I wonder how long it will be before the horrifying events of 9/11 are described as being an invention of history. Will 9/11 be a victim of deniers the way the Holocaust is being denied by vested interests?
It hardly seems possible, but I attended a function at Monash University last Wednesday evening which set off alarm bells in my mind. The function was meant to be a conversation with three academics, Jack Miles, Waleed Aly and Geoffrey Garrett with follow-up questions from the audience. It was being held four days after the ninth anniversary of 9/11 and its title was:-
9/11 America and Islam Nine Years On.
In spite of the miserable weather in Melbourne I was not going to miss this discussion as I regard 9/11 as a turning point in the way that the West and the U.S in particular view the Islamic world.
All three academics are respected scholars. I had heard Professor Garrett and Waleed Aly speak before and looked forward to what should have been an elucidating discussion on the set topic.
The conversation was animated. Jack Miles was a typical Californian University professor with very left leanings who worships President Obama. He did admit that the great white hope should have kept out of the Ground Zero mosque debate, but apart from that his hero could walk on water.
Waleed Aly could not understand why New Yorkers would object to the mosque since it was really a Y.M.C.A, a sort of gesture of friendship to N.Yorkers. Jack Miles added that the protests had been machinated by Republicans in anticipation of the coming November elections.
After about an hour and a half of very interesting discussions, I was puzzled by something that was missing in the whole conversation. Not once had any of the academics mentioned 9/11. Wasn’t this the topic for the evening? I checked the invitation. Yes, there it was in bold letters and yet not one of them had mentioned September 2001.
Exasperated by such a gross omission, I asked the question. Why was the set topic being ignored? I read out the topic and asked that it be discussed. Professor Garrett apologised but Professor Miles was adamant that Americans aren’t worried about terrorism as much as they used to be.
Was that any reason for not discussing the impact of 9/11? Were Americans really not concerned about 9/11 and terrorism any more? Or was this, as I suspect, a desire on the part of the liberals in the U.S to relegate the attack on the Twin Towers to a glitch, an aberration, something to shelve and forget?
I was outraged by this attitude. Miles even said that the U.S was such a violent nation that the only reason 9/11 made news is that the numbers of dead, almost 3000, was more than the usual dozen or so who are murdered every day in the States.
He apparently couldn’t differentiate between ordinary violent crime in the U.S and an attack by terrorists on the soul of the American people.
I imagined that in time, if academics like Miles had their way, 9/11 would be forgotten and that some of them would even claim it didn’t happen. Revisionists would triumph while the truth would lie dead.
p.s Following the function and as I was leaving, I was approached by at least a dozen people, people whom I’d never met before, who thanked me for my question. They had been wondering when the academics would get down to the set topic. Sometimes you just have to speak up.