All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

September 11th.....1973

On September 11th 2001 the first news I had of the destruction of the World Trade Centre came from the two young men employed by my Turkish builder.

They were cock a hoop!

America had been attacked!

Their boss brought them down to earth immediately...the people killed and injured in that attack weren't, for the greater part, involved in the governing of America or determining its policies...they were ordinary people, secretaries, cooks, cleaners, security guards....people like them, like their families.

They took his point.....felt for the families...but when news of the attack on the Pentagon came in they cheered up again.

Surely that's a legitimate target! That's military!

Now these two young men, sunny, kind and helpful, good sons and brothers, were hardly fundamentalists.

They were Turks, brought up in the secular state founded by Kemal Ataturk after the downfall of the Ottoman empire...and would describe themselves as Muslims in the same way that most English people would put down Cof E if asked about religion, while actually being what used to be described as wheelbarrow Christians - attending church for christenings, marriages and burials.

The imam of their mosque was not a backwoodsman from Bangladesh, but a man keen to help his 'flock' find their feet in France while preserving their own culture....the emphasis was on making the most of the new life in a different land.

So why were these two decent young men so delighted that America had been attacked?

We talked about it in the succeeding days.
They were as about as political as they were fundamentalist....all politicians were crooked, all governments cheated their peoples...that was about the limit of why the delight?

What it came down to was their view of America as a bully state.....imposing its will on other countries, exploiting the poor and helpless, while secure from attack itself.
Thus the delight.
Some one had struck back.

I remembered another September 11th...that of 1973.

The day that a free Chile awoke to the bombardments of the American backed fascists mounting a coup d'etat against the popular government of Salvador Allende.

No one could say that the Allende government was perfect...far from it, though it would have had more chance of succeeding if the 'middle ground' Christian Democrats had stayed with it as a moderating force rather than taking to opposition....but it was Chile's government and it was not for America to back the coup, as Kissinger admitted that they did.

Over the years, America's meddling in the affairs of sovereign states to support its commercial empire has been responsible for appalling levels of repression, of poverty, of lack of education, of torture and death.
It's backing of Bin Laden in Afghanistan gave him the money and influence to start a movement to free the Islamic 'Holy Land' from the contamination of the American presence.
Successive American governments have sown the wind...and the whirlwind has struck us all.

None of this is the 'fault' of the people in the World Trade Centre....they, like all of us, had no way of controlling their government.
Had you asked them if they wanted to see people kept in poverty and threatened with gaol or death for resistance, then they would surely have said 'no'.
As we would, I hope, say 'no'.

The problem, it seems to me, is that there is no longer a workable link between people and their governments.
The governing 'caste' is self perpetuating and its interests and values are not those of the people.
The 'differing' parties are but different faces of the same phenomenon, whose rule is 'validated' by elections.
In exchange for freedom and decision making this caste has given the people 'purchasing power'....a vicious illusion of freedom of choice, masking the very real lack of actual power.

It strikes me that the best memorial to those who have died in New York and in succeeding terrorist attacks throughout the world would be for people to lift their heads from the mire in which they have been kept by the ruling castes of our 'democracies'.
To start to examine the reality of their situation as a preliminary to action to restore power to its rightful holders...

The people.

In 2001, as 'planes crashed and towers crumbled, some of those about to die were able to leave last messages for their families.

In 1973,  as the bombs fell and troops invaded his palace, President Allende left a last message to the people of Chile......

                                                    Liberty does not die.


  1. Comment 1 of 2:

    Well Mme Fly, in my humble opinion you’ve really hit the spot with this post. Seriously too. In different circumstances, I also came across a few people who were darkly outspoken about the whole ‘now they know what it feels like’ thing, during the weeks that followed all that horror of all horrors. Even though they’d probably never come closer to experiencing what anything as horrific as 9/11 remotely feels like, other than from in front of a TV while chewing their Big Mac’s to extinction, or maybe sat in a cinema gawping at some crass Hollywood disaster movie.

    That said, on a base philosophical level, I can relate to certain segments of people outside the USA, reacting like that, even when it sounds so callous and deeply offensive to all the working citizens, plane passengers and firemen who were so sickeningly obliterated that morning. The empirical string pullers of that otherwise still mostly great nation, and in particular that appalling tri-croneyite of Darth’s Cheney, Rumsfeld & Bush, still have some very, very serious issues and questions to answer to, of which some of them where Cheney is concerned, are verging on the treasonable, if some of the alleged facts were allowed to be heard in open court and thence hold true.

