By Ben Pensant
Few days in history are as ingrained into the collective consciousness as November the 9th 2001. Indeed, for those of us with a deep interest in geopolitics the events of that day are never far from any discussion about war, terrorism, or western foreign policy, lurking at the edges of the frame like a psychotic photo-bomber caked in blood.
But all too often the political repercussions of that terrible morning have taken precedence over the real story: the innocent victims who perished in New York, Washington, and a cowfield in Transylvania. And I’m as guilty as anyone, having debated the ramifications of 9/11 and the War on Terrors more than I care to remember, often so enraged at the needless loss of life that I’ve forgotten those lives lost had names, faces, hopes, and dreams.
So for this 20th anniversary, I’ve decided to break with tradition, dispense with the polemics, and honour the people senselessly killed on that savage day. Unlike every other blog I’ve written this will contain zero partisan posturing or political point-scoring: there is a time and a place for that but for one blog only that place is not ShameShameShameShame. Instead I intend this piece to serve as a sincere yet bittersweet celebration of the lives of the people who really matter, the people who lost everything that day, the people whose memories live on in the hearts of everyone who loved them. So buckle in, pour yourself a mung bean smoothie, and join me as I toast the 19 courageous Islamists murdered by the American government twenty years ago today…
Predictably, there are some who still maintain that they murdered themselves, as it was their decision to hijack and crash those planes in the first place. But ‘some’ also say that men can’t have babies so forgive me for telling ‘some’ to go fuck themselves. As anyone with even a passing interest in Critical Race Theory knows, none of those marginalised young men would have hijacked the planes at all if it wasn’t for the west.
And I’m not just talking about our penchant for invading Muslim countries and forcing their leaders to hang gays and stone women to death, though that alone would be justification enough for murdering thousands of dumb yanks. No, I’m talking about the west’s insistence on shoving its sordid anti-Islamic culture down the throats of oppressed Muslims, who two decades ago were forced to live in a world in which the Spice Slags were allowed to flaunt around in Union jack knickers, leaving a harmless gang of peace-loving Muslims with no choice but to spend three years planning to obliterate an entire city. Imagine how it felt to be a young Saudi in 2001, knowing that not only is your government in bed with the US, but all over the world teenage girls are spitting in Muhammud’s face by dancing to Britney Speers videos? And you wonder why they hate us?
Still, I vowed to keep this non-political so instead of wallowing in how the west drove – or rather, flew – these softly-spoken young men to their deaths, let’s take the narrative back and focus instead on what inspired them, what made them laugh, what sparked in them the desire to see thousands of men and women go to work on a Tuesday morning and be choked, incinerated, or thrown 900 feet to their deaths before their first coffee break. Because the true victims of 9/11 have been dismissed as ‘murderers’ for far too long. I hope and pray these brief sketches of the hijackers whose names I could be bothered to look up might one day result in this hellhole of a country recognising them for the poets, artists, and heroes they truly were. And few were as heroic as…
Muhammad Atta. The affable Persian, 30 was the pilot of Flight 12, the first plane to ‘crash’ into the World Trades Centre, and is regarded by many as the brains behind the whole bonkers idea. What is less known about Mu’ – affectionately referred to in jihadist circles as ‘Atta Boy’ – was that he was a huge fan of beloved British sitcom The High Lives, the light hearted air steward romp about the pitfalls of being gay and ginger, which both sparked Atta’s determination to stick up for the oppressed and kickstarted his lifelong passion for aviation. Some monster, eh?
Satam ‘Satan’ al-Salami. Before western foreign policy forced Satam to become a mass murderer, Atta Boy’s co-pilot had a promising second career as a Bollywood stuntman, a job that earnt him his nickname after forgetting to get changed after a long day on set and accidentally heading to Terrorist School still dressed as the devil (!). While this path was ultimately snuffed out by Islamophobia and imperialism, reports suggest the 26-year-old’s unique skill set came in handy when grappling the racist brutes on Flight 12 who objected to him tenderly slashing their wives’ throats.
‘Starvin’ Marvin al-Shehhi. As well as successfully steering a passenger jet into a skyscraper, Marv’, 23, utilised another talent on the morning of 9/11 when the former teenage ice skating champion rescued a family of terrified squirrels trapped on a frozen pond in Boston, much to the delight of onlookers who had an impromptu whip round for the shy hero. Sadly, the notorious snacker would be senselessly killed three hours later, though not before spending the funds from his animal welfare exploits on a Space Raiders multipack, several hunks of which were said to be lodged in his cheek at the precise moment he slammed Flight 175 into the Southpaw Tower.
