Sept 11th Revisited
On the day the planes crashed down five years ago, I had more in common with the terrorists at the controls than I did with the people murdered by them..
That is a hard thing to admit, to face, to come to grips with.
Just writing about it is troubling.
A true sense of fear and loathing, with more emphasis on the latter. I don’t want to write this and I don’t want to think about it, but I feel I owe it to myself to do so.
I cannot watch the documentaries about 9/11 nor can I bear to see Hollywood’s take on that day’s events, but do not begrudge anyone else for doing so.
On Sept 11th 2001, I was still “in” MOVE. My child would be born exactly four months later to the day. I had a steady job and a beautiful wife whom I adored with all of my being.
According to the ideology that I espoused, the “system” was evil and must be destroyed. But until Sept 11th I had only an abstract notion of the power of ideas, or just how such ideas could lead to horrific consequences.
We were told that Sept 11, 2001 “changed everything”. Others would tell us that it altered nothing. It was said by others that America was finally being forced to deal with what most of the world had to deal with on a daily basis. More still would go on to say that those who died that day had it coming, they were “little Eichmans”. America’s proverbial chickens coming home to roost.
For me however, Sept 11 did change a lot, but such a change could not come all at once. I was close geographically to all of the scenes of 9/11's destruction. The small town where Flight 93 plunged to the ground was a couple hours to the west. New York was an hour or so to the north and DC a couple of hours to the south. Still, the calamity that had unfolded in all of these places was surreal to me as I sat glued to CNN watching the terrible tragedy that was seemingly endless.
I knew that any sense of dismay at the events of that day would be regarded by my comrades in MOVE as a kind of disloyalty. While no MOVE members were foolish enough to be caught dancing in the streets, the group quietly celebrated. There were no grand speeches by the sect’s leaders, or statements, or anything formal like that. In actuality there was no need for that kind of thing. Nobody had to say anything at all.
We all just kind of knew. John Africa had long predicted that if MOVE “go down”, than so would America. In a letter sent to Mayor Goode just before the May 13th 1985 bombing, MOVE members wrote that if the cult was attacked that “knee joints” of America would “soon break” and that the country would fall.
From the view of MOVE’s true believers, Sept 11th could be seen only as the beginning of the end of “the system”, a prophecy being played out in reality.
This was not my opinion however. But what I thought really didn’t matter. Despite my quiet mourning of the Sept 11th victims, I was still pumping out MOVE propaganda and went on with things like a good little soldier. I kept following my orders, but I can say now without a doubt that I was not the same inside as I was before the planes smashed into the buildings.
In me began the stirs of a quiet contempt for the Islamic terrorists who perpetrated the attacks as well as those who would make apologies and excuses for them.
And so when the Taliban regime was swept from power by coalition forces I quietly celebrated.
So while I was beginning to understand the horrors of religiously inspired authoritarianism, I realized I could no longer ignore the fact that I was a part of a sect that was itself rooted in a nightmare of terror, and an ideology that was at least as backwards as that of the violent jihadists.
I knew then that I had to get out. But how?
On Sept 27th 2002 my extrication from MOVE became an absolute, albeit very quiet, priority. I remember getting the call at work that John Gilbride had been killed. I remember slumping down in my chair in disbelief. “They did it” I said to myself over and over. “They” being my MOVE family. Leaving MOVE became not an “if”, or “how”, but “when”. And it was not just for me that I had to get away from MOVE, but also for my wife and new child, the two most important people in the world to me.
Now, five years after Sept 11th and four years after the death of John Gilbride I look back.
I recall vividly how in 1999 I attended a “political prisoner” conference at a conference in New York City along with MOVE members. All of the usual suspects were there giving there usual platitude laden speeches. One speaker however stood out to me then and stands out now. He was a representative of an Islamic group whose name escapes me, although I think he had something to do with the so-called “blind sheik” who had helped to orchestrate the original attack on the World Trade Center. This speaker was clear that America would “soon” be made to pay for it’s transgressions against the Muslim world. His fiery oratory was met with the most rousing applause of the evening. Everyone was clapping voraciously...myself included.
I also can remember Alberta Africa’s seemingly out-of-the blue wedding to MOVE supporter Gary Wonderlin just a couple of months after her former husband John Gilbride had been murdered. She stood up there in her white dress and bragged about how MOVE had again “beat the system”. Again, everyone whooped it up. Everyone except for me. I knew what she meant.