Friday, September 11, 2009


A defining principle of states is embodied in the anniversary of September 11, the principle of worthy and unworthy victims. On September 11, 2001 a terrorist attack killed thousands of innocent Americans. That last word, American, is critical. These were worthy victims. Today that attack will be mourned and marked. Flags will fly at half-mast, the names of the victims will be read out in public places, politicians and publications will offer somber, philosophical reflections on the need to safeguard against the evil man is capable of.

On September 11, 1973 another mass-atrocity unfolded. On September 11, 1973 Chile's democratically elected government was overthrown in a fascist coup by the military. As the body of President Salvador Allende was being carried from the flames of the Presidential Palace, as thousands of writers, labor organizers, social activists, and intellectuals were being rounded up, tortured and executed, as Chile began its long decent into fascism, government officials in the U.S were not publicly weeping for the dead, they were celebrating.

Chile's democracy would not be restored until 1990, not until after the economy was destroyed, at least 80,000 Chileans became prisoners of conscious, 30,000 were tortured, 200,000 were made refugees, over 3,200 were murdered by the government, and an international terrorist organization was initiated, that carried out attacks across Latin America and in the United States, that assisted in the attacks of violent, far-right European terrorist organizations, and whose members continue to live freely, even in the U.S, under the protection of the American government (see Michael Townley).

This was not an attack on Americans, it was an attack instigated by Americans, to protect American business interest. These are unworthy victims. They have been doubly killed their memory has been erased. It is not ideologically convenient, it can justify nothing, it has been forgotten, dropped in the memory hole. America is the victim of atrocities, it has always been the victim, it can play no other role than that of the victim. We can weep for vom Rath, whose death was indeed a tragic atrocity, but our victims are not worthy victims. When their fate is not being celebrated it is forgotten so that their story can repeat itself.

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