An Inclusive Litany

9/11/01

From an e-mail message sent to the "sisters and friends" of Robin Morgan, an NEA award-winning poet, founder of the Sisterhood is Powerful Institute, and former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine. Morgan, who lives in Greenwich Village, here responds to numerous expressions of concern over her safety following the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in nearby downtown Manhattan, September 11, 2001:
First, thank you from my heart for all your thoughts.... So many, many of you have astonishingly cited my book The Demon Lover as the essential expression/analysis of what has just happened (as well as the background and underlying conflicts) that even in the midst of deep sorrow and grief you have renewed my belief that art, an attempted clarity of thought, and a stubborn politics of transformation do make a contribution....

This morning the National Guard arrived—and on my dawn walk I could just as well have been walking through a military state: police, state troopers, and emergency personnel on every corner below 14th Street, with trucks filled with Guardsmen, rifles bayoneted and at ready, beginning to roll through the streets....

Already, mosques are being defaced and Internet chat rooms are spewing hate against "all Arabs." We (feminists, progressives, etc.) are doing everything we can to avoid this kind of escalating nightmare—and a network of safe houses is already being set up to shelter and help innocent Arab or Muslim civilians who might be persecuted in the wake of this tragedy.... This morning I was touched to learn that the Pagan and Wiccan community is doing the same thing, in the name of religious freedom from persecution....

I trust with all my heart that you will each do all you possibly can in your own countries, cities, and situations to educate people as to WHY this kind of tragedy happens—that it is NOT just "madmen" or "monsters" or "subhuman maniacs" who commit dramatic violence, but that such acts occur in a daily climate of patriarchal violence so epidemic as to be invisible in its normality—and that such tactics as this come from a complex set of circumstances, including despair over not being heard.

[Ed.: So presumably, the hijackers—acting as agents of a radical religious cause that enslaves women—were feeling acutely disempowered in an atmosphere of patriarchal violence? Would that Ms. Morgan spent five minutes living under the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, her ability to think clearly would improve.]

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