The Fog of Memory

By Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - CommentaryFor some odd reason, the whole Israel-Hamas War has become for younger Millennials and those of Generation Z who are going to college the seminal event of their lives. I guess the civil war in Yemen, the civil war in Syria, the anarchy in Libya, and the civil war in Sudan, which are claiming far more lives everyday than is happening in the war between Israel and Hamas, does not seem to be phasing these kids. But then, these places do not seem to be getting the same amount of publicity in the U.S. news media that the Israel-Hamas War is getting (a lot of, I must note, seems to be slanted towards the Palestinian Arabs and out-of-context of what this whole war is about). Worse, a lot of the young people are getting their news and information from Tik-Tok or Facebook; hardly news sources that are reliable.

One major problem is the major disconnect many of these kids are having is with the history of this country’s past. Unfortunately, many are seeing the rambling message of the former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden on why he attacked America on September 11, 2001, and think he had a legitimate reason for his course of action. For those people like myself who remember that time very well, nothing could be further from the truth. This was an act of pure terrorism against thousands of innocent Americans who had nothing to do with the problems in the Middle East back then or the Arab-Israeli conflict then and now. Sadly, those young people who are in these large-scale protests and demonstrations for the Palestinian Arabs do not remember what happened on September 11th. They were either too young to remember or they were not born yet.

It kind of reminds me of those protesters back in the 1990’s protesting against the use of nuclear weapons against Japan during World War II. They had no idea of the context in which the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened. The same thing seems to be happening to this new generation. Or maybe these young kids just want something to protest? Fact is, many left-wing organizations like the Democratic Socialists of America have distorted the whole picture of what is happening in the Israel-Hamas War for their own political ends. This, and they are able to enrapture too many of these young people into a “just struggle” and “fight against genocide” in a conflict these young people know nothing about. Sadly, these young adults become too fanatically involved in something without the context from which this is all happening.

And I blame the U.S. education system squarely for this whole mess. It is more than clear that America has failed to educate these young people about September 11th, the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and what the Taliban are. This nation has failed to educate these young people on what radical Islam is, who Osama bin Laden really was, and what those American families who lost loved ones on September 11th really suffered. We as a country have failed to educate these young people about those who died on September 11th and how it has all affected this country to this day. These young people are suffering what I call the fog of memory. They do not realize that September 11th is part of their history, and that if you substitute Hamas for Al Qaeda the two are one and the same—terrorist organizations with extreme agendas. Those tens and hundreds of thousands of demonstrators who shout “from the river to the sea Palestine will be free!” and “gas the Jews!” have no idea what history is behind all of this.

This fog of memory has, in my view, become dangerously troubling and could have serious long-term consequences. Can you imagine a whole generation not knowing the history of this country, and not having a clue on what happened on September 11th? But this is what is happening. When these young people are asked where all of the Jews now living in the State of Israel will go, they have no answer. A generation raised on lack of knowledge, propaganda and distortion will not be fit to run this country and not fit to deal with the realities of the present or future. All that we are seeing now will come back to haunt us all. I fear for the future.

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