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tjir_v1n2sck01 - 9/11/01: Ramifications on the US Social...

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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 157 9/11/01: Ramifications on the US Social Order – An Early Impression Kim Scipes* The attacks of September 11th on the United States have had and continue to have a big impact on the US social order. However, I suggest these impacts are considerably different from those being discussed in any mainstream media outlet in this country, either in print or television. This article is an attempt to present an “alternative” view from a social change activist living and acting in Chicago, Illinois, USA. The attacks truly shocked Americans. Obviously, the horrific pictures of the destruction and death that were incessantly shown on television and reproduced in our newspapers had a big impact. For a people who are so incredibly parochial and inwardly focused in regard to global affairs--despite the imperial impact of the US government and multinational corporations developed here--these attacks unquestionably made people aware that there was a world beyond our borders. And let’s not be surprised by this shock. For a people who have been taught that what the United States does in the world is always benign if not truly positive--the war in Viet Nam is almost always explained as an “aberration”--and whose country has not suffered a major attack from outside our borders since the British burned Washington, DC in 1812, these attacks were incomprehensible to most “ordinary” Americans.
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Alternatives: Turkish Journal of International Relations, Vol.1, No.2, Summer 2002 158 The media (and, of course, the political elites) took advantage of this naiveté. In response to the general question of “why would anyone do this to us?,” the general response was that people hated our freedoms and our democracy. From the beginning, these attacks were presented by the media and governmental officials as attacks on the very existence of the United States, that it was an attack on our nation. The leading newspaper in the United States, The New York Times, had “U.S. ATTACKED” as its front page headline the day following the attacks. That following Sunday (September 16th), the Chicago Tribune headlined a special section on the attacks as “September 11, 2001: When evil struck America.” The common response was one of solidarity with the victims of the attacks, expressed in a nationalistic manner: US flags proliferated everywhere. People gathered almost spontaneously, and I can remember vividly the marches in my community, a community that is comprised overwhelmingly of Latinos--mostly immigrants from Puerto Rico and Mexico--and mostly of working class people. This was not orchestrated from outside, but came from within our communities. Each march featured many US flags, as a sense of solidarity with the victims and reaffirming the dedication to this country. But the media presented these genuine expressions of solidarity and sympathy as being
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tjir_v1n2sck01 - 9/11/01: Ramifications on the US Social...

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