September 12, 2002

September 12

There's an article by Kenneth Davidson, that perpetual campaigner for the old left, in today's Age. Kenneth is an interesting guy, if only because he's about the only one left in mainstream journalism of that particular political stripe. You're not going to get a surprise out of what he says, but you won't find Paul Kelly or Jane Albrechtsten or Mark Baker or anyone else saying it.

So here's my September 11 tale. I went to bed that night without my then-customary glance at Lateline. The first I knew about it was when I was awoken by the Breakfasters the next morning, who were still reporting a confused story about a plane hitting the Trade Centre. My confession is that I first thought it was an act of domestic terrorism, that undoubtedly it would turn out to be the work of a home-grown militia. Perhaps the difference between Australia and America is that both see the world as a threat, but that America wants to hit the threat till it stops moving where Australia just wants it to go away. Neither seem to quite believe that self-harm is the greater part of our century's anguish. This assessment was, of course, wrong.

My next confession is that I find the anniversary of September 11 a singularly depressing event. The horror is still vivid and the hope is still remote. We have learnt nothing that we could not foresee. We know now as we knew then that war causes death, misery, poverty and insecurity. And yet it is seriously, vigourously proposed that we seek further war, as if that will promote greater safety. America still does not know why its foreign policy activities actively create opposition, and seems determined to suppress those of its own citizens who have questioned those activities.

So here's some small, human-scale hope that suffering does not have to be the order of things.

posted on September 12, 2002 at 09:45 AM by darren.