[Reader-list] Jameson on Sept 11

Ranjani Mazumdar rmazumdar at mantraonline.com
Thu Oct 4 19:46:05 IST 2001

Fredric Jameson
North Carolina

I have been reluctant to comment on the recent 'events' because the event 
in question, as history, is incomplete and one can even say that it has not 
yet fully happened.

Obviously there are immediate comments one can make, in particular on the 
nauseating media reception, whose cheap pathos seemed unconsciously 
dictated by a White House intent on smothering the situation in sentiment 
in order to demonstrate the undemonstrable: namely, that 'Americans are 
united as never before since Pearl Harbor.' I suppose this means that they 
are united by the fear of saying anything that contradicts this completely 
spurious media consensus.

Historical events, however, are not punctual, but extend in a before and 
after of time which only gradually reveal themselves. It has, to be sure, 
been pointed out that the Americans created bin Laden during the Cold War 
(and in particular during the Soviet war in Afghanistan), and that this is 
therefore a textbook example of dialectical reversal. But the seeds of the 
event are buried deeper than that. They are to be found in the wholesale 
massacres of the Left systematically encouraged and directed by the 
Americans in an even earlier period. The physical extermination of the 
Iraqi and the Indonesian Communist Parties, although now historically 
repressed and forgotten, were crimes as abominable as any contemporary 
genocide. It is, however, only now that the results are working their way 
out into actuality, for the resultant absence of any Left alternative means 
that popular revolt and resistance in the Third World have nowhere to go 
but into religious and 'fundamentalist' forms.

As for the future, no one (presumably including our own Government) has any 
idea what the promised and threatened 'war on terrorism' might look like. 
But until we know that, we can have no satisfactory picture of the 'events' 
we imagine to have taken place on a single day in September. Despite this 
uncertainty, however, it is permitted to feel that the future holds nothing 
good for either side.

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