[Reader-list] Coeternal 9/11

anupam chakravartty c.anupam at gmail.com
Mon Sep 14 13:04:02 IST 2009

Dear Santosh,

Enjoyed reading your piece. "Enjoyed" because I feel you have described 9/11
just like this event which changed the world in the ways I would have
thought in my comic book dream with the international syndicate of "heroes"
called the Justice League. It was fun reading about these "fine" heroes and
their exploits. Even exciting was how large scale "global" disasters struck
the world while these super heroes were in their full bloom. At times, I
would wonder if these super heroes had some kind of a tacit understanding
with the destiny (personified), who would sent these "enemies" of the
mankind in to the earth through time warps. Later, they became boring just
like their adventures and also the anti-heroes. A friend once told me that
the justice league started getting state support, that's why the plots in
the later comics were lame. I also wonder if we see the bombing of Hiroshima
and Nagasaki in the same light as 9/11?



On 9/13/09, santhosh hk <santhoshhrishikesh at gmail.com> wrote:
> How will 9/11 go down in history? Will it be registered as a postmodern
> crusade between America and Islamic powers? (In one of the commemoratory
> albums doing rounds on Youtube, the wreckage of the erstwhile WTO buildings
> look like a garlanded cross). Or as the first edition of battles in the
> post
> coldwar era where frontiers are blurred and immaterial? Or as a watershed
> in
> the American centered discursive formations of power? Will posterity hail
> it
> as the herald of a new anti-imperial struggle? Or will it remain a gruesome
> reminder of the incidence and intensity of terrorism? A memorial to the
> world with strata percolated with venom? For an event that unveiled and
> demonstrated, in no unclear terms, the intricate intermingling of politics,
> religion and economics, future interpretations come dime a dozen.
> Whatever be the future of that fateful day, it seems indisputable that 9/11
> has already transcended and  crucibled different opinions and entrenched
> itself as an eloquent and immortal billboard  of the Transnational. It was
> a
> mental global village that the twin towers tumbled into, not a space with
> spatial and temporal constraints.  This precisely is why any question as to
> the nationality of the deceased—including that of the nine
> “terrorists”—becomes irrelevant, if not irreverent. People were panicking
> not over the collapse of a skyscraper in a far off land but in the very
> next
> street.  The premature demise of a building in the strongest nation on the
> earth was emblematic of the strongest incentive that prods the current
> world--trade. What could be better than fall of the World Trade Center
> then!
> In the aftermath of the death of the towers, there emanated from the U.S.
> itself a few arguments that questioned the veracity of the bugbear of
> Islamic terrorism. In fact there were quite a good number of
> well-researched
> articles and features that sought to show the extent to which the federal
> government colluded and connived in orchestrating the heinous act, with the
> intention of bringing about political-religious consolidation. Revealingly,
> none of them gained currency outside the country. The offbeat responses
> that
> refused to swallow theories stuffed with “conventional wisdom” were largely
> shrugged off or played down altogether overseas (India was brilliant
> here!).
> Even the celebrity status of Noam Chomsky would not suffice to drill the
> shell of belief in official American explanations!! Chomsky *is *correct in
> linguistics, *maybe *so in other issues, but not here!! Why? The theory and
> praxis of the battle waged by the U.S. and its allies are not bounded to,
> located in or controlled by the physical/geographical space of any nation
> but takes place in a mental domain marked out by a strong sense of
> internationalism. We just don’t care about and think in terms of the bright
> cartographical contours but would rather get into the shoes of an
> international warrior. It is only after 9/11 that the term ‘terrorist’ (the
> terrorist of one nation is the patriot of the other, you know) assumes
> international signifying potential and terrorism becomes a meticulously
> planned activity, masterminded by a highly centralized, exclusive and
> esoteric coterie headquartered somewhere in the Middle East. There are
> explosions and suicide attacks anywhere; but if you look through the
> magnifying glass of Sherlock Holmes, you can’t miss the common hologram
> ‘Made in Iraq.’  (Just like products for the world market are owned by
> American firms, designed in India and manufactured in China!!!).  The same
> period witnesses certain names, sartorial habits and appearances become
> objects of fear and suspicion in milling international airports and
> bustling
> railway terminals. If  Hollywood heroes flexed their muscles and
> single-handedly annihilated creepy extra terrestrials in the preceding
> decades, the currents ones fight against terrorism—come hell or high
> water—and keep the country intact. Not to be outdone, Bollywood has fared
> better by interspersing cinematic texts with tall, bearded terrorists
> swaggering in and out or waiting with the patience of a python in the quest
> to grind Shining India into pieces.
> To be sure, the shockwaves sent out by 9/11 have not been lost in art and
> literature either. Arguably, nothing betrays the traces of the new
> international conscience and its multiple manifestations more
> emphatically  than
> the film *11'09"01 September 11* (2002).  What weaves these short visuals,
> triggered by the panic of the event, into a coherent whole is a host of
> universal concerns, fears and anxieties. The not-so-good  individual
> narratives by directors like Samira
> Makhmalbaf<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samira_Makhmalbaf>,
> Mira Nair <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mira_Nair>, Claude
> Lelouch<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Claude_Lelouch>and Youssef
> Chahine <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Youssef_Chahine> have nothing in
> themselves to stake the claim of a movie.
> Wait a minute. Stop and look inward. See how the blog universe  swells by
> the minute. Is it such a long a shot to say 9/11 has catalyzed the growth
> of
> a universal writer/reader community, wrenched from local colors, cultural
> ethos and personal concerns clubbed with the urge for self expression? Is
> an
> Indian, for that matter any national, crouching behind an IP address an
> Indian in the traditional sense of the word? He is in a fluffy virtual
> space
> that could be literally *everywhere. *Still better to say he is a fluffy
> space impossible to locate and penetrate.
> hk santhosh
> pk sreekumar
> * *
> http://hksanthosh.blogspot.com
> http://youreemember.blogspot.com
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