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Commemorating in Heavy Fog

Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured Views: 1893
1893

Very little can be seen of where one is going, less still of where one has been. The thick dark blanket of fog seems to have robbed our very confidence and the ability to think objectively. The broken white line that snakes in the darkness may help us find our way. This is a simple two step process. Firstly, a "retrospective look" at our reactions during last year to what is now popularly known as nine eleven. Secondly, a "moment's pause" before reacting to the anniversary commemorations. Before taking stock of past and present, let us make yet another record of sincere condolence and sympathies for the tragedy.

When the nine eleven tragedy took place, invariably all Muslim institutions and their leaders (rightfully) recorded sadness, shock and such sentiments. Many mosques, schools, businesses, web sites, not to mention some homes and cars displayed their camaraderie by hoisting American flags, banners, bumper stickers and everything else that mass-merchants churned out their factories. Not one but many Friday sermons were dedicated to this tragic event. Our entire ethnic media reworked its content. Public and familial dinner discourse began and ended with the talk of nine eleven. And all of this is but a tip of the emotional fervor with no precedence.

Some of the self proclaimed modern shuyookh consistently preaching all along that ... "America is essentially evil" had a sudden change of heart. Their new mantra is "we must redress the way we have spoken about others." This maturity of thought is welcomed but immaturity of character cannot be ignored.  Discourse in regional conferences and national conventions of Muslims continue to revolve around nine eleven. Mainstream media are conveniently promoting "surfer turned moderate Muslim cleric," thus fanning the divide of so-called moderates and radicals. An excerpt from a west coast Muslim community calendar demonstrates the passions filtered down from the national psyche of Muslims in America.

  • A Day of Unity and Prayer to Remember the Victims of 9/11
  • From Tragedy to Transformation: Moving forward after 9/11
  • Call to 9/11 Unity Fund
  • Muslims to hold 9/11 Vigil

The tragedy of nine eleven cannot be undermined. But a compelling and bothering question remains un-addressed and thus un-answered. No one has ever heard of an anniversary of any other tragedy, let alone tragedies far bigger in size by virtue of sheer loss of life, not to mention other miseries that come along with tragedies.

  • Genocide of Bosnia (over 300,000 Muslims massacred, including 14,000 children. 3 Million Muslims subjected to "ethnic cleansing", and became refugees, having lost all that they had, including, in many cases, their dignity and honor. (Impact International, Sep-Oct 1992).
  • Massacre in Sabra & Shatilla (Red Cross records 2,750 killed during Sep 16-18, 1982 - although the real figure is thought to be much higher and may never be known).
  • Ongoing genocide in Kashmir (82,826 dead; 101,426 children orphaned; 8,552 women raped; 20,586 women widowed; 103,333 houses/shops burnt (Crescent International, Aug 16-31, 2002).
  • Starving & dying children in Iraq (500,000 children under five years of age are already dead. A child is dying every five minutes).
  • Human rights groups put the toll from the riots in Gujrat, India at more than 2,000 (Times of India, Aug 22, 2002).
  • Approximately 800,000 people were killed during the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

One may not even remember who was Jamal Durrah, or when did a bomb destroyed the pharmaceutical plant in Sudan, or how many Muslims were shot and killed while praying, by Baruch Goldstein? Over-victimization of one tragedy and under or none of another is an ethical disparity which is hard to reconcile. The persistence of memory stratification is unacceptable by any standard. Selective memory behavior is largely unnoticed, unremarked and unconsciously accommodated. Selective memory is a crime that does not deserve a trial but should head straight to the gallows.

Everyone is conditioned to behave and are made to shed tears without due knowledge of the crime perpetrated by whom and why. No conclusive evidence is presented to anyone but we are made to remember a drop of sorrowful tragedy in the ocean of forgotten tragedies. More had been done to others, more had been taken from others than one could consciously reckon.

