[Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 22, 2023, at Exile in Happy Valley].
I still remember it like it was last week. The images from that day in early September 2001 have been seared into the walls of my skull like antique photographs of garish gothic tableaus, a procession of haunted images forming some sort of post-modern version of the Stations of the Cross that ends in the crucifixion of my adolescent sense of American greatness.
I remember the fear in my sixth-grade history teacher's eyes when she told us that planes had struck skyscrapers in Manhattan. I remember the abrupt silence that consumed that typically boisterous classroom of twelve-year-old chatterboxes like a deafmute plague. I remember coming home to that same fear and silence in my own living room with only the incessant ramblings of panicked cable news analysts to fill the din with drivel. I remember my mother standing outside on the front porch and watching the sky as if it were raining commercial airliners. And I remember those towers, igniting like god size matches, spewing a seemingly impossible amount of ash into the atmosphere, and bowing slowly to the earth on my TV screen, over and over and over again.
I also remember the hysterical climate of insanity that followed 9/11 and, in many ways, has never ceased. Powerful men calmly explaining that this awesome spectacle of human savagery must be met not with contemplation or reflection but with even greater human savagery. My parents and my teachers and my priests and all the other fine Christians tasked with governing my adolescent spirituality falling in line behind a doctrine of blind vengeance against a broad and vague enemy made up of impoverished people living in the shadows of their biblical fairy tales. The late-night footage of buildings exploding in downtown Bagdad playing on a loop while I sat watching in simmering anguish, knowing that each fantastic fireball brought with it some other confused kid's own 9/11, another young skull seared with horrific cave drawings that commanded that they be met with violence.
I've been thinking about these things a lot lately since the massacres of the Al-Aqsa Flood and the carpet bombings launched against the entire populace of Gaza in response. The comparisons between the current horrors in the Holy Land and the ongoing and interconnected horrors of 9/11 and the War on Terror are so despicably eerie to me that they are almost too much to consume without physically retching on the details. In both cases, a privileged society has been visited by the specters of their past sins only to choose to repeat them and in both cases these societies collective detachment from anything even resembling logic seems almost absurdly absolute.
The terrorist attacks on September 11th were carefully choreographed reenactments of America's own terrorist attacks on city centers across the Middle East over the decades, specifically the ones perpetrated upon Bagdad which had first been turned into a body strewn Hollywood movie set by the father of then-President George W. Bush at the end of the Cold War in order to usher in a "New World Order" of American supremacy.
The attacks themselves were perpetrated by a couple dozen off-Washington performers assembled and trained by men who had themselves been assembled and trained by the United States to turn Afghanistan into a mountainous booby-trap for the Soviet Union to be lured into twenty years earlier. Upon achieving this mission, these freedom fighters known as the Mujahideen mutated into the terrorists of Al-Qaeda and bit the hand that fed them in order to lure their former master's into that same mountain death trap. Amazingly, it worked, and the New World Order is now on life support as it staggers through the chicken wire snares of twenty years of failed Middle Eastern massacres.
Similarly, the recent attacks on Southern Israeli settlements were carefully choreographed reenactments of the Zionist massacres that emptied them of their indigenous Palestinian populations in the late forties. The Nakba that those savaged kibbutzim were built on was a swarm attack launched by militant Ashkenazi supremacists who indiscriminately slaughtered entire tribes and declared the results to be a state. Much like with 9/11, the reenactors were angry young men assembled and trained by angry young men assembled and trained by their targets.
Hamas was a two-bit Muslim Brotherhood offshoot who could barely even shoot straight before the Israelis began funding them in the early eighties with the intention of creating a monstrous counterweight to the far more moderate secular leftist Palestinian resistance movements in vogue at the time. The result was the construction of a merciless golem which has killed more Israeli civilians than every faction of the PLO combined. But Hamas has only flourished over the decades thanks to a generation of new recruits midwifed by decades of Israeli state terrorism, terrorism that has seen more than half of the Gaza Strip's impoverished population grow to something resembling adulthood under a crippling blockade and repeated aerial bombardments that have resulted in the slaughter of nearly 8,000 Palestinian civilians in the last twenty years alone.
And now Israel has met their sadistic cry of anguish with more bombs, more orphans, more dead children, more tiny 9/11s, and an insane plot to invade the fortified ghettos of Gaza and empty them of their indignant prisoners once and for all. Considering history, how do you think this story will end? Why don't we ask the people of Afghanistan? Why don't we ask the people of Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia? Why don't we ask the 4.7 million gravestones that stand in attention across the Muslim world to salute the Great War on Terror? Why don't we ask the amputated husks who dug their graves and now haunt the streets of towns like Altoona, Pennsylvania and Youngstown, Ohio that look a little more like Bagdad with each passing recession?
Terrorism, whether it be performed by the state or its copycats, is not an act of warfare. It is an act of propaganda, a perverse artform designed to provoke an emotional response from a populace in order to override their access to basic human logic. The result is the creation of a sort of economy of trauma that trades in acts of violence, with each passing exchange becoming increasingly heinous and unhinged from reality. This ecosystem of terror is detrimental to nearly everyone and everything that it touches and thus is typically only performed by one of two groups of people, the Dammed and the Untouchables.
The Untouchables are the mandarins of the war machine, an industrial complex of psychopathic state capitalists who profit from the proliferation of constant violence regardless of who wins the wars or who digs the graves. The Dammed are those who already live in a state of constant violence and have nothing left to lose. As the forever wars of the monied Untouchable class expand to every corner of the globe, the ranks of the Dammed swell and increasingly include not only the victims of these wars but the veterans used to perpetrate them as well as the victims of war reenactors like Hamas and Al-Qaeda. Eventually, the Untouchables will find themselves surrounded and will be engulfed by the self-sustaining industry of violence that they have profited from. But where will that leave the rest of us? Drowning in a cesspool of human misery.
This has to stop, and it is we the dammed and soon-to-be dammed who have to make it stop. We don't make it stop by laying down our arms while the Untouchable class continues there slaughter regardless of resistance. We make it stop by refusing fight like a state and fighting the state itself instead. Every dead body smoldering in the Holy Land as we speak, be they Jew or Arab, is a casualty of the colonialist Westphalian nation state injected into the Levant by foreign interlopers. There was no Israel or Hamas before the diversity of that traditionally stateless society was forcibly united beneath one single universal order or another. Humans were not designed to live this way and they certainly weren't designed to die this way.
We must all refuse to take part in this horrific masquerade. We must refuse to fight beneath the banner of any standing army, and we must refuse to fire a single bullet unless it is fired in the defense of our own communities and right now all of our communities need to be defended from the terrorist machinery of the Untouchable class who are calling on us to repeat history once again with more endless war.
These are the heinous fiends who must be brought down but they will never be brought down by invasions and interventions that only perpetuate the imperial contagion that has ravaged the globe from Ground Zero to Gaza. They must instead be brought down by revolutions. A thousand local uprisings launched across the globe to restore sanity and diversity to a stateless world. What this means is that it is the Jews who must smash Israel, the Palestinians who must smash Hamas, and the Americans who must finish off the New World Order once and for all. For only when each of us does our part to smash the state will any of us ever know lasting peace.