So it’s 10 years. Events like this affect us all, but their memory means different things to different people.
There is physical memory, which is Divinity unfolding.
For the families of the victims, the meaning is loss of love, which is Divinity unfolding. For those involved in wars that the event precipitated, the meaning is loss of love, which is Divinity unfolding. When the loved are killed, the Son dies alongside them, the Son is lost with them, God’s Love is lost, and no hope remains. Divinity unfolds into pain, loss, hopelessness, suffering.
But there is also historical memory, which is power and capital.
And for those who argue the politics (on either side), the memory of 9/11 is capital for brokerage, valuative bargaining. Whether bartering commodities, territories, statehood, colonial secuirty, postcolonial freedom, justice, Islamic religion, the historical meaning of 9/11 is valuative schemata, systems of capital exchange whose ultimate purpose is to stabilise inherently unstable forms of identity (aggressor, defender, victim, villain) into an tribal habitus, a temporary temple of dhikr, whose psychotic mureeds circle “your” own identity in semblance of locked loop, at the centre the stone image of “your” own face.
I’m not saying these tribal dhikr circles are illegitimate in some way: we’ve all stood within one and will continue to do so, moving between along our cycles of birth and rebirth.
But there are memories of 9/11 that are somewhere between these.
I remember 9/11, personally, not politically (not constructively or globally, merely psychologically). And not in any deep way, because I didn’t lose a member of my family and I’m not spiritually advanced enough to feel that loss as if it were my own.
I was in my old house in Australia. I remember thinking very little about Islam. I had never read the Qur’an and didn’t know much about the religion — certainly didn’t even think to associate it with the troubles in the middle east. I don’t remember immediately thinking much about the Islamic aspect of the attacks. I was living with Chinese people at the time, and remember the consensus being — oh well, at least America will now target the Arabs instead of “us” (Bush had been making threatening gestures to China up to that point — and indeed the wars did result in China becoming stronger).
I remember its aftermath — I began to read Qur’an for the first time and mix with Muslims for the first time.
Not because of 9/11 in any way — I began to read Qur’an because I fell in love with a Kazakh woman. She herself had become Muslim because her yogi had told her that it was important for her to learn Islam to “correct the Islamic karma of her previous incarnations”.. But as I became more interested in Islam, my reading of Qur’an was coloured by a necessity (media-dictated/mosque-dictated) to “defend” the Qur’an (and my evolving relationship to my newfound religion) from an “extremist” reading of verses that could justify terrorism — or war, for that matter.
I spent the last 10 years entering the religion of Islam, learning Islam and then leaving that religion. I acquired a Qur’an along the way, but one I feel no need to defend any more: it’s not that kind of Qur’an, as it has no religious or political component, no story to tell those who’d tear down a state or build one up.
When my Qur’an gets close to politics and power, it appears untenable and fades away from my grasp. And when it is read and contextualized as a record of a 7th century political-prophet, my reading disappears from me and I’m left, as I began this decade, without a Qur’an to recite … though with my Kazakh yogi, karma somewhat corrected!