Skip to main content

the other 9/11

i've been making my way, with some lengthy breaks, through noam chomsky's latest, "failed states". it's by no means his strongest work, but it does touch on a number of interesting issues, including events surrounding 9/11.

by 9/11, i mean september 11, 1973, when an american-backed coup overthrew chile's salvador allende and replaced him with general augusto pinochet. because we've heard so much about that later 9/11, i thought it would be interesting to share a few facts on the original:

- approximately 3,200 people died according to official figures (which are widely viewed to be understated by as much as half).

- adjusted proportionally to population, that is roughly equivalent to between 50 and 100,000 americans being killed at once.

- there were 30,000 cases of torture in pinochet's chile, according to an official inquiry. (adjusted proportionally to population again, that would be the equivalent of 700,000 americans.)

augusto pinochet remained the darling of both ronald reagan and margaret thatcher throughout his reign of terror, something neither has ever bothered to admit was wrong and a travesty of the ideals they purported to defend.

funny, you never hear about that 9/11 nowadays. i wonder why? no, i don't, really. i know.

Comments

spartacus mills said…
Thankyou for posting this. The original 9/11 is a subject particularly close to my heart. One of my very first blog posts was on the subject.
flora_mundi said…
my absolute pleasure. i went back and read your original blog post and i'm glad to know there are people who are trying to bring some perspective to the world.
Jeff said…
The math in this part confused me:

"- approximately 3,20 people died according to official figures (which are widely viewed to be understated by as much as half).

- adjusted proportionally to population, that is roughly equivalent to between 50 and 100,000 americans being killed at once. "

But, yeah, I've known people who had to get away from that situation in Chile. Do you know anything about a paramilitary religious sect that worked with Pinochet called Colonia Dignidad?

Also, another September 11th was when that guy killed himself flying his light plane into the White House on 9-11-1996. Coincidence or conspiracy? You decide.
flora_mundi said…
*hangs head in embarrassment*

for starters, i obviouslsy made a typo there... the figure should have been 3200, not 320... i've gone back and corrected it, thanks.

basically, the math is that 3200, as a percentage of the chilean population at the time, would have been roughly equivalent to between 50 and 100 thousand americans...
John said…
Try to see Ken Loach's contribution to the film 11'9"01, it deals specifically with this tragically overshadowed (ignored?) part of history.
TPN said…
Thanks for the post.
9/11 - On 11 September 1990, George H.W. Bush delivered his famous "Toward A New World Order" speech.
Jeff said…
My head has humilated itself again. The guy who crashed his plane into the White House did it on September 11, 1994, not 1996 as I stated above.

Here's a link to that:

http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/context.jsp?item=a091194frankcorder

Also, just in case it needs to be stated, I brought it up as an interesting further coincidence about that date. It was not intended to be a coy reference to the cryptically intriguing harsh aural texture combo.
fade.radius said…
9/11 '73 was also a conflicting time for Northern Egypt, as Israel was circling in to take more territory at the tip of the Red Sea area also resulting in deadly casualty.
It's almost like 9/11 is a f'king apocalyptic jynx number...the glitched code...the file with a virus.
I just hope the in next 9/11 cycle I'm abducted by aliens (or something), this whole history repeating itself (like a bad tecno loop track) is starting to irritate...

Though for the record, as a Chilean, thank you for taking the effort in this post.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …

don't speak

you might think that it sounds dramatic, but linguistic genocide is something that happens. people in power will go to great lengths to eradicate certain languages, not just for the sheer joy of making the world a lesser place, but as a way of beating down the culture that's associated with it. language has a unique reciprocal bond with culture, and every group that has attempted to break down another has recognised that forbidding a cultural group from communicating in their own language is an extremely effective way to tear apart their culture.

there are lots [and lots and lots and lots] of examples of this sort of thing, some successful, some not, but far too many to cover in one blog post. however, i thought it was worth looking at some languages that have been the subjects of active repression, and what the political consequences of that have been.

devastation :: the native north american languages :: it should come as no surprise that the largest genocide in history [by a ma…