First, an update to the last blog. The morning after posting it, I had a conversation with my host mother. She and I discussed the film, and held the exact same opinion I did: While this film is disgusting and stupid, it’s just a movie. So while I will not take down the last entry, as this blog is supposed to be more like a series of written photographs than a living document, I would like to apologize for the implication, if I promoted it, that there is a large section of Jordan, or the Middle East in general, that accepts the killing of Ambassador Stevens. That was wrong. Now, onto the post. This was supposed to go up on September 11th, so again, this one is dated too. I promise I’ll get my shit straight on day…
Tremor: 4.2, Depth: 9.3 miles, Location: 3.7 kilometers from Amman, Jordan.
I haven’t been checking my Twitter feed lately. Twitter is this up-to-the-minute, constant stream of notifications from people and news agencies that will just compile the information together at the end of the day anyway, so in a country with limited internet access and a much more laid back attitude towards breaking news, it’s hardly a necessary thing. However, upon returning from school Tuesday night, I decided to open it anyway. It was around 6pm here, or 11am in New York and 8am in San Francisco. Already, seven of the ten trending topics on Twitter were 9/11-related, with the first being #neverforget.
Being in the Middle East on September 11th isn’t strange. Not at all. At least, not in the way that many in the United States would think of it. September 11th means little to the people of Jordan, and perhaps rightfully so. While they feel many of the effects of the U.S. foreign policy that materialized in the wake of that fateful day, (Or was perhaps decades in the making. See: “Drift: The Unmooring of American Military Power”) there were few protests or commemorations. It was just another day.
Lost in all the stories of the protests of the anti-Islam film was the criticism NBC got for not airing a moment of silence at the time the first plane hit the North Tower 11 years ago. While it is never excusable to ever play an interview with Kris Jenner, it opened up the door for a very reasonable discussion: How much is too much? Obviously, September 11th will be ground into our brains like Pearl Harbor or the Boston Massacre for generations before, but is it fair to attack a private news organization for their decision not to broadcast a moment of silence? Or should this moment of silence be mandatory across all facets of life? While I do not have the answer for this question, it brings up the even larger point. We, as a human race, failed our obligation to the victims of the Holocaust time and time again, when they said “Never Forget”, and we forgot Cambodia, and Rwanda, and even Kosovo for a time. Will we #neverforget this time around? Or will we just make the same mistakes over again?