On Saturday, the world marked the 15th anniversary of the defining moment of a generation: the 9/11 attacks in the United States. The original 9/11 moment did not occur in a vacuum; in a larger sense it was simply a battle in a war that neither started nor ended on September 11th, 2001. But for millions of people around the world there was nothing “simple” about it; it was very, very real. Thousands of people lost their lives on that day. Millions more watched the replays in horror. And some people… well, some people celebrated the loss of life.
Some people are celebrating in the wake of another 9/11 tragedy, but this one didn’t happen in America. One year ago, a construction crane toppled into the Grand Mosque in Mecca, killing more than 100 Muslim pilgrims who were participating in the annual hajj, or journey to Mecca, that all Muslims are expected to perform at least once in their lives. Some people, including some Americans, saw this event, and its timing, as some type of grand karmic justice against Muslims in general and Saudi Arabia in particular for the original 9/11. Someone even asked if I’m happy that this happened.
To answer that question, I need to offer some background. I have always been, and always will be, all about America first. Generally speaking, I care little about what happens to other countries, or their people, unless it’s going to have a negative impact on America. I served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan in large part to help keep more “9/11s” from happening to us in the future, and have a deeply personal and visceral loathing for Al Qaeda and all of their ilk. I regularly cheered when I watched live Predator footage of combatants being killed, and I got drunk off my ass the night I heard that we finally got Bin Laden. I am not blind to the fact that the majority of those involved in the 9/11 attacks in America, especially its mastermind, were Saudi Arabian nationals and I recognize the complicity of the Saudi Arabian government in laying the Wahhabi groundwork that gave rise to so much evil.
But even with all of the above said, I can take no pleasure in learning of the deaths of people whose only “crimes” were what they chose to believe, where they chose to live, and where they chose to be standing on the 11th of September. That kind of thinking –that people are deserving of death simply because of who they are, not because of anything they’ve done– is what led a bunch of cowardly, murderous bastards to carry out the original 9/11 attacks. If that crane would have fallen onto Al Qaeda’s headquarters, or an IED factory, or maybe even a group of ultra-radical militant clerics, that might have been one thing. But to fall on a group of people that, for all we know, are completely innocent? Nope, that’s not my thing.
So no, I don’t think it’s some sort of karmic justice or divine retribution that a massive crane crushed a bunch of Muslim worshipers in Mecca on the day of the 14th anniversary of the most lethal terrorist attack in history. To the contrary, I think it’s a tragedy, and I’d like to think that everyone who holds American values dear will see it the same way.