Black, Muslim, American Post-9/11

>> Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten years later, as media outlets do their best to ensure the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 are not forgotten, today is truly an opportunity for soul-searching as individuals, families, communities, nation-states and as lifeforms of Planet Earth.

First I wish to extend my condolences to all those who lost family and friends on 9/11. There is nothing I could ever say to fill such a loss. 9/11 was a horrible act of mass murder. Reading about the lives of those killed both saddens me, and brings inspiration as many were living amazing lives, and the families have found fascinating ways to preserve their memories. I can only imagine the feelings of pain, anger and anxiety you must feel. If any consolation, you are in my thoughts and prayers.

A month before 9/11, I'd traveled to New York. I spent most of my time in Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx, but took the subway downtown to visit the Statue of Liberty. I didn't visit the Twin Towers, but I remember how they towered above the Manhattan skyline. Quite symbolic for the Empire State's capitol.

Video by Brian Bezalel.

At the time, I was working full-time at MetroOne Telecommunications' Alameda call center. I ended up being on court probation just days before, so I was no longer able to enter the Air Force as Pararescueman. I was quite upset and spent much of the night drinking and smoking with folks.

My friend Donnie called me and woke me up that morning around 8 a.m. "Yo, are you watching this?" he asked. "What you talking 'bout? I'm sleep." I respond. "Blood, turn on the TV." I turned on FOX.

Life hasn't been the same since.

Source: Rabbit's Fav Pictures

My television set showed the smoldering south Tower live. "What the f--- happened?" I asked. "This is off the hook. A plane like flew into the building." Soon after, another plane hit. And then the towers came tumbling down. Although what I saw was certainly frightening, I was never scared. Maybe being in California and not knowing anyone directly effected made it so surreal that it didn't hit me. It was only the aftermath that made it real.

Patriotism, before and after 9/11
Jamaican poet Mutabaruka, who walks the Earth barefooted, once joked, "I thank the Arab brothers, because before when I went to airport barefoot, dem security harass me. Now they let me go."

The same could be said for superficial race relations. On my August 2001 flight back from New York, I recall how a white woman–for no apparent reason–was so anxious to change seats and get away from me on my flight back to California. In fact, she sat between two fat ass dudes, all in the name of getting away from me. And this is not to mention the fear of the other woman on the flight to Chicago who also moved. To think, this was back when I was young, clean shaven and well-mannered (how times have changed).

But after 9/11, me–a Black 19-year-old high school dropout–was suddenly "American." I couldn't even get Financial Aid, but military recruiters would hound me.

In post-9/11 America, I recall the disparaging remarks towards Islam and Muslims. On my late 2001 flight to the South, I recall how a white man from Georgia pointed towards a Mexican, who "looked Arab," identifying him as "them." Me and him, on the otherhand, he said, were "Americans, and we have to stick together."

The sentiment of this contradiction I felt was best captured by J-Live in his song, "Satisfied."

J-Live "Satisfied"

The same devils that you used to love to hate
They got you so gassed and shook now, you scared to debate
The same ones that traded books for guns
Smuggled drugs for funds
And had fun lettin' off forty-one
But now it's all about NYPD caps
And Pentagon bumper stickers
But yo, you still a nigga
It ain't right them cops and them firemen died
The shit is real tragic, but it damn sure ain't magic
It won't make the brutality disappear
It won't pull equality from behind your ear

The hate that hate produced
As a Boston Globe columnist pointed out today, the legacy of 9/11 is American citizen's anger towards each other.

I remember hearing stories of harassment faced by Muslims in South Alameda County, where there's a large Afghan, Pakistan and Indian community in Fremont. My neighbors across the hall in the Buena Vistas were from Afghanistan. I can only imagine what they experienced.

I remember our Bay Area Congresswoman Barbara Lee boldly voting against Bush's use of force resolution. And the hate that was soon directed towards her.