Airwaves, press, school systems, colleges and universities are all overwhelmingly preoccupied and reminding everyone to remember and commemorate. It sounds nothing less than obnoxious when the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that "the post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among Americans is 3 times higher than the national average." This analysis is based on a (web) survey of a mere 2,273 citizens out of 288 million living souls in America. JAMA insults even more by adding that "these post-traumatic stressed out victims also include those who witnessed the event on television and were not anywhere close to the ground zero."

From the full basket of many mean yesterdays one wonders about the post-traumatic stress of the wife's, mother's, daughter's and sister's of the 8,000 men who were massacred in cold blood during another ugly day in the city of Srebrenica, Bosnia. Let us not strip our memories naked ... let us remember to remember the many mean yesterdays, not just nine eleven.


  Category: Faith & Spirituality, Featured
Views: 1893
 
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Older Comments:
AHMAD FROM U.S. said:
Asalaam Alaikum.
Bro. Shakeel brings up some very good and valid points. He does NOT belittle or excuse 9-ll in any way. In fact he says Muslim leaders, institutions, etc. all RIGHTLY condemened the actions of 9-11, BUT he then brings a question into our minds. He asks why very often we don't even mention, let alone comemorate on the scale 9-11, other injustices. Many people have responded and said that the U.S. stands for liberty, justice, and other ideals. Yes, that's true. That is what bro. Shakeel is bringing up. Liberty and justice for ALL. Not a just a few. I count bro. Shakeel as a true American patriot. He is not posting a flag onto his car's bumper. He is contributing to the freedoms of this country by criticizing. Which is more healthy for liberty and justice? Blind, unquestioning acceptance of what we are fed by the media? Or is it better for ours, as well as the worlds liberty and justice to educate ourselves to be objective, and to see the larger picture. That larger picture shows us that MANY other people have have been oppressed or killed than just the 9-11 people. Much of that oppression stems from our U.S. govts. policies(Palestine,Iraq, etc.)

And as to Abdul Malik and others that have said that 9-11 is what Americans remember and Rwandan genocide is what Rwandans remember. Do you understand the concept of the UMMAH? In Islam there is no such thing as nationalism, or any other type of "ism." When one part of our ummah is hurt, be it in the U.S., Egypt, Bosnia or any other place, then the WHOLE ummah should feel the pain.
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YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Speaking of adversaries - I have also been in error not to thank the author for contributing their hightly relevant opinion. Jazak Allah (my thanks to God - for your presence among us). When my country (America) receives no clear arguments on behalf of the wronged, we would surely seem to be at risk of promoting and inflicting additional wrong and hardships upon them and others like them.

"When you see an evil act you have to stop it with your hand. If you can't, then at least speak out against it with your tongue. If you can't, then at least you have to hate it with all your heart. And this is the weakest of faith." - Prophet Mohammed (Sahih Muslim, Book 1, Number 79:)

As for myself, I would say the U.S. Constitution mandates that the U.S. must never partner itself with God. (PLEASE bear with me for just another moment! Jazak Allah!) Whether or not you yourselves might subscribe to that theory, for Muslim Americans (like myself) I would say we must insure that our non-religious form of government obeys its own Constitution's promise to remain in obedience to God (while not acting so as to partner itself with religious authorities).

I am not attempting to offend proponents of Islamic governments - it seems the British people have a state religion, therefore the British could rightfully become the subjects of an Islamic state. (Go ahead - just think about that a little bit - whether or not you would favor such an event.) I am merely trying to explain my own predicament as a Muslim American.

Allah is God, alone and without partner. Praise be to God, alone. God alone is worthy of praise.<
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YAHYA BERGUM FROM USA said:
Please let me address an omission on my part: Mujahedin volunteers assisted Bosnians in defending themselves. Some gave their lives in doing so - Alhamd'Lillah (I sincerely offer my praise to God for them and for their sacrifices for the cause of Allah).

