Stuck In The Middle

Back then, I didn’t agree with this war. Sure, I wanted revenge, retribution, justice, I wanted Osama Bin Laden to be held accountable for all the terror he caused, the lives he took, the mess he made. But I didn’t see how going to war with a bunch of extreme islamic terrorists was going to solve anything. I didn’t see how spending trillions of dollars, losing thousands of lives, and having thousands more families make such big sacrifices was going to put an end to terrorism. And do you know, I still don’t really see how it helps? It’s been almost 10 years since 9/11. And we’ve just now killed the guy who proudly claimed to be responsible for what happened? In the movies it happens much quicker than that.

Where were you that day? I had been living in Atlanta for a little over a year. I’d been living in the US for a little over 5 years and had really assimilated myself into the American way of living. I was, as they say, Americanised. That attack was an attack on my homeland. On the freedoms and liberties I happily lived with. And the sole person responsible, if you listened to the media, was Osama. He was the one who must be hunted and killed. Right to a fair trial? Not this guy.

Anyone who has spent a great deal of time living in two countries knows how very hard it is to hear criticism of one or the other. Australians, I think, typically have a very poor notion of what Americans are like. They are loud, obnoxious, know nothing about anything outside of the US, ignorant, and overly-patriotic. Sure, there is probably many who are like that, but that generalisation is like saying Australians all talk funny, wear khaki shirts and shorts and wrestle crocodiles for a living.

So when this whole “Osama Is Dead” thing happened, and Americans started celebrating, my Australian friends started in on them. “It was a witch hunt, Americans were idiots if they thought this was the end of terrorism, it hasn’t been worth all the lives that have been lost, the worst is yet to come.” The comments poured out from many avenues.

I understand if you don’t agree with war. I understand if you think it’s wrong that thousands of lives have been lost in the pursuit of killing One Man. But how many lives were lost in 9/11? How many more lives would have been lost if we had sat back done nothing? You don’t attack a country and fly planes into buildings and not expect a war to break out. I think families of soldiers who have been killed might finally feel like their deaths were for a cause.

I don’t think Americans are naive. I don’t believe they think this is the end of the war, or terrorism. But I do think they finally feel like justice for 9/11 has been served. And for the thousands of people who lost loved ones that day, it has to be of some comfort, no matter how small. I also think if you weren’t in the US on that day, you have absolutely no idea how it felt to see the planes fly into the buildings, to see the buildings fall down, to see people running for their lives, and know that it is happening in your land. It’s not footage from Pakistan, Bosnia, or anywhere else. It is In.Your.Back.Yard.

But I find myself stuck in the middle. I’ve been a part of “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants before. I know how easy it is to be swept up in the patriotism of something. But what irritates me is that this war has had soldiers from all over the world participating, helping the US. Australia has sent soldiers, and we have lost soldiers. I think the Americans easily forget that. So here I am, angry at my American friends for taking all the glory, for forgetting that others have fought this war with them. And angry at my Australian friends because they don’t get it, they don’t understand how an entire country can be so happy about someone’s death. And I wonder if they think the US deserved what they got on 9/11.

I am glad he is dead. I wish it had happened 9 years ago. I’m not going to pretend to be some peace-loving hippy who thinks the world will be cured with LOVE.

The battle may be won, but war is far from over.

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