Orville W. Taylor

9/11 Black-Out
It is now five years since the tragic events of September 11, 2001, commonly referred to as 9/11. Then, three years ago, an international force, spearheaded by the US and the UK went into Iraq, toppled its dictator and took control of the country.

And the world is a safer place, right? Wake up. This misconception may just ‘blow up in your face.’

There is little hope that the promised ‘victory’ is in sight. Apart from the removal of the Marquis de Saddam Hussain, the positive achievements of the American and British led invasion and occupation have been few. In any event, regime change, though clearly an objective of American president George Bush, was not on the selling cards for the military intervention, especially by the British. Rather, it was in pursuit of weapons of mass destruction. (WMD) These alleged weapons were apparently far better hidden than Saddam because he added an entirely different meaning to the term ‘being pigeon-holed’. No WMD has ever been found.

While I have always had misgivings about Saddam, I was opposed to an invasion without the approval of the United Nations (UN). You see, I am a stickler for lawfulness and international standards. Bush had the support of most of the US then, but Britain’s Tony Blair had no such consensus from the Brits. Many wondered why Blair, generally seen as more knowledgeable and world savvy, would want to follow someone who still calls the country by a wrong name. After all, ‘I-Rack’ is an ancient torture device and it is not found in the Middle East. Well, perhaps in Abu Ghraib and other secret locations that the American president now acknowledges exist.


It has been at best a tedious war and one of the greatest casualties seems to have been the truth. Just fewer than 3,000 coalition troops have been killed. Ten times that number of Iraqis have perished in the ‘war’ since March 2003 and the country is on the verge of a civil war. Without a clear sense of accomplishment or direction, Iraq is like a, “Blair, which project?”

With both Bush and Blair still holding firm to their original decision to invade, many of their supporters are saying that the issue is not clear-cut but a series of ‘grey’ areas. Sorry mate, I see it in black and white.

What might not be apparent is that this ‘war on terror’ has disproportionately affected people of colour more than whites. First of all, inasmuch as the 9/11 disaster is one of the worst in history; hardly anyone knows that the pilot of United Airlines Flight 93, which went down in Pennsylvania, was Black Leroy Homer. There is a movie out called Flight 93 and he does not even appear in the ‘blackground’.

Of the more than 3,000 who died on 9/11, I bet that it not known that close to 25 per cent of them were Black. Even more tragic is the fact that one of the heroes of the post crash rescue is depicted in the movie as white even though he is African- American. Marine Sergeant Jason Thomas is portrayed by white actor, William Mapother.


Even Private Soshanna Johnson, captured near the front lines is as obscure as her complexion, while Caucasian Jessica Lynch became a media darling. The invisibility of Black people prompted former CNN commentator, Julianne Malveaux and researcher Reginna Green to publish an anthology, The Paradox of Loyalty: an African-American Response to the War on Terror.

It is perhaps not known that there have been even more fatalities in Afghanistan. Among them are more blacks than whites. Although Black people comprise only 13 per cent of the US population they are around 20 percent of the American armed forces.

Afghanistan and Iraq have taken, at least four Fijians as well and many other Commonwealth citizens who are lured to the British Army due to poverty in their countries. It is not different for African-American and UK Black people.

So, as we remember the victims and the still-imminent threat presented to our way of life, let us remember our own and not black them out.