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« Budapest: L'Éternel Retour 30.4.06 [FR] | Main | Last Plame Ditch by Hitchens? »

Why Flight 93 is to be Remembered

The Washington Post (4/25/06): Lone Lawmaker Blocks Flight 93 Monument in Pa. :

For emotional wallop, there are few rivals to the windswept, grassy field outside of Shanksville, Pa., where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on Sept. 11, 2001.

But for three years, that field has made do with a makeshift monument while one member of Congress, Rep. Charles H. Taylor (R-N.C.), has blocked a $10 million request to buy the land for a permanent memorial to the 40 passengers and crew members who overpowered hijackers bent on crashing their jet into the Capitol or the White House.

This remembers me of something I decided to do in October 2001. The Flight 93 passengers did something that I consider the better alternative to all the Homeland bureaucracy, the illegal spying on citizens, the thunder of sophisticated war on innocent people in unrelated countries (Iraq), most of the policy changes that followed Sept. 11, 2001.
"Let's roll!", said one of the passengers, when, 30 minutes after the moment the three hijackers took over the command of the plane, they realized (by calling on mobile phones) that their plane was in the hands of the same kind of terrorists, who had just flown into the WTC towers. What they did (attacking the hijackers and trying to enter the cockpit) was forbidden and punishable at that moment. But they decided to act collectively. From a group of individual passengers, instantly a community was created. They took responsability for themselves and, the voice records of telephone conversations and the cabin-records witness that too, decided to take heavy risks to save the lives of other people, the people at the presumed target of the terrorists.
There was no precedent, no model, for their action. In fact, modern society discourages this kind of acting. And it still does. The main lesson from Flight 93 has not been learned.
That lesson is, that the only way to counter terrorism, and, better still, to prevent it, is to empower citizens. That means: to trust them. Which is the contrary to what happens in these times: secrecy, disarming, strict control, discouragement of community and collectivity and their self-management.
The Pennsylvania site where Flight 93 crashed (Wikipedia)
In my opinion, it is important to note, that the two instances we know of, that an Al Quaeda terrorist attack was prevented or made to fail, are this passengers revolt on Flight 93 on Sept. 11 (which prevented a second disaster in Washington, like the one at the Pentagon, and nearly saved most of the passengers and part of the crew), and another collective action on a plane, some months later, when vigilant passengers discovered the manipulations of the "shoe-bomber".
To me, that is the main reason, why Flight 93 should be remembered appropriately, visibly and with great respect. And that is why I suppose, that, perhaps unconsciously, the Republican Senator for North Carolina, Charles H. Taylor, shuns spending some money to honour people who acted as responsible, independent citizens. Not as sheep in Bush' or Taylor's flock. No, like the Americans, I admire.

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