"September 11 changed the world. Our deepest fears now haunt us," Lee said in a speech before the House. "Yet I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States."

Post-9/11 treatment of Muslims

Having embraced Islam three years after 9/11, I have to wonder when I would have come to this path. Had so much misinformation about Islam not come out, I may not have sought more information. Nonetheless, with the experience of being "Black in America" way before CNN cared, I was prepared to be a Muslim in post 9/11 U.S.A. and to understand Islamophobia's roots as a tool of rich elites to fool the public.

Before 9/11, police would identify me as a BMA, a Black Male Adult. Now, I'm Black, Muslim and American (Black according to the social construct of race; Muslim by faith, and American by political citizenship). Ironically, each of these identities still feel mutually exclusive. Among Black Americans, us Muslims are just 1-2% (although a rising population). Among Muslim Americans, Black folks have a history unlike any immigrant group, and still deal with the lingering effects of white supremacy. And too often, this is perpetuated among those who purport to hold the banner of Islam.

Until I left America, I never felt I was "American." And with so many claiming to need to "take back their country," and the death and destruction taking place across the world in the name of Red, White and Blue, I have trouble identifying with that now. I struggle to reconcile this continued alienation, this "double-consciousness" while simultaneously with the need to destroy this system's destructive nature and rebuild a new just, equitable, ecological system that will perpetuate life.

"Somebody Blew Up America" by Amiri Baraka

The 9/11 attacks were the "chickens" Malcolm once referred to. "Our freedom" was under attack, but not by terrorists. The freedom we seek is constantly under attack by those who rule America and seek to enslave the world. The jasiri "real gangsters." Maybe I've watched one too many 9/11 Conspiracy Documentaries, but I can't help to believe that there were elites who were aware of what took place. I do not buy the official 9/11 narrative. What did Bush know? And what about the 9/11 War Games and trillions missing from the Pentagon that Cynthia McKinney later grilled Donald Rumsfield about? Was 9/11 an inside job? Surely someone knows 9/11 was the biggest lie every sold, but they ain't telling.

Ten years later, as some think they're saver with the death of Osama, as Mos Def rapped, "Bin Laden didn't blow up the projects." The "terrorists" attacked the World Trade Center, Pentagon, they didn't try to blow up the Buena Vista Apartments. Sadly, the mass murder that occurred on 9/11 was exceeded by the perpetual violence enacted against the people of Afghanistan and Iraq, and countless lost lives of America's youth fighting for American imperialism.

Immortal Technique "Bin Laden"

In closing, as a flood of thoughts and ideas race to my brain reflecting on 9/11 and the decade since, those like myself who are skeptical about the "official" story are not conspiracy theory nut cases. "I don't trust America, after watching Zeitgeist," Lupe Fiasco said.

I wish to simply express respect to those who saved and comforted and others on that day. I can only hope to be so brave when disaster strikes.

I also mourn the loss of rights in this "democracy" due to the PATRIOT Act and other President Bush-era policies that President Obama has embraced. And as a monument is erected to remember those loss, I pray we will recognize the millions of Afghanis, Iraqis who've died. And we should also recognize that it is the millions of Africans and indigenous "First Americans" whose graves America imperialism rose upon. Will we remember them?

The lives of those lost on 9/11 should not be used to wage war against humanity. Only in an Orwellian police state does endless war equal peace.

My message of September 11, 2011:
Seek, save and serve a higher level of humanity.



Anonymous,  December 30, 2011 at 5:01 AM  

You can see and hear secondary explosions at the base of the World Trade Center Buildings. … The van was filled with explosives, and the two people in it were Israelis. … Within days all of these reports disappeared from the media. Dr. Alan Sabrosky on 9/11

Anonymous,  August 2, 2015 at 9:38 AM  

Many of non-Muslims are trying to distort Islam, the below link is an article about Islam to tell all people (especially non-Muslims) the truth about Islam.

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