I suppose some of you may be wondering why I’m so rabid about Egypt right now. Truth is I’ve been giving support via petitions/donations to many such things for many years. I do it for the same reason someone pulls a person from a burning vehicle. It’s just what you are supposed to do.
Usually I’m fairly alone on this and it frustrates the hell out of me, but this time people seem to get it. For the first time, at least since Iran, I feel real hope that the dawn of a new age is at hand where the struggles of humanity will no longer go unnoticed.
Like Afghanistan was.
I remember how helpless I felt the months before and after 9/11 and I wrote about it ages back…
In May of that same year, 2001, I saw a documentary on Afghanistan. Seeing humans doomed to curse of Obscurity, I set about trying to make people aware of a little known group called the Taliban. Working in joint with the Afghan Women’s Mission in California, I put together a packet explaining the horrors of Afghanistan and a request for donations to help build a hospital in Quetta, Pakistan for refugees. I figured that if the humans knew what was happening to others in their tribe, they would immediately help in any way they could.
I suppose that is a sign of how utterly naive I was. I made 100 packets and put them in 100 envelopes, stamped with the red star of the back. When I went to see teachers during the school year, I noticed that many of them had covered their doors with political slogans, articles, and various liberal opinions, including one very annoying doctored picture of Elian Gonzalez being kidnapped by Bill Clinton. I decided that if these people were so for justice and the human condition, then surely they would help. I only taped envelopes to the doors of people with pro-human propaganda. It was summer and no one was around, but when Fall came, surely they would get the notices. But I received no replies.
One man was present during my postings and told me that with so many problems in the world we could only pay attention to the most pressing.
Most pressing? I could not think of people in a more dire need than the ones in Afghanistan. It didn’t make sense. I hit my old high school as well (faculty only) in late June but also received no replies. My old Biology teacher said he would see what he could do, but never did. I carried on alone, making posters and sticking them up on campus. No one noticed until one clear day in September.
The first thing I remember thinking was ‘Please let it not be Afghanistan.’ I didn’t wonder if my Dad survived; for some reason I knew he did. I’m not really sure how I knew he wasn’t in the building but somehow I wasn’t concerned. I was worried about my Ma though. I don’t think I ever thought it through, that I knew Da was okay even though I didn’t and that I was calling my Ma to confirm that. It’s ridiculous, but that is how it went. I was probably the only person in the states that was asleep when it happened. Beanie had to call from work to wake me up. My first reaction was to call Da’s office and ask if it was true, but why would he be by the phone if a plane hit his office?
In case it hasn’t become clear, Da worked in the World Trade Center when they came down. The only Cantor Fitzgerald workers that survived were the ones that were late to work, and my Da was one of them. He watched the whole thing from the Ferry Dock in Hoboken.
I lived 9/11 in a surreal way. The Towers had come down, but I wasn’t surprised. How could I be surprised if I had been trying to make people aware of the danger for three months? That wasn’t very logical, to think that nothing would happen if we let Afghanistan stay as it was. But no one else knew about Afghanistan or saw the danger looming. To the general population it was as if a giant hand came through the sky and scooped the towers up. I had a very hard time acting panicked, but it was expected so I tried my best.
I’m not so much a citizen of the US of A as I am of Earth. Places on Earth got bombed by other places on Earth every day and though it wasn’t a good thing, it didn’t seem out of the ordinary that it would happen here. I mean, this was a place on Earth,yes? I was at a complete loss for the confusion, because I assumed everyone paid at least a moderate amount of attention to what happened on their planet.
Now I realized that most people I talked to didn’t even know where other countries on their planet where. I had spent six years absorbing as much Terrian knowledge and history as I could fit in and then I find that I, the only one who wasn’t born here, knew more about Earth than its inhabitants. That really put me on my ear.
Post 9/11 was not a good place for an Eccentric to be sure. I understood patriotism, but why were people putting little flags on their cars and saying to bomb Afghanistan? I tried to tell them that we had to save the people that had been bombed by the same people that bombed us, but no one seemed interested.
It was the first time, in the months proceeding 9/11 that it became incredibly clear that I was not at all from this planet. It seemed like I had missed something big, that there was a secret reason why everyone was panicking so much. The buildings were bombed and now they were gone. It was over, I thought. I had nearly lost my Da that day, but he didn’t die, he was alive. I almost got killed twice driving home from school, but that was over too, wasn’t it? Living in the house with a 9/11 victim and my Da (because honestly I think it freaked Ma more) was hard enough.
At least Da understood my confusion. He also had the good sense to warn me not to talk to anyone about my thoughts for fear of my getting hurt. But I couldn’t stop, for the Mission wasn’t done. At first I thought maybe it was, for now that people saw the danger, they would help the other people.
