Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Forget 9/11

Magazine article Tablet Magazine

Forget 9/11

Article excerpt

I've been walking around with a funny feeling in my stomach. Each tinge of "We Remember" made me cringe. Each image of "Ten Years Later" made me irritable. It wasn't until the weekend began, with its endless parade of pundits and canned, repetitive footage, that I felt free to admit it to myself: the tenth anniversary of 9/11 made me very angry.

As is often the case with inchoate rage, I needed my friends to help me focus. Thankfully, Todd Gitlin did. Having just returned from a visit to Serbia, he noted how that nation was still actively and passionately commemorating the Battle of Kosovo, in which the armies of the Turkish Sultan Murad I, despite heavy losses, subdued their opponents and turned many Serb principalities into Ottoman protectorates. That was in 1389.

Growing up in Israel, I saw this foul force at play on both ends of the conflict. My Palestinian friends were commemorating the Nakbathe establishment of the state of Israeland my Israeli friends were traveling to Poland, eagerly visiting the fields where their ancestors were shot, gassed, burned, and buried. I joined one such delegation, and was appalled not so much by the ominous piles of shoes and the ghoulish photographsI'd seen these beforebut by the particularly potent combination of humiliation and nationalism. In the barracks of Auschwitz, many of my classmates were reborn: They wrapped themselves in Israeli flags, spoke a bit too loudly to every Polish bystander, sang "Hatikvah" until they were hoarse, and vowed to join the army's most elite units. …

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