Much was lost on 9/11 and it was far more than steel and concrete and three thousand souls, because that was the day power lost its mystique. The mere mention of September the eleventh is enough to get friends to fall out and families to cease talking to each other.
Was it a conspiracy? Was it Arab hijackers with visas supplied by our very own spooks? Can jet fuel melt steel-framed buildings and can an entire passenger plane disappear into a hole in the wall at the Pentagon? If Saudi passports are indestructible then why do ours burn? Or was it simply what we were told it was? We live in an online world where planes flying into buildings that collapse into holes in the ground, is played on an endless loop. My question is, does it matter?
What matters is where we are now, and where we are now is an interesting place indeed; because regardless of what was real and who did it and how, the aftermath is real, present, and undeniable. Whether our favourite far right politicians were conspirators or just incompetent observers they have lost credibility since that dreadful day. Like the Wizard of Oz, the curtain has been pulled back and behind it is not some all-knowing wizard but instead a little man in a suit pursuing power for its own sake. September the eleventh resulted in not so much a brave new world, but instead a far more sceptical one.
When George W. Bush said, “You are either with us or against us,” he was delivering a rallying cry, but to the establishment’s surprise many people refused to join in the hysteria. They understood that it was the very rich that were circling the wagons and it was the poor that they were planning to go to war against. Those outside the circle stopped trusting the fiery rhetoric of their leaders, they had begun to lose all faith in the divine rights of oligarchs. Something had changed. The words of Cassius from Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar echoed human consciousness across the ages, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlings.”
We now live in an increasingly anti-establishment world. Was Brexit only about the EU or was it an irresistible opportunity to let the establishment know what people really thought of them? The recent Arab Spring’s causes were manifold but also a rebellion against despotic leaders in business with the West. The 2016 US election is being choreographed as a choice between the status quo and something vague, although that may all be a smokescreen. It’s as if all democratic mechanisms are becoming a choice for or against the political establishment.
What happened fifteen years ago on 9/11 pales into significance compared to what happened next; the oligarchs went mad and entered a feeding frenzy for power and wealth. Invasions, bombs, mercenary armies, financial fraud, and lies, lies, and more lies. Our lords and masters dropped their trousers in public because they were in such a hurry they had abandoned all discretion.
Every day I see more and more people defect to the side of conspiracy theory. These are not tinfoil hat wearing uninformed people; these are mostly the educated and well informed. Some are established architects and engineers. Some are well-known journalists and authors. Why has conspiracy theory become a respectable pastime? The reason is they have been lied to so often, and so much, they are starting to believe their lords and masters are capable of absolutely anything.
It is easy to reject their anger as the result of their improbable theories, but you’d be wrong because it’s the other way round – their theories are the result of their improbable anger. Albert Camus defined a rebel as somebody that asks the question why, and today it starts to look like the majority of people around the world are already on that path.
We will continue to see our social media feeds full of videos of the Twin Towers falling over and over again. We will continue to be diverted by angry debates over who was flying the planes and the degree of heat that jet fuel burns at. In spite of all the distractions we won’t forget the millions of deaths that event eventually led to, and many of us will take notice that our civil liberties are disappearing and the Geneva Convention is no longer worth the paper it is written on. Something happened that day far greater than the tragic loss of life and dramatic destruction of New York real estate. That was the day the world clearly began to go mad.