I am assuming their work in Bosnia included involvement by Taliban members. It is wrong of me to ignore the good works of my adversaries. In this manner I believe I have been in error (in my earlier comment about this article). I ask God to forgive me for this oversight and other such oversights I have recently committed.
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MIKE FROM USA said:
In response to Madmax:
1) I re-read the article and still find the author irresponsible. He posted this article on Sep. 11th and used the 3 concluding paragraphs to say: "the sorrow is conditioned, I'm tired of hearing about it and worse things have happened."
2) The Sep. 11th murderers chose symbols of US finance and military, not actual military targets. I believe they attacked this country for what the US represented to them: a country of flawed individuals.
3) I don't think the people of this country are any better or worse than the rest of the world, but I do believe that the founding principles of the USA are a symbol for the entire world. The founding fathers were a group of rich men that chose to start a country based on the idea that all people deserve dignity and respect, freedom to speak and worship, when they could have easily tried to create another financial empire. There is documented evidence that these men committed sins of adultery, slavery, etc. The fact that these flawed people chose such a framework makes this event even more miraculous. The people of this country have made plenty of mistakes - that is what the Sep. 11 murderers would like to focus on - but this country represents more than that.
4) Read the aptly titled "The messengers from Hell". Plenty of attitude needed for the road to Hell. In the article are listed places where US soldiers risked life and limb for people of other countries. They weren't there for loot or threat of punishment, but mostly because they believed in the principles that this country was founded on. To be certain, this country made mistakes in each place and atrocities were committed, but you have to give Hitler, Stalin, Sadam Hussien, etc. their due credit.
5) If that is what tune my President is singing, I don't mind singing along. These principles don't belong to us, they come from the Quran, Bible and the lessons of human history. Re-read your Mark Twain quote, it is the same message.
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AISHANOOR FROM CANADA said:
Interesting that the article mentions the rape of Kashmiri women, but not the rape of Bosnian women. Is it because the struggle in Kashmir is still going on, and we need to make the Indians look as bad as possible, while the Bosnian war is over and we can forget about all the rape survivors and children born of rape over there?
When the Kashmiri struggle becomes a thing of the past, will we cease to talk about the number of women raped by Indian troops?

This poses an uncomfortable question: do we really care about the victims of any of these massacres, ethnic cleansings or wars, or just about making ourselves look more victimized than post 9/11 non-Muslim Americans? If we really care, what are we doing about it?
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YAHYA BERGUM FROM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA said:
The U.S. stopped the "Genocide of Bosnia" by killing Serbs - should we have bombed Rwanda and India? With regard to this particular article, I think the author is chasing their own tail (for example, like a family pet might do for amusement).

Also, I am tired of all the Islamic "Apologetics" surrounding 9/11. I do not believe that evil deserves any defense by the virtuous.

God help those who we wrong. God help us to see. God shelter us from accursed Satan's regime.

God alone is worthy of worship.
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KASIM KOPUZ FROM USA said:
Assalamu Alaykum,
I also agree with my brother Abdul Malik's comment. It is a fact that Muslims live in America benefiting from the freedom that is given to us to practice Islam, in many ways, much more freely than most of the Muslim countires, and earning and eating our bread and water in this society with fellow Americans who were attacked on Spetember 11 in a tragic way that Islam never and never approves and strongly condemns. Is it Islamic ethic that you live in a society, earn your bread and water together, but when your society was attacked you stay silent?
You are right that many tragedies that have fallen upon Muslims in our century and still have been falling upon us are not remembered publicly. Whose falt is this? When our national organizations arranged rallies and demonstrations against atrociteis in Palestine, Kashmir, Bosnia, and Kosova how many of us who live in america particpated in those civil act of protest and resistance? Overwhelming majority of America is united and showing their unity against terror attack to their country. Did owerwhelming majority of Muslims in America united and showed their unity in public against the injustices that you have very rightly counted in yor article? I have seen that when our active Muslim brothers print the news of injustices that are done upon Muslims in Islamic Newspapers, such as Mirror or Muslim Observer, and try to distribute the newspaper to the Muslims many of our Muslim brothers does not bother to read and learn what is happeining to Muslims, and some even argues against Islamic newspapers saying that those newspapers are spreading "sansational news". So, we don't unite for our causes, we don't participate in rallies, peaceful demonstrations, writing to our representatives to support our causes, we don't support Islamic newspapers that serves our causes, we don't have TV stations talk shows supporting our causes, but we expect others to act and serve for our causes. May Allah guide us all.
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AMINA said:
I whole-heartedly agree with Abdul Malik and Mike. The author of this article should be ashamed of himself. People like you are driving me insane from frustration.

