Two Decades of September 11th

I’ve written about 9/11 here and there, where I told my story about where I was on that day.

After 9/11, when the U.S. invaded Afghanistan, someone from another country commented to me that we were overreacting. I replied that we had not yet begun to overreact.

So, twenty years later, now that we’ve killed Osama Bin Laden and we’ve walked away from Afghanistan. What have we accomplished? Who was the enemy? Certainly not the Afghan people. We’ve hurt them, but I’m told that the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and the wahhabists of ISIS-K are all actually foreigners to Afghanistan. Radical Islam, in all of it’s flavors, violently takes away free choice in the name of religion, the way that Christians used to do it hundreds of years ago.

Do we try again to free people from Sharia Law, or do we sit at home and enjoy our freedoms and wait for them to come around on their own while we hope that their problems don’t spill over on us again? Maybe folks who really want freedom bad enough to do something about it need to just move to somewhere that has it, like so many others have done for hundreds of years.

Like my ancestors did.

The song Where Were You When The World Stopped Turning by Alan Jackson has always been my favorite September 11th memorial (here is his official Vevo video for the song). There were many other songs with a theme of anger and vengeance that I’ve enjoyed over the years…but I’ve settled on this one. The others just seem to me like a waste now.

An entire generation, in several countries, has now grown up with war. Our soldiers have returned with scars both inside and out, but I don’t think it was a total waste. Many Afghans left the country with us. Many Christians from that part of the world were evacuated by The Nazarene Fund both during the ISIS takeover of Iraq and the pullout of the U.S. and it’s allies from Afghanistan. Those folks won’t forget what we tried to do for them. Many of the people who stayed behind witnessed our soldiers recoiling in disgust at the treatment by some over there of women and young boys…and they will remember. Those who left with us might resettle in Europe or here in the U.S., or maybe stick closer to their native land in a neighboring country or something. Some will wait to move back, hoping that their native countries to change, while others will just make their new countries their homes.

Maybe the U.S. and U.N. will need to occupy Afghanistan or Iraq again some day. I hope not. We’re tired of war and have plenty of other business to resolve here at home. I hope that the spark of freedom was lit in the hearts of those places and will catch fire some day, but it’s something that those folks will have to do for themselves eventually. Like all of us, they need to decide what they want out of life and pursue it.

Picture released by the U.S. Army Tuesday, May 3, 2005 shows a U.S. Army soldier comforting a child fatally wounded in a car bomb blast in Mosul, 360 km (225 miles) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, May 2, 2005. 15 Iraqis were wounded in the combined suicide bomb attack. (AP Photo/Michael Yon via U.S. Army)

Like so many of the rest of you, 9/11 and the events that stemmed from it didn’t just effect me when they happened…they helped plot the course of my interests and life. My love of writing started long ago in high school, but I got serious about it after 9/11 as I struggled to understand and cope with the emotions that I felt. Pent up frustration from graphic news images and stories related to terrorism moved me to write my first published work, Another Man’s Terrorist. The image above helped inspire a scene in that story, and I sent the image to my illustrator, Chelsea Conlin, to form the tone of the promotional poster below. The bloody hand print on the man’s face, together with his grief as he hands an injured child to an aid worker, are in Another Man’s Terrorist and came from the image above.

I’m not the only one whos art has been influenced by these events. I did ask Chelsea to use certain elements from the story in the poster, but can you remember a news photo from 9/11 that might have prompted her to also add the man choking in the lower left-hand corner there, with dust all around him?

Another Man’s Terrorist, One Way, Where’s the Cat, Invader Space, and to a somewhat lesser extent Into the Dark, are all Cultural Science Fiction, and three of them are themed on war. Cultural SciFi talks about culture, religion, and politics in our world through stories told in a fictional world.

It is because I write about science and culture in some of my fiction stories that this non-fiction blog also does the same. Some fans don’t like that. Some have told me that I should leave culture and politics out of this blog, but these things move me and are where my stories come from. You don’t have to agree with me, and please feel free to tell me so either in the comments below or on Twitter. I do listen, but I also enjoy substantive debate with folks who disagree with me, so don’t be surprised if I respond.

I think that artists should use their talents to try and improve our world through their craft…and not simply entertain. After all, what else would you expect from a someone who spent his childhood listening to music from The Man in Black…

So you see, I’m in good company.

Please, everyone, talk and listen to each other. Through exchange of dialog, hopefully, we can all heal and make our world more peaceful and more free…remembering through it all that a love of peace and freedom are the one thing that all of us have in common.

~ by Bill Housley on September 10, 2021.

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