Dear people creating fictions about thousands cheering on 9/11 and those who believe them:
I don’t like to talk about 9/11. I don’t post about it, and I don’t offer up an annual “here’s what I learned” Facebook update. I don’t like to attend the annual memorials, and I don’t even mind so very much that tourists take selfies at various sites around Ground Zero.
After 14 and some years I can finally admit that it’s because I don’t believe you. I don’t believe your outrage and grief and loss because as I stood on the roof of a building on the border of Little Italy, watching a much taller pair of buildings fall, there were people next to me who cheered.
They weren’t thousands, and they weren’t Muslim. They were white New Yorkers, maybe artists or wannabe-something-or-others or someones squatting in a cousin’s apartment for a while. And they cheered because they viewed those who died at work that day as rich and privileged and unworthy of sympathy and grief. They were youngish, somewhere in between post-college and pre-kids. They were self-involved, they wanted to show how edgy they were, how disaffected.
And they cheered and yelled “Fuck you, bankers!” as the towers came down. I had worked as a secretary in a corporate bank, so I knew who also showed up at 7 AM. But it doesn’t matter anyway; people are people. And ignorance is ugly whether it’s from a Too Cool 20-something or a multi-billionaire.
And there was more. But I don’t like to talk about that either; it’s so fucking disappointing and sad.
In my more generous moments, I can buy into those cheering rooftop egos reacting to horrors differently than I do. Perhaps their shock came out as repulsion. But more often, less generously, I believe it’s just one more example of humans being terrible to each other in so many ways.
I don’t like to talk about 9/11. I don’t believe your outrage or your affected mourning. And I don’t give credence to your posturing and backtracked “reframing” of words.
Oh, by the way, you know where my Manhattan Muslim friends were on 9/11 and the days following? In their apartments. Afraid to leave. Because of things like this.