In Which We Remember

10 years ago on September 11, 2001 I was on the phone with a buddy of mine. We hadn’t talked in a while and he was getting ready for a long day at the office. His office was on Greenwich street in Manhattan.  During the course of our conversation the first plane hit the towers. Being, as he was, about two blocks from the towers he had a pretty good view of the result. I flipped on the news and we kept talking. At that time no one was really sure what had happened. It could have been a bomb, an innocent (if that’s the right word) explosion or any number of things. As the news droned in the background I informed him that it was a plane that had hit.

Again, at this point, we were all thinking accident. A sad, but merely unfortunate, event.

I was getting a second cup of coffee, it’s odd the things you remember, when I heard a loud WHUFF over the phone and, seconds later, watched on TV as a second plane flew into the second tower. My buddy couldn’t see exactly what was happening from where he was at so I quickly recapped and told him to get the hell out of there. Which he did, taking his staff with him.

They made it to one of my favorite bars in New Jersey and hunkered in to figure out what was going on. Many of his people lived near the towers so they were stuck for a while.

The bar was part of a hotel so he was able to whip out that corporate AMEX and do what CEOs get paid to do, take care of his people and let the accountants sort it out later.

We spoke a little later in the day when things had settled down for him. His wife and kids were in Connecticut so they were safe and that helped ease his nerves.

The rest of us stared transfixed at our TVs and tried to make sense out of what we were hearing. Thousands dead, heroes in the sky, the nation’s capital attacked, on and on the list went. When the dust finally settled, both literally and figuratively, we knew that 2,977 Americans had been killed. All at the hands of 19 terrorists.

Two weeks later the Onion proved that America could take a punch and get up laughing. Under the headline Hijackers Surprised To Find Selves In Hell they managed to get everything right without offending anyone. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that, as I check my Facebook page, Neil Steinberg has also cited this article as a must read for the weekend. I imagine others will as well.

JAHANNEM, OUTER DARKNESS—The hijackers who carried out the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon expressed confusion and surprise Monday to find themselves in the lowest plane of Na’ar, Islam’s Hell.

“I was promised I would spend eternity in Paradise, being fed honeyed cakes by 67 virgins in a tree-lined garden, if only I would fly the airplane into one of the Twin Towers,” said Mohammed Atta, one of the hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11, between attempts to vomit up the wasps, hornets, and live coals infesting his stomach. “But instead, I am fed the boiling feces of traitors by malicious, laughing Ifrit. Is this to be my reward for destroying the enemies of my faith?”

The rest of Atta’s words turned to raw-throated shrieks, as a tusked, asp-tongued demon burst his eyeballs and drank the fluid that ran down his face.

According to Hell sources, the 19 eternally damned terrorists have struggled to understand why they have been subjected to soul-withering, infernal torture ever since their Sept. 11 arrival.

“There was a tumultuous conflagration of burning steel and fuel at our gates, and from it stepped forth these hijackers, the blessed name of the Lord already turning to molten brass on their accursed lips,” said Iblis The Thrice-Damned, the cacodemon charged with conscripting new arrivals into the ranks of the forgotten. “Indeed, I do not know what they were expecting, but they certainly didn’t seem prepared to be skewered from eye socket to bunghole and then placed on a spit so that their flesh could be roasted by the searing gale of flatus which issues forth from the haunches of Asmoday.”

“Which is strange when you consider the evil with which they ended their lives and those of so many others,” added Iblis, absentmindedly twisting the limbs of hijacker Abdul Aziz Alomari into unspeakably obscene shapes.

“I was told that these Americans were enemies of the one true religion, and that Heaven would be my reward for my noble sacrifice,” said Alomari, moments before his jaw was sheared away by faceless homunculi. “But now I am forced to suckle from the 16 poisoned leathern teats of Gophahmet, Whore of Betrayal, until I burst from an unwholesome engorgement of curdled bile. This must be some sort of terrible mistake.”

Exacerbating the terrorists’ tortures, which include being hollowed out and used as prophylactics by thorn-cocked Gulbuth The Rampant, is the fact that they will be forced to endure such suffering in sight of the Paradise they were expecting.

“It might actually be the most painful thing we can do, to show these murderers the untold pleasures that would have awaited them in Paradise, if only they had lived pious lives,” said Praxitas, Duke of Those Willingly Led Astray. “I mean, it’s tough enough being forced through a wire screen by the callused palms of Halcorym and then having your entrails wound onto a stick and fed to the toothless, foul-breathed swine of Gehenna. But to endure that while watching the righteous drink from a river of wine? That can’t be fun.”

Underworld officials said they have not yet decided on a permanent punishment for the terrorists.

“Eventually, we’ll settle on an eternal and unending task for them,” said Lord Androalphus, High Praetor of Excruciations. “But for now, everyone down here wants a crack at them. The legions of fang-wombed hags will take their pleasure on their shattered carcasses for most of this afternoon. Tomorrow, their flesh will be melted from their bones like wax in the burning embrace of the Mother of Cowards. The day after that, they’ll be sodomized by the Fallen and their bowels shredded by a demonic ejaculate of burning sand. Then, on Sunday, Satan gets them all day. I can’t even imagine what he’s got cooked up for them.”

If I can ask you to remember one thing it would be this; it was not “Muslims” who attacked us. It was a group of psychotics who wrap themselves in the religion of the week. The people who followed Osama bin Laden are no more an accurate representation of Islam than the Westboro Baptist Church is of Christianity or the Ku Klux Klan is of Anglos.

There was, and is, a mosque less than 4 blocks from the towers. It was built just after World War II and the people who attend there have been part of the warp and weft of everyday life for decades without incident.

People like bin Laden paint in broad strokes. They make it easy to hate since all their followers see is an abstraction. His followers don’t see Bill & Big Star & Hino & Slim & Toko, they see a group that is unlike their group. They see an entity that they must remove. I see the same going on over here and wonder if some of the most vitriolic know that they seem to be agreeing with bin Laden as they tout their patriotism.

The real victory over terrorism is a simple one, don’t let them make you hate as they hate. Look at the truth instead of the easy lie. Remember that people, once you strip away the social veneer, are pretty much the same the world over. They want a safe home for their family, food on their table and a community to share with their friends.

It’s not that much to ask and it’s easy enough to understand.

Have a safe weekend.


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