September 11 stands as a testament to murder, loss of innocent life and cowardice. Predictably, the mainstream Western media has been squeezing out the events of ten years ago in the USA of every drop of sensationalistic and heart-wrenching sap it can wring—some rehashed material, some new or ‘never seen’ or ‘heard’ before exclusive on the tragedy—all of which contribute to present to the public a construct of an abominable event that seemingly robbed a city, a people and indeed a nation of its innocence.

Peculiarly, for 28 years to the day before the attacks on the US, and the ten years after, the same media outlets have been paying little or no attention at all to another monstrous event, which would by any measure of judgement strip the US power brokers of any claims to innocence.

On September 11, 1973, air and ground strikes blackened the skies of Santiago, the Chilean capital, killing its democratically elected president and installing the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet for the following 17 years, all under the watch, support and protection of the CIA and subsequently the British government.

The political and military machinations of the CIA to instigate, manage and follow up the coup d’état read like an espionage novel, but most of the gruesome details are now on the public record sanctioned by notorious figures such as Henry Kissinger, and the then head of the CIA, after to become the president of the USA, one George Bush Sn.

In 1970 the Chilean people elected Salvador Allende as their president. Allende was the leader and a founding member of the Chilean Socialist Party; a party that came to be in opposition to the communist model of the Soviet Union. His electoral success made him the first democratically elected Marxist in the world.

Allende’s mandate was to reform a depressed economy, endemic unemployment and poverty, and the typical situation of too much in the hands of too few. His attempts to redistribute wealth and land, regulate wages and prices threaded on the toes of the business interests within Chile and elsewhere. Allende’s reforms drew the antipathy of the US government under the headship of Richard Nixon, the latter ordered that Allende be removed by a coup d’état covertly led by the CIA as to leave American hands clean.

The military, under the command of Pinochet, bombed the presidential palace and went ahead to take control of the country. Pinochet appointed himself as president, immediately closed down the Chilean Parliament, suspended the constitution, banned all political and trade union activity, imposed strict controls over the media and ordered a purge of the left in Chile. Over the next few years more than 3,000 supporters of the Allende regime were killed. People in positions of authority who were suspected of holding liberal opinions were also removed from power. It is estimated that around 10 per cent of the Chilean judiciary were dismissed during this period. Pinochet was also responsible for the torture and the forced exile of thousands of people.

As a result of Pinochet’s policies, the gap between rich and poor widened to give the country the worst income distribution in the region after Brazil. Nonetheless, after 17 years as dictator and managing to amass a vast fortune, Pinochet abdicated as president of Chile, taking a seat in the senate; a position that would grant him immunity from prosecution, which he largely achieved despite many attempts in different parts of the world to bring him to justice. Pinochet eventually died of old age in 2006.

The same can’t be said of the perpetrators of the better known September 11. Immediately after the attacks, the US responded with the War on Terror, which led to the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, the execution of the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, and later, the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, but more poignantly, the loss of life of more innocent people, as well as many of the armed forces on duty, who are yet to work out that blind faith to their leaders will get them killed.

I find violence and the loss of life through it abhorrent. More so, I deplore the loss of innocent life made pawn for the benefit of the power mongers in seats of government, who hoodwink those who they purportedly serve, but in actual fact they exploit to perpetuate their positions and systems of power. I disapprove of the mass media that play bed-fellow with the conspirators of events such as September 11, but I also feel that it would be far too easy to point the finger of blame without bringing into the discussion the apathy and gullibility of those whose heart strings are pulled by the heart-wrenching stories selectively chosen to perpetuate a particular discourse of power.

If we are to exercise our respons-ability, in other words our ability to respond, the least we must do is to question those who, unfettered, continue to peddle lies, stereotypes and fear to bolster their position of relevance. We must ask them and ourselves, not as much as if there is a link between September 11, 1973 and September 11, 2001, for each of us can draw our own conclusions, but if the admission of involvement in the former would give a better understanding of the occurance of the latter, thus relinquishing the mantle of victims turned justice crusaders.

This much we owe to the names on the memorial walls and shrines to futile bloodsheds unveiled and officiated on commemorative days, and also to the nameless, invisible victims of similar cowardice, but whose life seems to be of less value and unworthy of mainstream media attention and public recognition.

Fotos: Pilfered from the Internet