Tomorrow is the ninth anniversary of the September 11th plane hijacking and attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
It’s an anniversary that comes around during a time of many events and emotions. As Ann wrote about, President Obama recently declared that the Iraq war is “over,” but it’s a unresolved conclusion at best. We’ve also still got a interminable conflict going on in Afghanistan, and now, right close to the World Trade Center site, a really upsetting battle over the location of a Muslim community center.
Our girl Courtney has a new book out this week, Do It Anyway, that ties in nicely with the anniversary–it’s about our generation of activists and how we’re trying to make our way in a sincerely complicated world. How does one do good amidst so much turmoil and suffering? We are a generation that was marked by what happened on September 11th, 2001. I remember hearing about the attacks during my senior year of high school, in my English class, and seeing those around me in North Carolina who had family and friends they lost in the twin towers.
Sept. 11th marked one of my first international political awakenings. I remember when we first bombed Afghanistan–I was on a road trip with my parents, looking at colleges when I heard the announcement on the radio. For those of us in our twenties and thirties, Sept. 11 has shaped our world view, or sense of security, forced us to decide what kind of response we feel is the right one to this kind of violence.
The excerpt from Courtney’s book related to Sept. 11 is after the jump.
Perhaps most significantly, we experienced Sept. 11 right as we were developing a political consciousness.
I was a senior in college, poised to enter the real world with a sort of indestructible bravado on Sept. 10. On Sept. 11, everything I’d understood about my own safety, about the implications of America’s reputation throughout the world, about violence and poverty and extremism, was transformed.
I became simultaneously more humble and also more committed to really examining the beauty and ugliness of the country I’d been so blessed to be born in. But that examination has not lead to any clear answers.
It’s been worthwhile, but it’s also been paralyzing. The war on terror may be an ill-conceived, inaccurate battle plan, but what do we do in the face of such hatred? Reinstating the draft would be a disaster, but how can we stand by as military recruiters prey on the most needy of young Americans? What is our individual responsibility to end war?
It’s as if we each possess that glass jar, buried within and it’s growing heavier all the time–and we have no idea what the hell we’re supposed to do with it.
Excerpted from “Do It Anyway: The New Generation of Activists,” by Courtney E. Martin, Copyright copyright 2010. Excerpted with permission by Beacon Press.