Every Sept. 11, Americans are solemnly reminded of that day in 2001 when their country was attacked by Al Qaeda terrorists resulting in 3,000 deaths. Many have debated the effects of focusing so heavily on the tragedy long after and I do not intend to say more about that matter. However, little attention is given to the effects that day had on other countries. Because of the attacks, America launched the War on Terror, which aside from costing trillions of dollars, has led to an estimated 800,000 deaths and as many as 59 million people being displaced. This does not take into account indirect deaths caused by infrastructure damage leading to issues such as starvation disease, which would bring the death toll into the millions. Arguing the merit of wars that have killed about one million people to avenge 3,000 is not my intention either. No. Instead, I want to talk about another event of a different Sept. 11 that is neither discussed nor commemorated. This is because, rather than presenting America as the “chosen nation,” it presents America as it is: a nation that prioritizes imperialistic expansion and market share over all else and one that has inflicted untold suffering around the world.
“It Presents america as it is: a nation that prioritizes imperialistic expansion and market share over all else and one that has inflicted untold suffering around the world.”
In Nov. 1970, Marxist politician Salvador Allende was elected president of Chile. Allende embarked on a sweeping series of social and economic reforms to improve the livelihood of Chileans. He nationalized the copper industry, finally giving Chileans the profit from their resources. Indigenous children were encouraged to enter colleges and the minimum wage was raised substantially. Women were given increased access to healthcare and in the countryside, campaigns to eliminate illiteracy were launched. In all sectors, the lives of Chileans were improving. It must also be stated that Allende was a communist. He was neither following a Bernie Sanders model nor a Nordic Model: He was actively pursuing socialist policies. By this, I mean he actively sought to transition Chile into a totally socialist economy — one in which all means of production would be in the hands of the workers (either through collective ownership of property or state control). While he wanted to accomplish this through peaceful means, his goal was not to reform capitalism; It was to remove it. Allende drew closer to Cuba, the USSR and China, which alarmed the U.S.
On Sept.11, 1973, Allende was overthrown in a U.S. backed coup and General Augusto Pinochet was installed as dictator of the country. Allende committed suicide, refusing to fall into the hands of the military. After consolidating power, Pinochet took part in what may be the largest state sponsored terrorism of modern times. Supported by the U.S., right-wing dictators from all across South America participated in Operation Condor. This plan was designed to purge socialist and communist elements from these nations, and to secure U.S. dominance in the region. 80,000 people are estimated to have died or “disappeared” as a result.
Some of those who did not end up murdered were tortured and abused in horrendous conditions — something that Pinochet’s establishment was known for. To this day, lawsuits from the missing families are still pending, and the U.S. hasn’t had to shoulder any blame. 80,000 dead. That is more than 25 9/11s. America might want to mourn itself on Sept. 11 and those it lost, but what are the people of South America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Korea and Central America supposed to think on that day? For the millions of lives lost in America’s aggression, there is no moment of silence. There is no flag at half mast. The sad truth is, what happened on 9/11 was America feeling a portion of the pain it has inflicted upon much of the world for failing to cooperate with its desire for both an increase in America’s economic sphere and a strengthening of its imperialist hold upon much of the world.