatly.
On a personal level I have to question the constant bombardment of ‘misery porn’ on my television screen. There continues to be a lack of critical assessment in the mainstream media about the consequences of the 9/11 attacks in the context of world affairs. I doubt that the majority of the public are interested in such an evaluation, but show them a picture of a man jumping out a window on loop and they will remain hunched over their TV screens ad infinitum. The priorities of both the public and the media are sadly skewed.
What if next year, we have a one minute silence worldwide? We commemorate the people who lost their lives on that clear day on the eastern seaboard of the United States, all those needlessly killed in Iraq (on both sides), and those who sought to avenge in Afghanistan (on both sides). We chastise those who are foolish enough to embark on adversarial politics in the name of religion (on both sides), and those who continue this idiotic legacy. In between this minute we as society choose to boycott all of this ‘misery porn’, and 'commemorative gestures', which do nothing but fan the flames of prejudice.
I proclaim this current coverage to be as harsh and harmful as propaganda generated by any totalitarian regime in the world. Just as these states do, the United States, Australia and the rest of the western civilization show images of violence and destruction to embolden the complacent in society by encouraging them to hate a perceived ‘enemy’. To what end?
Next time you see the images of fire, rubble, and helpless people jumping out the World Trade Center windows ask yourself one thing: What response is expected of me? An intelligent society must respect and honour those lives that were sacrificed. Such respect demands that these lives must not be exploited for opportunistic gain, both from the media and those in political power.
Next year when confronted with constant 'commemoration' you have a choice. I will choose to ignore it and move on.