Neighbor To Neighbor – A Post 9/11 World

It’s been more than a month since we observed the anniversary of September 11, 2001. I spent that weekend at a 9/11 event in New York City where I was privileged to speak. It forced me to look more deeply at where we’ve come since that tragic day – to ask questions, such as:

What have we experienced since September 11, 2001? Is our world better, more just, and more unified? Do we have more freedom and equality? Do impoverished people around the planet have greater access to basic necessities? Is there less violence? Less destruction of the environment? Less pollution? Less war and terror?

The answers to these, and similar, questions are of course not the ones any of us like to hear. However, if we want a future that is peaceful, prosperous and emotionally fulfilling, we must ask such questions – and we must commit to a new era that changes the answers. We as citizens cannot step back from the responsibility to do all we can to create better solutions – not only for ourselves but also for our neighbors at home and abroad.

After September 11, 2001, we in the US were told we had to unite in a spirit of patriotism and unity against an enemy. We were told to come together so that we could be stronger against them, and we’ve allowed this polarized perspective to poison our foreign policy, our choices for elected officials, and the way we treat each other. We didn’t ask questions or insist on evidence.

We allowed ourselves to be terribly deceived. And the result has been a Death Economy that has all but destroyed the American middle class, widened the gap between rich and poor, and negatively impacted the entire world. It has also seeded and nurtured the growth of that which we were told we should most fear, Islamic extremism.

Our government and the corporatocracy have been quick, overly quick, to point fingers and lay blame on specific groups and ideologies for the attacks on 9/11. It is time for us all to understand that the actions which followed gave them ever increasing power and profits. They convinced us to aim at a distant target. Better a target in a foreign land then people and companies in our own backyard.

By keeping us divided from our brothers and sisters in other parts of the world, they bolster their ability to remain in power. By keeping us afraid of an illusionary enemy, they keep us dependent on their imaginary – yet very costly – protection against that enemy.

As long as we continue to hate whomever they tell us to hate and to fight against others in the interest of patriotism, we are playing into their hands, helping their bottom lines, and sabotaging the future of our shared planet.

Speaking at that 9/11 event and hearing the other speakers – one after another pointing out the many abuses we have suffered following 9/11 – I saw how what has happened to us is exactly what we were told Osama bin Laden wanted to have happen to us. I saw too that now it is time for us to wake up. It’s time to realize that this us-versus-them story is a misleading and self-destructive story. The age-old “we are the victims of evil forces” myth serves the corporatocracy, not we the people.

All of us, all life forms that inhabit this fragile spaceship, our Living Earth, share the same basic human rights to food, water, clean air, shelter, health care, and essential freedoms. We must accept responsibility to care for each other, and stop turning a blind eye to the reality that actions which divide us are not solutions.

By shifting the worn-out old story, we empower ourselves to take power back from the giant corporations and politicians who want to run the world at our expense. This Death Economy they are selling us day in and day out can be shifted to a Life Economy. We can do it, you and me, by joining together and applying our energies with diligence, perseverance, and the joy that comes from doing good work.

Photo Credit:  KConnors

About John Perkins

John is a founder and board member of Dream Change & The Pachamama Alliance, non-profit organizations devoted to establishing a world future generations will want to inherit & the author of the NY Times bestseller, Confessions Of An Economic Hitman.

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