As I listen to the remembrances and homages to the victims of the attacks 10 years ago today I can't help but think of the distinction our media makes between worthy and unworthy victims. Worthy victims are those killed by the bad guys. Victims of Pol Pot, Hussein, bin Laden, Castro. These are the ones everyone knows about. The unworthy victims are the ones killed by us. So the several thousand Chileans during the first 9-11, the few thousand Panamanians, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, the hundreds of thousands of Timorese. The victims of 9-11 should be remembered. But there are others that should be remembered as well.
But what gives me some hope is that the American people are not the same as the corporate media. The corporate media is going to serve their propaganda function. That's their institutional structure. So we shouldn't expect anything else. They will focus on the worthy victims because that serves corporate interest. Despite that we still see that the American people don't entirely go along. Sure, the media is influential. But so many of the people I speak with sound nothing like them. They care about others as well.
Take a look at this poll via Greenwald.
As Greenwald points out, this is a view that is almost never expressed in the mainstream media. Nearly a plurality recognizes it anyway. You hear it from Ron Paul. You then hear Rush Limbaugh freaking out and baffled that the crowd agrees with Paul.
There's a lot to be pessimistic about. Our government is targeting US citizens for assassination. People not in battle zones. People not even convicted of a crime. It's bad. But this has been happening for a long time. Fred Hampton was nothing but a charismatic leader of an entirely legitimate political party. We would learn that this political party was entirely infiltrated by the FBI so that crimes could be attributed to it and it could be discredited. It's complete undermining of democracy. People don't know too much about this stuff. But they seem to be more aware today.
In Vietnam JFK just sent B-52's to carpet bomb civilian areas. I don't think he asked permission. And few in America really cared. If you spoke out against it in 1962 or 1963 you took your own life in your hands. Today they have to hide the slaughters of the innocent people. They don't send B-52's. They fear public backlash.
I for one had no clue about any of this 10 years ago. I knew there was some hostility to the US, but I thought it was quite irrational. I think there's more awareness now. I think there are a lot of people that dug a bit after these events to try and understand why they happened. And a lot of depressing realizations followed. It's a gloomier world then I realized. That's unfortunate. But the knowledge is the first step required for fixing the problems that I didn't know about. If we can fix them not only will we reduce the death tolls for the unworthy victims, we can reduce the likelihood of retaliatory violence against the worthy victims. I think it can be done, but it won't be easy.