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Aaron Whitfield/The Gauntlet

America's tragedy

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Welcome to the American Dream. It now lies under ash, paper, steel and bodies. Such is the reality of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C., last Tues., Sept. 11.

Do you remember the dream? It is the dream that provides the enduring symbols of today's society: corporate logos, American capitalism and the pretense of a democracy that is less invincible than we believed. It's the dream that makes America so picturesque, so perfect in its prosperity.

This dream will keep Americans going, despite the lives lost and the ensuing economic chaos. Although most of North America awoke on Tuesday to intense images of destruction, all will never wake up from the American Dream because it will perpetuate itself. It will now include a nightmare, but the darkness will only become the sounding board by which the dream will live on--a rallying call for future retaliation, rebuilding and war.

The dream brought both Americans and Canadians to where we are today. It gives us the charade of a life that, if lived in the same fashion that was free of disaster, would have continued in collective ignorance. It's also the dream that uses inflated advertising to support a massive capitalistic machinery whose end result is a gross excess of baubles and other unessential products. There is no doubt the dream exists, and the assertion that the dream provides some context for understanding the attacks is not without merit.

It provides a world where the excess of wealth and the disparity between the rich and poor is acceptable, justified and thoroughly hegemonic. It provides a value system that allows externalized injustice to occur everywhere. It is the dream that produced the hate we endured on Tuesday.

The scope and the magnitude of the coordinated attacks means someone out there believes the attacks were justified and purposeful. It means that the lives lost were necessary to make the world understand the depth of the grievances held by the terrorists. Although it is appalling these means were used, there is a reason for them and we must not forget this. The words senseless and loss take on different meanings when viewed from the terrorist perspective. There is a context for the events at hand that extend far beyond America.

On Tuesday, thousands died. However, there is little doubt that the American Dream will continue in immortality.

Michael Leung

Gauntlet Editor-in-Chief

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