Thursday, September 11, 2008

Our 9/11 and Theirs

September 11th is now engraved on the consciousness of
Americans. We are all grief stricken for the victims of our 911. As we mourn our own, let us not forget that other countries have had their 911s. And we have contributed to their suffering.

For the South American country of
Chile, the date has a different and much more tragic
significance. It was on that day in 1973 that the
democratically-elected government of Salvador Allende
was overthrown in a CIA-backed military coup. Augusto
Pinochet seized power. In the ensuing years tens of
thousands of Chileans were killed, jailed, tortured
and driven into exile. The US role, under Nixon and
his National Security Advisor Kissinger, in first
destabilizing and then overthrowing the Allende
government was decisive. It will rank among the most
grotesque interventions ever undertaken by the US. A
few years after the coup, Nobel Peace Prize-winner
Kissinger visited Chile. He told General Pinochet,
"In the United States, as you know, we are sympathetic
with what you are trying to do here."

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