9/11 Remembered

Wight and Seymour on 9/11

I first heard this piece– a retired New York firefighter’s remembrance of his two sons, a policeman and a fireman killed on 9/11– on National Public Radio. But hearing it again with the animation added a touching sweetness to the heartbreak.

Then consider the 9/11 posts at Socialist Unity and Lenin’s Tomb. Though both are horribly wrong-headed, there is a difference worth noting.

At SU, John Wight at least acknowledges the original attack as an atrocity. And he writes with what I hope is genuine feeling:

None of us will ever be allowed to forget the gruesome images of people jumping to their deaths, compelled to by the heat and smoke and flames that filled twin towers which hitherto had stood as proud symbols of America’s power, prestige and exceptionalism. None either will ever be allowed to forget the heroism of the hundreds of police officers and firemen who lost their lives trying to save others, nor the tragic accounts of passengers on hijacked aircraft saying goodbye to loved ones during tearful final phone calls as they flew to their deaths.

Of course he goes on to accuse the US of lashing out with “depravity and savagery” in response and concludes:

How many more victims must there be before Rome’s thirst for revenge and hunger for empire is finally satiated?

From Richard Seymour at LT, however, we get a warmed-over passage from his 2008 opus “The Liberal Defense of Murder.” It comes with all the vitriol of Wight’s post, only directed at liberals like George Packer and Paul Berman who hoped for a spirit of national solidarity and purpose to arise from 9/11.

But what’s striking about Seymour’s post is its absolute bloodlessness, its lack of simple human compassion for those who suffered and lost so much on that day. And his cold-heartedness toward ordinary people is by no means a one-off.

Is there something about Leninists (and their counterparts at the other end of the political spectrum) that enables them to turn their humanity on and off as is politically convenient?

Seymour manages the difficult task of making the obsessive Israel hater Wight look decent by comparison.