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What Have We Learned from September 11?
What have Americans learned from the tragedies of September 11, 2001? Following the murderous attacks on 911, it became fashionable, and not only outside the United States, to hear smug voices wonder whether Americans had learned their lessons and whether they would be wise enough to apply those lessons in the future.
Basically, the (self-serving) point seemed to be, that Americans should understand that they display(ed) the following traits: Americans are simple-minded, they are stupid, they are unsophisticated, they are reactionary, they are egoistical, they are greedy, they are arrogant, they are imperialistic, they are war-mongering, they are treacherous, and they are the reason for most of the world's problems of the past 60 years.
(Please don't let anyone tell you that it is only American leaders that should be so qualified. If George W Bush et al are in power, and if he truly is the villain he is depicted as, then it can only mean that the American people (or the majority of them) are (criminally?) thoughtless and oblivious of the rest of the world, and this, in fact, ties perfectly in with the ugly statement that America deserved 911, meaning that the 3,000 people who were murdered that day got their just rewards.)
So, did Americans learn anything?
Let's see… If Americans learned any lessons, let's see what they learned…
On that day three years ago, Americans learned that they had uncommon valor
On that day three years ago, Americans learned that they were smart and intelligent
On that day three years ago, Americans learned that they are supportive of their fellow human beings and that they are generous
On that day three years ago, Americans learned they possessed heroic qualities
On that day three years ago, Americans learned they were resilient and innovative and they refused to be (or to remain) devastated and by the events and cowed by an uncertain future
On that day three years ago, Americans even learned that somehow their country seemed (I hesitate on what words to use to say this) to be watched over by a Higher Power
Wait a minute. These lessons are obviously a mistake that only simple-minded Americans could make. The only lesson they were supposed to learn was the self-serving foreign opinion that Americans are simple-minded, stupid, unsophisticated, reactionary, egoistical, greedy, arrogant, war-mongering, imperialistic, and treacherous, and they are the reason for most of the world's problems of the past 60 years!
But how can you accept people who react(ed) as Americans did on that day as being simple-minded? As being egoistical? As being greedy? As being arrogant? As being treacherous? As causing most of the problems of the past 60 years? And would men and women of such quality accept such flaws in their leaders, and in the latters' policies, at least for any length of time?
Maybe there is another lesson to be learned here. And that is that it is not Americans who need to learn lessons about the American people. It is that it is smug foreigners who need to review what they know (or think they know) about Americans and who need to take a deeper look at their self-serving opinions about themselves…
After all, one Romanian far away in Bucarest learned something entirely different…
September 11, 2004