Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Tenth Anniversary of 9/11; Help the First Responders

with 2 comments

Folks, today is the tenth anniversary of 9/11/01, one of the most shocking and horrific things in United States history.  Due to the attacks on that day, the US “lost our innocence” regarding international terrorism.  Though other, terrible attacks had occurred, most especially to the USS Cole and a previous attack in 1993 against the World Trade Center, most American citizens felt like our country could not and would not be attacked.

We were tragically wrong.

Last year, I wrote a blog about 9/11, which is posted here.   In many ways, I cannot improve upon this; even though a lot has changed in a year, many of the same problems are still with us.

So instead, I’ve decided to focus on the biggest remaining problem from that fateful day: our lack of help for the first responders — the firemen, policemen, military people, and volunteers — who did their best to find surviving victims of the World Trade Center bombing, then did their best again to help clean the place up and restore it, in the process finding many of the dead who did not survive that fateful day.

I’m tired of our current crop of politicians doing nothing about this important issue.  Instead, I wish our politicians would act more like President Barack Obama, and past Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, have acted in the past few days.  These men have been statesmen, and have publicly discussed the need for medical and financial help for the first responders  — many of whom still need help and perhaps always will — because what they were doing in trying to rescue people trapped in the wreckage of the Twin Towers was inordinately stressful.  These first responders were exposed to goodness-knows-what toxic substances, and that some of them have not been able to get help for the medical conditions they incurred is plain, flat wrong.

Note that Hillary Clinton, when she was still a United States Senator, urged the Congress to act and they did, but it wasn’t enough.  She now is our Secretary of State, and for the most part cannot take active part in asking for more help to be given to those who gave of their time and effort on 9/11/01 and afterward.  And while she’s been an outstanding Secretary of State, I wish that she was still able to call more attention to this issue as it needs to be done.

Aside from her, Representative Peter King (R-NY) and, of all people, comedian and political commentator Jon Stewart (he of Comedy Central’s The Daily Show fame) have been the most vocal and active people in the public eye who have demanded help for the first responders.  Good for them; they know many of those first responders ended up with chronic medical problems due to their help on and directly after the 9/11 terror attacks, and they know it’s absolutely disgraceful that these people have had to fight for whatever little bit of help they can get since that awful day.

We must help all of those who need it who helped find victims after the Twin Towers were destroyed.  If we do not, the legacy of 9/11/01, which is already distressing enough, will become that much worse.  Refusing to help these people is shameful.

2 Responses

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  1. And on the NON political side, I wish some of these people, primarily the ultra conservatives, would stop putting ALL of one kind of people into the same category… I swear that they brand ALL Muslim people as terrorists. And they’re not, and because they claim to have “read the Koran”, to which I highly doubt if they understand the gravity of it all, knows about the fact that studying the Koran as an uneducated person about the life and culture of those who practice the religion and making assumptions is just as much being into mysticism and naive folklore as the early Christians who learned to read the Bible w/o the leadership of a minister.


    September 12, 2011 at 12:39 pm

    • Agreed, Lika. Reading a holy book of any sort without understanding the history and the logistics around that book is ridiculous. Most Bible studies groups worth their salt talk about the politics, the “map” of that time (the countries, the situation, etc.), and the differences in language (learned men talked in parables, which is why Jesus used so many of them) because otherwise, much of the Bible’s message would be lost.

      I believe it is the same with the Koran (Qu’ran would be a closer transliteration, but they both sound the same; it’s like all the different ways you can spell Qaddafi — Khadafy, Ghadafi, etc. — because the Arabic transliterates into all these different English letters but sounds exactly the same.) and that you need to understand what was going on before you can have any comprehension of what Mohammad did that was so groundbreaking. Mohammad’s tenets treated women better, treated slaves better, treated servants better — because if you didn’t do so, you were basically showing yourself to be a weak-willed person, someone who didn’t really understand how to get closer to Allah (God). But if you look at them now — just as if we look at Early Christianity now — they look regressive and harsh, which doesn’t tell the truth at all and leaves a whole lot of historical context flat out of the equation.

      My late husband studied the Qu’ran far more than I have, though I have read it and understand much of it in historical context, because he liked the Sufis (the mystical branch of Islam, who often have been as hounded as those who practiced Earth-based religions we’d now call some brand of Wicca were treated in the 16th, 17th, and even into the 18th centuries, and as misunderstood). There’s a great deal to like about the Qu’ran. There’s some powerful imagery in there, some really good things about how to feel empowered, how to get closer to God by better spiritual practice (if you think more of yourself, you should treat others better; if you treat others better, you should think more of yourself. It’s a tautology that works.), and many poetic words and phrases. It is not a surprise, at all, that the first truly literate society out of the Medieval era into the Renaissance was Arabic (by this, I mean that the whole society valued math, and early attempts at science, and poetry, and the spoken word, as well as spirituality); what is a bit of a surprise is the rise of fundamentalism and how long that fundamentalist strain has had a hold on Islam (in the 14th century, I think it was, the Muslims were ascendant over much of Europe, but within a century and a half, they were turned back — and I blame a lot of that on fundamentalism and forgetting to be inclusive, as the earliest Muslims were much easier on subject/captive people than the later ones in places like Spain).

      There are some very modern women, who do not wear head scarves, who are in what we’d call the “reform branch” of Islam, and some very modern men, too — I believe Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota is one of those. They see the benefits of their religion as well as the drawbacks, the same way any Christian or NeoPagan sees the benefits and drawbacks of his/her chosen faith, and are able to more compassionately deal with the world because they understand both.

      Barb Caffrey

      September 12, 2011 at 7:14 pm

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