September 16, 2005
September 11, two sides of terror

On Sunday last, two peoples of two continents commemorated two acts of extreme brutality against their countries and their peoples that coincidentally occurred on the same dates, though years apart.

In New York and across many other states of the American union, many still suffer the loss of innocent lives from that infamous attack September 11th 2001, the date when hijackers re-directed the paths of four planes into the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon. {{more}}

The world joined the people of the United States in condemning this barbaric act.

Meanwhile, in Chile on the South American continent, also on September 11th, but in 1973, another barbaric act was committed which moved many lovers of justice, law and order around the world. On that date, a group of military officials led by one General Augusto Pinochet, attacked with military planes and tanks, the Palacio de la Moneda, where the democratically elected President Salvador Allende resided. This attack did not stop until the entire palace was destroyed, burnt to the ground, following which the body of President Allende was removed by a side entrance called Morende 80. History has now accepted the complicity of the Central Intelligence Agency in that coup d’etat. Sunday, a floral arrangement was placed at that entrance in honour of the beloved and murdered President.

The acts committed on September 11 in the United States laid the basis of the so-called War on Terror which changed the world as we knew it. It also lay the pretext for attacks on two states, Afghanistan and Iraq and the arrest of thousands of mostly Muslim believers worldwide, many of whom have never been charged with any crime.

The September 11th attacks in Chile was another matter. It marked the beginning of a long period of ignominy during which thousands of supporters of the democratic process by which President Allende had been elected were arrested, hoarded into stadia and many murdered. Then during the long years of Pinochet’s rule, many more thousands of young persons simply disappeared from the face of Chile and the earth. Strangely enough, during this period, the United States remained a firm friend of the Chilean dictatorship all along from 1973 to 1990.

Many Chileans sought refuge abroad in countries as diverse as France and other parts of Latin America. Pinochet remained meanwhile a great friend of the government of the United States of America not withstanding those horrible acts committed on September 11th 1973.

Each year since the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet finally stepped aside to allow the democratic process to reign once more, the people of Chile attempt to commemorate the memory of their beloved President Allende and the many “desaparecidos” (disappeared ones) as they are referred to.

This Sunday, violence was anticipated, once again, during the march to the Palacio de la Moneda. Violence, because of the frustration and anger of a people who still seek justice from a government, now elected, but which still fears the military and seeks to protect the ex-dictator Augusto Pinochet and his co-conspirators from facing justice for their many crimes.

Meanwhile the government of the United States, cries, rightly, for justice from the perpetrators of their September 11th attacks. But for some strange reason it stands either firmly alongside or in silence in relation to the cries for justice by the people of Chile against the perpetrators of their own September 11.

The legacy remains of the two sides of terror.