Were I to openly express the same opinion that the Nobel Prize winner recently did about 9/11 and its true magnitude, I would probably get verbally crucified by most people I go to school with and even by some professors. Some opinions are just taboos. It was bad enough having to share the same amphitheater with them when I broke it to them in my freshman year that god didn't exist. It was bad enough when a friend of mine picked Hitler for an essay about a leadership figure he admired. The professor called him for private consultations to let him know that doing so was inappropriate, even though the essay topic nowhere specified preference for morality of the chosen model. Saying what Doris Lessing said would have been characterized as blasphemy of the highest degree.
"September 11 was terrible, but if one goes back over the history of the IRA, what happened to the Americans wasn't that terrible," the Nobel Literature Prize winner told the leading Spanish daily El Pais.
"Some Americans will think I'm crazy. Many people died, two prominent buildings fell, but it was neither as terrible nor as extraordinary as they think. They're a very naive people, or they pretend to be," she said in an interview published Sunday.
"Do you know what people forget? That the IRA attacked with bombs against our government; it killed several people while a Conservative congress was being held and in which the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, was (attending). People forget," she said.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks. About 3,700 died and tens of thousands of people were maimed in more than 30 years of violence in Northern Ireland.
I found the entire 9/11 affair horrible, granted. So did the American people. But the emotional proximity to an event should not affect one's system of reference, his ability to perceive magnitude of events and their meaning. Doris Lessing said this and I applaud the fact that she did. I'm not certain just how widely her statement will be heard, though, and how well it will be understood. Media have their way of spinning and twisting what people say. If they didn't, all the people working in the industry would be homeless. About a month ago I received a formal confirmation that even high education doesn't mean jack shit in the face of core ignorance, when the president of Iran visited Columbia U in NY. Many students of this esteemed institution rallied to protest his arrival calling him 'evil' and sending him to hell. The same students that went back to school the day after only to talk about the freedom of speech. How lovely.
It is the ability to think critically that I consider the most beautiful of human traits. It is the lack thereof that annoys me to no end.