Memorializing All the Victims of September 11, 2001

Boots of US military personnel who have died, some with flowers by them, messages of sadness and loss written on the sidewalk in colored chalk next to others;

shoes of Iraqi civilian children, women, and men who were killed by the US occupation forces;

a Torture Tent with the names of US officials who instituted the widespread US practice of torture and descriptions of methods of torture they approved; a painting relating institutionalized impoverishment and torture; theater about Iraqis forced to flee their homes and now war refugees; word art that decries the political use of the attacks of 9.11; and dance about US torture were parts of the World Can’t Wait’s event at City Hall park today to memorialize all the victims of September 11, 2001.

Debra Sweet speaking, Richie in orange jumpsuit

Debra Sweet, national head of the World Can’t Wait, reminded us that there are millions more victims of the events of that day beyond the few thousand who died in lower Manhattan just blocks from where we stood.

Playwright Kim Schultz was commissioned to go to Syria and Lebanon and Jordan to interview people who had to flee US bombs and fighting and the destruction of their cities and homes.  There are nearly four million of these displaced persons, some having seen their loved ones blown to pieces by US bullets and bombs before they fled for their own lives.  Kim’s play No Place Called Home is a one woman show of the encounters she had with some of these refugees.

No Place Called Home by Kim Schultz

As she was doing the dramatic reading, most of the group of passersby listened intently, but at one moment an angry man tried to drown out her voice by shouting words of hatred about Muslims as he passed.  Kim, remaining in character, paused briefly with dignity and then resumed when he passed on.  Here is a link to video of the performance.

Word artist speaker 4 the dead performed a Tenth Anniversay piece that connects all the dots of the things that have eventuated in this country due to the political use of the events to wage war abroad, torture, create a police state at home, bring economic hardship to many.  He highlights all the issues in this moving piece that you can listen to here and you can see the actual live performance at the event here.

Artist Brook McGowen‘s painting  Bloody Breakfast: Terrorism thrives under poverty, a powerful statement of that fact hung, near the Torture Tent.

With World Can’t Wait faithful Richie on his knees in an orange jumpsuit and a hood in the background, I danced part of I Do Not Resign Myself.

People  stopped to watch and then spoke to me afterward about how moved they were.  You can see one of the times I danced here.

There was a march down Broadway at some point in the afternoon of people from several of the organizations involved in protests of US policies since September 11, 2001, many of them speaking out against the racism directed at Muslims that has arisen.  Among those marchers were the indomitable Granny Peace Brigade, whose work is chronicled on this blog.  These women chain themselves to the doors of military recruiting stations in many cities to prevent our young women and men from enlisting in these illegal wars and suffering death of body and spirit.  The brave Grannies today tried to break out of the

cages created by metal police barriers in order to march down the middle of Broadway.  They did not succeed, but I was cheering them on.

Members of the Granny Peace Brigade singing for peace

We did our best today to remember the millions of victims of the events of 9/11, not just the three thousand killed in the Towers who were remembered at the “official” memorial a few blocks away.  We remember the soldiers who died or are maimed in body and mind from fighting illegal US wars, the millions of dead and displaced in Afghanistan and Iraq, the tortured and those held in extra judicial imprisonment without charge, the millions of homeless persons in the US, the millions without jobs, health care, good education, or hope, and all of us whose rights have been abrogated in this corporate war of terror.

I Do Not Resign Myself to all this death, destruction, and suffering around the world brought about by US actions and I will not be silent.

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