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Gustavo Gac-Artigas

To Each Their 9/11

I will not refer here to 9/11 2001 when the image of the twin towers collapsing before our eyes was swept away by terrorism, that blind, irrational, and inexplicable hatred that strikes the conscience and soul of humanity.

I will not refer to September 11, 1973, when a coup d’état in Chile established one of the most heinous dictatorships in Latin America. That unhealthy attempt to divert the destiny of a people to impose the model of another. Repeated coups d’état in agreement with the designs of The Capital; democratic governments that fell like dominoes in a child’s game that carried death in their arms.

I will not refer here to the women of Afghanistan, who have seen their freedoms evaporate under the heavy fabrics of the rubble of a useless war, their own September 11.

I will not refer here to the women of Texas who, on September 11, will show the wounds of their tragedy, their rights to decide on their fate disappeared under politicking. Once again, others forcibly trying to impose their ideas and write the fate of those who, as free individuals, wanted to make decisions on their bodies and determine their future.

I will not refer here to the dead drowned in the basements of New York. The names of the wretched who lost their lives submerged in the basements of Queens, or carried away by the waters in New Jersey, will not be read aloud on September 11, 2021.

I will not refer here to those who, at the fearsome Darien Gap between Colombia and Panama, wait for the strength and dollars necessary to face death to escape violence and misery. Somewhere, sheltered from the eyes of others, a young woman will be raped by coyotes, by “narcos,” by terrorist gangs that transform every step into a September 11.

I will not refer here to the 130 dead in the terrorist attacks at the Bataclan, in Paris, where an actress from my theater group fell protecting her grandson with her body on November 13, 2015. That November 13, a September 11 for Patricia, who 42 years earlier had fled Chile to save her life without ever suspecting that her appointment with death would take place in Paris.

I will not refer here to those women victims of violence in their homes, those who endure a daily September 11 and fear throwing themselves out of the windows of life.

I will not refer here to those discriminated against in the world because of their sexual orientation, their gender identity, or the color of their skin, or because they think differently, those who suffer their September 11 in the looks of others, their backs pierced by poisoned darts.

I will not refer here to the children who will stand up in school to observe a minute of silence to commemorate another September 11 and never being told that when they are discriminated against and denied access to equality in education, the towers of their youth are torn down pushing them to an abysmal future.

I will not refer to the homeless, the beggars, those whose dignity is slapped when we cross the street to avoid their smell, their presence, on those daily September elevens of injustice and inequality.

I will not refer here to broken hearts, loves that end up drowned in loneliness or incomprehension. Loves that shipwreck because of missing a roof to shelter in on the September elevens of life.

As another September 11 approaches, let us ponder that everyone has their September 11 engraved in their souls; that injustice, inequality, and arrogance are the missiles that want to destroy us; that we are able of overcoming our September elevens, or at least die thinking: I will not let my daughter, my son, my granddaughters inherit my September elevens.

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