In the past, I have written a handful of essays and articles about 9/11 and its impact on the Muslim American community. What I have not done is written about it as an American. In the wake of 9/11 and the heinous attacks committed by Islamic extremists over the years, my voice as an American was silenced. My right to an opinion on anything seemed to depend on my religious upbringing as if people could see nothing else. This is me remedying that.
I think we have an obsession with wanting people to know we remember. I was afraid to say this before because I know some asshole is going to come at me with the Muslim card saying some dumb racist crap, but fuck it.
Don't get me wrong, it's healthy to remember events like 9/11 but I don't think it's healthy for us to keep reliving it each year. We remember the fallen, the first responders and on this day each year, we should keep them in our thoughts and remember their bravery. But 16 years after September 11, we need to ask ourselves, what has this annual remembrance morphed into?
I read an article on Yahoo! some years back in which the commenters were using 9/11 anniversaries to reignite their hate for Muslims. In the same article, I saw a comment by a 9/11 survivor who talked about her dread whenever September 11 rolled around. She was immobilized; didn't want to leave the house or go online the week before or after because all people would talk about was the one day she was trying hard to forget but knew she never would.
I don't know about you but I don't need a bumper sticker or a sign that says "We will never forget," to make me never forget. I'm perfectly capable of not forgetting on my own. We all are.
We might also want to take a hard look at the words we use. Anniversary? Seriously? This isn't a happy marriage we're celebrating. We're not celebrating at all. We are mourning. My hope is for 9/11 to become a 2/15 or 3/1...just another date in a calendar not because we should forget it, but because we need to carry on. Aren't we the ones always saying "Stop living in the past?"
Why do we continue to torture ourselves?
It may seem harsh but over a decade later remembering something horrific seems like a sadistic ritual to torture the survivors and general public alike than it is commemorating how resilient we are and sending our love to the people we lost and their families.
We are saddened. We are resilient. We are in the present.
So why are we still living in the past?
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