To my amazement, the people instead were sending aid to the richest city in the world instead of the poorest. Why on Earth would NYC need food to be brought in? Could not the grocery stores donate their wares and be subsidized by the government?
The few that realized that I had seen the future didn’t do much more than remark on how eerily right I was instead of defending the humans in Afghanistan. Never had I felt so frustrated. I missed the Trade Centers to be sure. I had been in them a few times and knew people there, but I wasn’t even allowed to feel sad for them because all my concentration was directed towards a far more distressing situation.
Drought-struck Afghanistan survived the past three winters by International Aid, but with US bombing, no one was able to do the annual drop off. If the bombing didn’t let up, then the food would not get there before snowfall. The original Mission reformed into something more urgent. Without aid, an estimated seven million people could die. Seven million people! Why wasn’t the US stopping?
They couldn’t really let all those people die because of what had happened to the people here, could they? It seemed that they very well could.
Desperate, the Afghan Women’s League and RAWA, an underground rebel group of women in Afghanistan made plea after plea to send in aid. Aid was piling up on the borders with no where to go and winter was setting it. Like a stroke of a miracle, Evergreen Aviation donated a 747 to our cause and Microsoft paid for the fuel. Now we had to fill
it by December 11th. I was still begging around campus for help and even went to a war forum to speak.
It was horrible.
Why were they talking about WWII and calling each other socialists? What did that have to do with anything? Couldn’t they see the 7 million lives hanging in the balance? Aside from Beanie, the most intelligent wonder, I was alone on my crusade to fill the cargo plane and bought 60 lbs of winter clothing out of my own pocket. Along the way I found people that did understand after all, but were afraid to speak in the hostile climate. This heartened me. It wasn’t that they were blind, but rather afraid. Or at least I hoped that was what it meant.
It is at this point that I would like to thank the postman who helped me mail it all to Oregon. The cost was well over $100
and I never would have been able to afford it had he not stuck a pamphlet in each box and declared it media mail. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as media mail, but apparently if you are sending paper or books, you can get charged a fraction of the price. It doesn’t make much sense but then again nothing does.
The plane made it to Afghanistan after being delayed three times by mid January. I never found out if my clothing made it to the humans but I hope it did. Slowly and painfully, the main population realized Afghanistan’s plight and the situation ceased to be obscure. At least for now, the humans could fix their own problem, which was what I wanted in the first place. I was more than happy to leave the political scene. I was only there for the same reason someone pulls a person from a burning vehicle.
It’s just what you are supposed to do.
You are all tagged because you are all humans on this planet. What is happening in Egypt now effects all of you. When Egypt goes democratic, US policy will be forced to change in the middle east. Oil will become more expensive and we will be further forced onto clean energy. Other repressed nations will gain their freedom via example and possibly gain economic power. I believe Iraq would have been part of this wave had we let it be. The Palestinian state may become a reality. Muslim extremists will lose power and those under it’s thrall will raise up.
This is the fight for all people.
This is the future of the world.
I believe it is your duty to help it unfold, if only by being aware.
Thank you for your time,
Alexandra Brody SalazarI was too young to understand of this stuff surrounding the 911 plane disaster when I was little. Or, more accurately– my parents made sure I knew the truth of what was going on, but I couldn’t understand what hysteria was. I would hear my little kid classmates saying they should kill all the Afghans because they’d heard it from their incensed, uninformed parents. And I’d call them hateful little savages (because I did that kind of thing back then), and be called a dirty Mexican jew communist (it all makes sense to little kids) who doesn’t understand anything back, because their parents are always right and I am dumb.There was a whole generation raised like this. The misinformation was–and is– gross.
It’s why I want to be a journalist or go into media and journalism. Horrible red tape and stupid things stop the media from covering issues, and people are led to distrust newspapers and news shows by other newspapers and news shows, etc. Of course nobody has the information. Nobody’s getting it.
It’ll be a terrible life, but it’s what I have got to do. You’re inspiring, Anie. Never give up on this sort of thing. Earth needs you. I’ll try to follow suit.February 2, 2011 at 2:17pm · Like
Anie Knipping Dude, but that’s the whole point! The red tape is being circumvented by technology! Those who do not want the information will continue to shun it, but those of us who do, the majority, now has access. I’m not alone. You aren’t alone. We are no longer separated, but a unified force, all of us.
That is why this is the future!
Balance is being restored.February 2, 2011 at 2:28pm · Like
Sutton LaurusI remember you during my first semester at MSU and how much this affected you. And I’m moved that you felt comfortable telling me your thoughts on Afghanistan at the time in spite of what your father told you.Very well said, very well-written, and you have created one more pamphlet for the righteous screed of anti-tribalism, unfettered by the tyranny of censorial luddites.