How completely hypocritical! I noticed in complaining about commemorating one atrocity over another -- you ONLY list Muslim tragedies as those also needing acknowledgement. I see no mention of Isreali or Kurdish massacres committed by Muslims on your list. Muslims are constantly saying "we need to be concerned over violence against ALL innocents" but then only mention Muslims in their next breath.

It makes absolute perfect sense that Americans would commemorate American loss.

You are one of many reasons why Islam is in such dire straights -- a fact that is breaking my heart. You make us look bad. And much worse, you give other Muslims reasons to not get their act together and do their part to prevent further acts of horror.
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PHILIP FROM USA said:
Shakeel Syed's article is just another condemnation of the USA. The only message that was delivered is that America is solely concerned about it's own interests whether home or abroad.

The opening statements of condolences and sympathy for the people who suffered this EVIL act is nothing more than window dressing. It's no secret that much of the Muslim population was happy to see such an act of sheer horror perpetrated against this country. GOOD, now they know what it feels like to be a victim is the real sentiment in the Ummah.

The problem is that if you were REALLY Muslims in your heart, there would only be love not hatred.

It's time to stop blaming America for the failure of Muslim rulers to govern it's people justly.

It's time to stop blaming America for the high rate of illiteracy in the Middle East.

It's time to stop emmigrating to America (The Shaytan) where your goal is to accumulate the Shaytan's money.

It's time to fly planes into the palaces of the Shaytans of your own country like your beloved brother Sadaam Hussein, who has slaughtered millions of his fellow Muslim brothers and sisters.

It's time to stop thinking along 1000 year old TRIBAL lines and time to fit in with the 21st century.

It's time for Muslims to educate their people about love, not HATE!
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MADMAX FROM MOROCCO said:
Assalum Aleikum brother Abdul Malik, I do not think that anyone is seeking anything from "others" as you stated, and I trust as you said because the author is very well aware, probably more than you and me of the lack of support of Muslims by the Muslims. It is undeniably true that it is becoming an undesirable habit to blame the rest of the world for the problems that we normally can take care of ourselves, and we will Inch Allah, in one big condition, NO ONE from "outside" should be involved. You said that you are an American, then as a citizen you have the right to get involved in your government foreign affairs not just the interior affairs, ask yourself why nine to ten millions dollars PER DAY are being used to kill. rape and despoil the people of Palestine, why billions of your tax money are being used to "control" the planet. Your government is about to commit a national suicide by getting involved too much, a way too much. Napoleon Bonaparte and Adolf Hilter did not know when to stop either.

As for the kings and dictators that are ruling our nations I wholeheartedly agree with you and we are all aware of the waste of our God given wealth, and of the sins committed by each one us. Consider all these as punishment from Allah, for the last hundred years we have been doing exactly the opposite of what our noble Legislator and Prophet (PBUH) taught us. But Allah Knows best.May peace be upon you and yours.
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VICTORIA ZAPER FROM UNITED STATES OF AMERICA said:
Sir: After reading your letter, I started adding tragedies to your list:
The thousands of Syrians murdered in Hama, Syria.
The thousands of Kurds murdered by Sadaam Hussein.
The Copts murdered in Egypt.
The Christians murdered in Pakistan and other Muslim countries.
The Jewish citizens of Arab countries murdered in 1947-48.
The murder of thousands of Armenians.
This list could go on and on and on.
My problem is that your list is very exclusive. Had you included any one of the examples in my list,I could find respect for your premise. As it is, you seem to be following the "blame game" practice of pointing out the tragedies caused by the usual "bad guys"(U.S., Israel, India, the West, etc.) and completely ignoring the tragedies and injustices caused by countries or people who happen to be Muslim.

