I’m already tired of the Fifth Anniversary of 9/11 hoopla. It’s one more sign of the United States’ self-absorption and inability to connect with the much larger world beyond our borders.
Yes, 3,000 people died in the attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. Yet did you know that at least 3,000 people die every month in Darfur from violence, disease, and malnutrition attributable to the conflict?
Where are the memorials to these people? Where are the fervent speeches? Where is the determination by the Bush Administration to protect innocents from terrorists? Absent. Absent. Absent.
In the past three years it’s estimated that 250,000 to 400,000 Darfurians have been killed. It’s hard to shed a tear over 9/11 when faced with that statistic.
If you cry over 3,000 deaths, how are you to react to a hundred times that many? Perhaps that’s why we don’t let the inconceivable—and preventable—suffering in Darfur permeate our USA! USA! consciousness.
Recently I talked with a man who had returned from a lengthy stint flying UN staff around the Sudan. He said that his main reaction upon coming home was anger. He resented the materialistic me-first attitude of Americans. He resented how uninformed citizens here are about the disaster in Darfur.
Yet we have no problem focusing on every detail about 3,000 deaths that happened five years ago, because those were American lives. And too many of us have no problem ignoring the 40,000+ deaths of civilians in Iraq caused by our military intervention.
Which was billed as a response to 9/11. Which turned out to be a lie. Which means that our invasion has led to the needless killing of over ten times as many innocents in Iraq as died in the United States from the 9/11 attacks.
So pardon me if tomorrow I ponder the plight of those killed in Darfur and Iraq rather than those who died at the World Trade Center. I find it impossible to consider that the death of one American is more sorrowful than the deaths of 100 people elsewhere in the world.