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(DV) Lopez-Calderon: The Darkest Days







September 11, 2001: The Darkest Day
Not Since December 7, 1941 Has America Been So Viciously Attacked
by Michael Lopez-Calderon
September 12, 2001

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What occurred this morning, and what apparently is still unfolding ranks among the most despicable, monstrously wicked events of this or any Century. The evil attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and plane crashes apparently near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and possibly even Camp David will forever change the way Americans view internal security.

There are too many events unfolding, so for now I will simply put forth some random thoughts to be commented upon at a later date:

1. There may be thousands dead and certainly thousands injured, making this a Pearl Harbor-scale attack. This is an utterly insane attack that will outrage this nation the way Pearl Harbor did.  And remember that that attack nearly sixty years ago was avenged with two nuclear strikes on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese learned a brutal lesson that you do not attack the US, and even though Hawaii was at the time a colony, not a state, several hundreds of thousands of Japanese citizens lost their lives and their government was smashed. America's fury has no rival.

2. We must mourn the loss of so many innocent lives and at the same time realize that these monstrously wicked and vile attacks are the result of a foreign policy that for too long has ignored much of the world. The US government, and by implication, the American people can not continue to act as if the rest of the world does not matter. Our one-sided support for

Israel, our walking out on the Kyoto Agreement, the Durban Conference on Racism, the ABM Treaty, and numerous other examples has not only isolated the US from the rest of the world, but has served as a clarion call that we simply insist on being an arrogant and intentionally ignorant society. Today, that ignorance came back at us in the form of massive hatred and violence.

3. The President's proposed National Missile Defense system (NMD) could not and would not have been able to thwart such an attack. We may soon spend hundreds of billions on a system that not only will create another destructively wasteful arms race with Russia and China, but that will also leave us with an illusion of safety. Those of us who oppose NMD do so from a motive of patriotic concern for the nation's genuine security. We are motivated also by the realization that such a useless, wasteful program will squander our resources and trigger a deadly arms race. Finally, since I am both a student and teacher of history, I am aware of previous unsuccessful attempts by other nations to defend their territories. France's Maginot Line and China's Great Wall come to mind, respectively. National Missile Defense will amount to another hare-brained scheme, a modern day whiz-bang, high-tech Maginot Line utterly incapable from halting attacks like the ones today.

4. This terror attack also marks a Titantic-sized failure on the part of the FAA to provide airline security. The idea of turning over airline security to private industry is sheer madness. The only thing being "turned over" under such a system are the airport security personnel whose turn-over rates range from 200 percent at Boston's Logan Airport, where two of the ill-fated planes were hijacked, to 90 percent at Dulles Airport, scene of another fateful hijacking today.

5. We may add to the failure list the NSA, CIA, and Department of Defense. Where were they?

6. The anti-Arab and anti-Islamic Witch Hunt will now reach a fever pitch. We can rest assure that there will be a wave of the most hateful, anti-Arab hysteria that will sweep this nation. While this is the darkest day for America since December 7, 1941, American Arabs will soon face a backlash not suffered by any American minority since the Nisei (Japanese Americans) were targeted and eventually interned in 1941-1942 for the duration of the Second World War. It is dark day to be an American Arab.

7. CBS Network News earlier today showed film footage of Palestinians dancing and celebrating in the streets. While it is true that Arafat and seemingly all leading Palestinian figures have condemned the attacks, the scene of some Palestinians celebrating this deed is not only a horribly disgusting scene, but another example of how America has so badly alienated herself from Palestinians that such celebrations are made possible. The video tape footage no doubt will be used to strike another hard blow against Palestinians. Some Palestinians and Arabs' ignorance of Public Relations and of how to sway American hearts and minds absolutely boggles the mind. I have heard some say this before: "When Allah was handing out diplomas and degrees in Public Relations apparently not a single Arab was in line." This harmful little maxim gained momentum today.

The cause of Palestinian Justice may well have died today along with thousands of innocent lives and America's sense of security. Making the case of Palestine to the American people has now become a million times more difficult.

Michael Lopez-Calderon is a high school teacher and activist based in Miami, Florida. email:

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