Sunday, July 26, 2015

Old, nationalistic grudges

One day in 1985, I took my Toyota in for some routine work. While waiting at the counter, another customer, retirement age, said "Toyota, huh? Damned Japs. I won't own one! I blew more Nips out of the sky than you could shake a stick at. Didn't get them all, though. One got my brother on Okinawa in '45. Lost a good friend on the Arizona in Pearl Harbor, too. Never forget Pearl Harbor!"

I don't remember what, if anything, I said in response. It doesn't matter. But I thought later, wow, to be still carrying all that anger, 40 years later. It left a mark on me. Remember Pearl Harbor. Remember the Maine. Remember the Pueblo. The Alamo. The Lusitania. All of them got us into or carried us through one war or another.

And now, remember 9/11/2001. Remember it how? Remember it why? And increasingly, "Remember it? I wasn't even born yet!" Think about it. It's 2015. Unless you are already in your mid-20s, it was already history. Anyone not already in college will have little to no recollection, let alone understanding, of what happened that day, and instead have only experienced its after-effects. Continuous war. Threats of terror attacks. Constant security theater. And increasingly, demonization of an entire religion and an entire region of the globe.

Is this right? Why are we raising a generation to hate and fear Islam, and everyone and everything in the Middle East?

We can and should have a separate discussion about what spurred the 20 terrorists on 9/11, but that is not relevant here. Just, do we need to be like that Jap-hater from 30 years ago? I say no.

1 comment:

  1. What is the point of remembering a major event if the point of remembering is to remind you to hate something?