We commemorate September 11 because the tragedy happened in America. I am sure the Muslims of Bosnia honor and mourn their dead each year, just as the Palestinians remember in some way Sabra and Shatilla...and so they should! Our commemoration of September 11 does not mean that Americans think this is the ONLY tragedy or the most tragic. It also does not mean that Americans are indifferent to the sufferings of others around the world. You state in the other version of your letter posted in Albalagh that: "The tragedy of nine eleven cannot be undermined. But.." and then you proceed to undermine it by taking a subtle swipe at America. I should not be surprised but it is still terribly sad, especially coming from someone who lives in America. On September 11, we honor all those who died. We will not differentiate betweeen the Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhist, Hindu and atheists. The religious beliefs of the victims will not matter to us. We will not keep score.They were Americans and our friends from countries all over the world. They were human beings. That's all that matters.
Victoria Zaper
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ALEX ISA FROM USA said:
K2, Mike & Malik,

Please read the article again. Nowhere does it say that we should not commemorate Sep 11. It is only asking the reader to keep an open mind and as we commemorate this event let us remember all tragedies where innocent people have lost their lives.

Let us promote our values of freedom, liberty and justice to all of humanity.
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MADMAX -2 FROM MOROCCO said:
.../... Cont'd
Mike wrote "....but because I believe in the principles that the USA was founded on and that the hatred behind the Sept. 11 murders was an attack on those principles.".
Then you are making your president soooo happy by singing the same tune "...because they hate our freedom and tutti frutti...". In this case the attackers certainly have no brains, attacking a country because of its principle and freedom, boy! then why attack a giant and powerful free country when it is much easier to attack a smaller country, let's take a pick, Switzerland, Luxemburg, Denmark, hey! they are free countries too, and with similar principles, probably even with more honorable ones. Enough of my ranting, I'll let a great American writer finish my comments for me.

"In the public schools we teach our children to salute the flag, and this is
our idea of instilling in them patriotism. And this so-called patriotism we
mistake for citizenship; but if there is a stain on that flag it ought not
to be honored, even if it is our flag. The true citizenship is to protect
the flag from dishonor -- to make it the emblem of a nation that is known to
all nations as true and honest and honorable. And we should forever forget
that old phrase -- 'My country, right or wrong, my country!'" - Mark Twain

My sincere condolences to all suffering Human Beings - Madmax
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MADMAX -1 FROM MOROCCO said:
Mr. Dino and Mr. Mike seem to be missing the point of this article.
Dino wrote "The central question seems to be why are we commemorating 9/11 when all of these other tragedies go unmentioned" No sir, the point is that the losses of the 9-11 attack must to be commemorated. But starting from the fifth paragraph you have to understand that the rest of the article is addressed mainly not only to the Muslims in your country but to the Muslims around the world and especially to our so-called Muslim leaders. Not much noise and sincerity from them when it comes to Bosnia, Kashmir, Sabra & Shatilla (this one thanks to your boss Sharon), etc... Because make no mistake the "American 9-11" is commemorated even by our Muslim "leaders" Re-peruse the article and hopefully you'll get the point this time.
Continue .../...
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K2 FROM USA said:
I strongly agree with my brother Abdul Malik's comments. Very well said.
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SHAH HAMDANI FROM USA said:
Al Humdo Lillah, Yes I agree whole heartly with your statments that 9/11 is being over stated has isreali casualities have been compared to the Palestinians that are kill,disgraced, and dehumanized every day. 9/11 has become nothing more then a ploy in the media propaganda to justify killing more inocent lives in the "war on terrorism" which I am sure many more have tied because of the US use of brute force in Afganistan without regard to the "collateral damage". This terribler event is now being used to raise emtions and justify attack Iraq and killing already suffering Iraqis. Yes, 9/11 was a bad event in world history, but was not the worst and does not give the World SuperPower a blank check to go and reshape the World Leadership to its liking. Especially in the " anti-US " parts on the Islamic World which the US has always worked to undermine - i.e. that is how Saddam got to where he is today, by playing yes man to US desire to destroy the Independant Nation of Iran. May Allah give the Muslim Ummah strength to stand against this new crusade against Islam and unite us. AMEEN, Jazak Allah
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MIKE FROM USA said:
I am disappointed to read this article, basically asking on this day why people living in the USA should see Sept. 11th as unique but not similarly acknowledge other atrocities that have happened in recent history. A simple answer is that the World Trade Center murders were apparently planned as an act of hatred and were not even committed in response to any one act. The other examples given: Bosnia, Kashmir, etc. were typically part of a long series of violent acts committed by both sides of the conflict in those areas.

