Sunday, May 28, 2006

Norman Geras: A beginning

Norman Geras published his speech at the launch of the Euston Manifesto. Here's a quote,
The first of these: 9/11 - September 11, 2001. It is a day imprinted on the public memory - indelibly - because the crime committed in New York and Washington DC announced a terrible willingness, of which few previously had been aware: a willingness to use terror without limit for political ends; a terrorism, that is to say, unconstrained by any concern about the numbers of the innocent dead. That day was both an end and a beginning because it showed, and to many of us in an instant, that the world was now different, dangerously so, and in a way not amenable to simple-minded responses.

This brings me to a second end and beginning, and if I may get your indulgence for this, I will frame it in more personal terms. It happened in the days immediately following 9/11. Not just simple-minded, but cold, shameful, appalling responses to the crime that had been perpetrated, parading across the pages of the liberal and left press. You know the terms of it: blowback; comeuppance; yes, a crime of course but... But what? But a crime to be contextualized immediately, just in case you might be unaware that it wasn't the first or the worst crime in human history.

This kind of stuff, I regret to say, was coming principally from a part of the left. And in those few days, 12, 13, 14 September 2001, it became clear to me that this part of the left wasn't a part one should have anything - or anything more, depending on where you were at the time - to do with if the left was to have a worthwhile future and merit anybody's support.

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