The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive


To Everyone -

This is poorly written, but it has been on my mind for the past two days:

I mourn the passing of 6000 or more lives, like everyone else. I cry like
everyone else over this. I work through mourning, like everyone, and lose
sleep, watch the news, like everyone. And I support the elimination of
terrorism, coupled with a redistribution of wealth and communications on a
global scale, like many of us. This may be another story, or it may be the
same story.

But I do not fly an American flag, wear red white and blue; this tragedy
does not make me patriotic, only sad. I fear patriotism and leadership; I
fear nationalism which all too often degenerates into further drawings of
lines, further ignorance, further racisms.

I fear, in other words, the calls to the flag, the calls to Americanism,
the calls to patriotism.

And I do not seek vengeance or violence, and I deplore the rhetoric of war,
vengeance, and violence dominating the news. I resent the transformation of
tragedy into this rhetoric, mourning into firearms.

I fear, in other words, the calls for war, the calls for vengeance, the
violence already enacted against Arabs in our streets.

I do not pray to God, to any God, and I resent the implications that this
should be our means of dealing with the tragedy, or coming together as a

I fear, in other words, the call to religion, even for those of us who
have no belief, no religion, no desire to create even more havoc in the
names of gods who can only be unjust.

A lot of us find our country turning away from us, just as it turns to
war, nationalism, flags, patriotism, and vengeance above all. Eliminating
terrorism is one thing - the rhetoric and all it implies, is something
else again, incredibly dangerous. The tragedy did not make me feel "more
an American" - if anything, it makes me feel more an internationalist than
ever - so many foreign citizens were also killed. And if the Net has
taught us anything, it is that ultimately we will all rise and fall
together, not separated by boundaries tempered only by the vagaries of

We already see the result of the rhetoric in the violence against Arabs,
or anyone appearing "Arab-looking," across the United States.

Let us do whatever we can to endure. But let us also speak out, with care,
on and off the Net, before we are all silenced.

And let us mourn.


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