As a Christian I often visit www.islam.org to get a perspective that I don't get from TV or local newspapers. I often read viewpoints here that stir my anger but I realize that these ideas come from weakness on the part of the author, and do not come from a true understanding of Islam. This is one of many articles that begins to describe the evil that occurred during the Sept. 11th murders, then tries to play it down by distraction, "There have been other murders in the past...", belittling the mourning of people, and even with cynicism about the patriotic acts of people that responded to this event. I bought a piece of plastic (USA flag bumper sticker) that was churned out by a mass-merchant factory not because I saw my neighbor buy one, but because I believe in the principles that the USA was founded on and that the hatred behind the Sept. 11 murders was an attack on those principles.

In this country you have the right to express whatever opinion you wish but are fully responsible for the effects. If you truly wish to see less evil in the world clearly state the evil that occurred on Sept. 11th. Acknowledge that young Muslims were brainwashed into believing that a group of people created by God should be killed, and that this had something to do with pleasing God. To dilute, excuse, or distract from the evil of this act is to show tolerance for this act. A responsible person cannot pretend there is heavy fog surrounding Sept.
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ABDUL MALIK FROM US said:
As-salaamu alaikum

I am an African-American Muslim, alhamdulillah, and I am frankly tired of the "crying" state of the muslims such as yourself.
Why should non-Muslims plead or commemorate the cause of the muslims? Why should anyone other than the muslims care about the death toll and mis-treatment of Muslims around the worl? It makes very little sense if any. This concept of "others" caring is equal to asking the kufar for donations to build a masjid. Sensless.
Let's learn to tell the truth, even when it's against our ownselves.

You are essentially seeking from "others" because you are aware of the lack of support rendered by the muslims to the muslims. May Allah help us!

With the billions that Saudi and the United Arabs Emirates has, there armies should be up-to-date and challenging at least. Instead, they invest in there own desires and dwell in castles.

The children of Iraq are dying because its leader, who is a greater enemy to Islam than anyone else. The US did not attack Kuwait, Saddam did! The US did attack it's own people and released death-gases upon them, Saddam did but, we are affraid to call ourselves to account.

Saddam has recently completed the construction of a memorable structer. A masjid, that commemorates the Gulf War! Hundreds of Billions of dollars. Can you imagine the number of children who could have been fed.
He also had a Quran written in his own blood and hosued it in this masjid.

Let's learn to call ourselves to account before Allah, Azza-wa-Jal, hold us accountable on the Day of Judgement.

In quoting Malcolm X after being asked by a child, why does the cowboys always beet the indians... "...when the Indiian begin to make there own movies, they'll win ..."

In closing, if we want to be remembered, commermorated, or celebrated, let's expect do it amongts ourselves and feel disapointed when the kufar does otherwise!

Was-salaamu alaikum
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DINO DEMARS FROM CUBA said:
The central question seems to be why are we commemorating 9/11 when all of these other tragedies go unmentioned. I guess the simple answer is that, if you're an American, then 9/11 happened 'here'. I'm sure the people of Rwanda aren't having 9/11 services, but they're welcome to commemorate the tragedies of their own country in their own way. In the same way that Americans remember the bombing of Pearl Harbour, they will always commemorate 9/11.
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