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Count your blessings. You didn't get anthrax. You didn't plummet from the sky.

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Censoring Thanksgiving 2001

by Kelly Cogswell

NOVEMBER 27, 2001. The broad arm of U.S. political and cultural censorship is tattooed with the ridiculous and the obscene. The networks snip facts from the battlefields, maintain radio silence about massive protests abroad denouncing the U.S. war. They truncate the story of the Christian aide workers released by the glorious Northern Alliance "forgetting" to add how they had to flee their rescuers when the Afghani townsfolk decided it would be profitable to hold the workers for ransom.

Last Monday, there was a whole piece in The New Yorker about crashed American Airlines flight 587. Focus: the tragic effect of the crash, burnt homes, and handful of deaths on the mostly white Queens community that lost dozens of firefighters in 9/11. Not once was mentioned the word Dominican — instead the couple hundred Dominican dead were contorted into Irish cops and firemen.

Thanksgiving day, the House and Home section of The New York Times was full of stories by famous writers hunkering down autumnally with families and friends in their kitchens or dens, survivors counting their blessings, making comfort food, making peace with the New World Order. Nothing about inconsolable grief, ordinary broken-heartedness, the unglamorous misery of the unemployed. Count your blessings. You didn't get anthrax. You didn't plummet from the sky.

Thanksgiving in New York was sunny and warm as ordered by the Administration. Dogs strained energetically on their leashes. Last minute shoppers were in their spring shirt sleeves. But when I opened the window for fresh air, what I got was the smell of melting computers and a mass crematorium burning for the 73rd continuous day just a dozen blocks to my south.

When the wind comes from there, I think I'm losing my mind. My eyes tear up. I can't read newspapers or watch TV. Each new death in the world is a fresh wound. I feel New York's losses like an amputee. I hate the self-righteous victorious right and the self-righteous anti-war left congratulating themselves over their cranberries as they abstract their enemies and friends to death.

I long for what the Pilgrims and Indians had that first Thanksgiving, that brief moment of grace when the harvest was gathered in, prepared, blessed and ladled up. It was like a truce, a pause in history before the massacres, revenge, conquests, and retribution. Native Americans weren't noble savage victims or alcoholic degenerates. Whites weren't god-blessed, consecrated victors or the Great Satan. At the table I imagine they were all just human, with modest human hungers satisfied by what they shared.

Now unity means sit down, shut up, or disappear. Dead bury the dead.

For Complete Coverage WTC Attack and Aftermath

For Complete Coverage New York

The Gully In Depth

WTC Attack
Guide to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks and aftermath. Includes info on Afghanistan and the Taliban.

New York City news, opinion, and headlines. Dirty secrets and surprising treasures of the city.

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