    Seems to me that part of the lack of a workable link between people & governments is that there are too many contradicting idealisms being either played out or played down by our freely elected political controllers. It all depends which side of the fence, as well as where you actually sit on it, power and politically speaking, or whether you’re one of the owners of not just the fence but the ground it’s buried in too, and all us mere pawns of the wider electorate are just given the chance to vote now and again in order to uphold the basic constitutions of our democracy.

    Fact is, in a world that’s been financially raped and pilaged by an elitist minority of largely unconcerned, amoral plutosharks these last couple of decades, who’s asset worth is still mostly rocketing out of orbit while so many hoards of people are still dying of hunger, insane acts of terrorism, bombings, drug wars and such atrocities, wars we should never be fighting, countries queuing up to declare their bankruptcy and so on - we mere peasant units that represent the ordinary mass of modern mankind, are seemingly forced to sit back and impotently watch & suffer, often in bare existence, while all our far more modest and acceptably reasonable hopes and aspirations for ourselves and our children are blown out to sea and lost altogether, for probably at least another couple of generations to come.

  2. Comment 2 of 2

    The whole existence of Democracy is right and good, of that I have no doubt, but we really need to collectively wake up and start reminding ourselves that a Democracy doesn’t come for free, and it never did. It needs to be tended, worked at and evolved to meet the real needs of its citizenship and society at large, not just for the chosen few. It ‘is’ therefore up to us mere servants of Democracy to invest more time and effort in finding ways of collectively speaking our minds, civilised but more forcefully and robustly, in the kind of numbers that cannot be ignored, because this version of Democracy, isn’t working, we’re not actually being listened to with any seriousness or concern, our hard earned lives to date are being stripped away in front of our eyes, largely thanks to a small and unscrupulous community of self serving carpetbaggers…and I for one am sick and tired of having to roll over every day and smell all this crap that I didn’t make, and they most certainly will never have to smell, or help clean up.

    So yes Fly, re: your “It strikes me that the best memorial to those who have died in New York and in succeeding terrorist attacks throughout the world would be for people to lift their heads from the mire in which they have been kept by the ruling castes of our 'democracies'.
    To start to examine the reality of their situation as a preliminary to action to restore power to its rightful holders...

    The people.”

    I couldn’t have phrased it better for them.

    Where do I sign on?

    And P.S. – If you can, try and rent a copy of the film ‘Fair Game’, directed by Doug Liman, and starring Naomi Watts & Sean Penn, who play the parts of Valerie Plame Wilson and her ambassador husband Joe Wilson respectively. The film is a well scripted expose biopic of the sickening duplicity and travesty of justice meted out to this real life couple, by high placed elements of the Bush/Cheney dictatorship during much of the last decade, following the post 9/11 WMD crap hunt, and how their purely self serving collusions and manipulations of the truth over their intended second invasion of Iraq’ for nothing but their own ill gotten gains, completely destroyed the couples respective lives and careers. I think you’ll enjoy it.

  3. "...the people killed and injured in that attack weren't, for the greater part, involved in the governing of America or determining its policies..."

    True enough, we who live in our rubbishy "democracies" know that we have no voice. Nevertheless, those on the receiving end of America and the West's attempts to impose the "true path of democratic, representative government" on sovereign states are told that under such a system, all citizens are represented by - and therefore responsible for - their government. Ergo, there is no such thing as an "innocent citizen" under democracy.

    I have heard this argument used in explanation/justification of the twin tower bombings.

    The sad thing is, I can't think of any sort of workable alternative to any of the styles of government currently in use or used throughout history, without going back to the Neolithic (

  4. Pueblo girl, I think a lot of it comes back to our notions of the social contract by which as individuals we give up certain of our freedoms in order to be protected from each other by the state....whatever the system of government involved.
    This gets muddled in democracies by the elective process....we validate governments by voting.
    But we don't vote every day and we don't vote on issues...which gives governments free rein to do as they please, 'validated' by our votes.
    You can only be responsible for something under your control. National government is far from being under our control...quite the reverse.
    We have to stop deceiving ourselves that we live in 'good' societies, as only then can we start to build accountability into our system.
    Then the big

    The only way that I can see is civil disobedience...but it's going to take a hell of a lot to get people struggling to make ends meet to find the energy to do anything at all.
    It is when things get marginally better that revolutions happen...

  5. Bish Bosh Bash, we have to stop worshiping the word 'democracy' and try to make it a reality.
    It seems to me that the real Thatcher revolution was not the 'reforms' of the workplace, but the doping of people with of council houses springs to make them think that they were somehow aligned with the real rich and thus to lie back and think of nothing but the next new car.
    Now, shatteringly, all the illusory gains are going, but people have lost the habit of and the facilities for real action...not just for protest in reaction.