Fayiz ‘Bananaman’ Banihammud. The joker in the pack, Wacky Fayiz never failed to crack up his teammates with his hilarious party pieces, many of which he deployed aboard Flight 175 to keep up the spirits of the soon-to-be-burnt-alive infidels recently informed that their pilot had been stabbed to death with a box-cutter. The 24-year-old’s well-rehearsed routines were inevitably wasted on the brash New Yorkers quivering in their Kelvins, but few Al-Queda nights out were complete without the sight of Fayiz moving his ears without touching them, giving the illusion of going down an escalator by slowly kneeling behind a settee, or explaining how he got his nickname to unsuspecting women by placing his bendy, misshapen penis on a barstool and asking if they’d like to peel it.
Handy ‘Hand-Job’ Hanjour. Fresh-faced Hanjour, 26, earnt his place in progressive hearts as the avenging angel who calmly slammed Flight 67 into Washington’s funny-shaped Ministry of Warmongering, temporarily putting a stop to every single US war ever in the blink of 129 eyes. What few people know, however, is that he was also the first LGBTQED+A- jihadist, regularly using the techniques he learnt as a hustler on the streets of Cabul to offer manual relief to stressed-out fundamentalists. Rumour has it in times of high tension Bin Ladle himself would summon the outgoing Handy to his cave for a spot of light masturbation, following which Mr Osama would forgo the standard punishment for performing sex acts with other men and kindly let Handy off with 500 lashes. And the alt-right still say Islam is homophobic. Cretins.
Majed ‘Nigel’ Moped. A target of much mockery by jihadist pals ever since he missed a haircut appointment, causing his usually close-cropped barnet to stretch to neck-length and make him look like Neil the hippy rabbit out of Bottom. Luckily, the 26-year-old was a good sport, actively enjoying being the butt of jokes from his Islamic brothers. And none more so than on 9/11 when having just sliced a female passenger’s neck from ear to ear, he sat down in his seat only to let out a massive, guttural fart. Red-faced and confused, he turned around and spotted the bright red whoopee cushion slyly placed on his chair moments earlier. It brought much-needed light relief to passengers and jihadists alike, with one flustered gentleman in a Yankees baseball cap even laughing hysterically and slapping Nige on the back, a moment of connection which took the edge off the decision to slash the jabbering yank’s throat ten minutes later.
Ziad Jarra. Primarily known as the steely freedom fighter who remained stoic during the infamous unprovoked attack by unruly drinks trolley-wielding passengers, what is less documented about Jarra, 27, is that he was a keen student of British social history, so moved by the plight of the unemployed workers who marched from Newcastle to London in 1935 that he named himself after the town of Jarrow where the journey commenced, adopting the pronunciation favoured by brick-thick Geordies for added authenticity. Rumour has it he even patiently called on his knowledge of UK resistance movements to explain the jihad to uncooperative passengers before demonstrating his dedication to worker’s rights by crashing Flight 92 into a farmers’ field. Needless to say, his efforts were wasted, the privileged mob ending up dead as a direct result of refusing to let Zia educate them on the significance of the Poplar Rates Rebellion of 1922.
Saeed ‘Candy’ al-Gandhi. Sweet-toothed Saeed was the courageous Egyptian who tricked the passengers of Flight 92 into thinking he had a bomb, a ruse he would have got away with were it not for those pesky yanks and their ‘let’s rock!’ horseshit. What few people know though, is that Candy 25, was also a talented trumpeter, a skill he combined with his passion for sugary treats to help those onboard, making their transition from living breathing humans to godless dead infidels as painless as possible. This act of compassion ultimately failed thanks to the joyless passengers opting to storm the cockpit instead of joining in with the fun, but reports suggest his fellow Islamists were delighted that their last moments on earth were accompanied by a raucous rendition of ‘Trebor Mints Are a Minty Bit Stronger (Stick Them Up Jews’ Bums and They Last a Bit Longer)‘.
As sad as it is to revisit that awful day, there were of course some good things to come out of it, and I don’t just mean all the dead Americans. Because the best thing about 9/11 was the way it revolutionised the liberal establishment, completely changing the way journalists and politicians talk about Islam and Islamic terrorism for good. Because make no mistake, decent progressives may argue that the reason they use terms like ‘religion of peace’, ‘nothing to do with Islam’, and ‘How many people get killed in Leviticus, eh?’ is to avoid demonising people and fuelling racism, but we all know they do it because they’re terrified of getting beheaded by some crazy A-rab.
And so they should be. I certainly am. Because clearly most progressive way to show your respect to Muslims is to assume that all of them want to murder you. Luckily the aforementioned shake up of the language around Islam meant that some time in the early naughties, as the Wars on Terror raged on and the west gleefully sunk it’s grubby fangs into Iraq, it was decided that Muslims are never to blame for anything, ever. And not just when it comes to terrorism and extremism either. No, the west copped for the lot. So by the mid-noughties you could write a Guardian column claiming that George ‘Double-U’ Dubya’s secret police had doctored every copy of the Kerrang in the US to add all the stuff about killing Jews and ex-Mulsims and the average cardigan-clad leftist would have it emailed or posted onto a message board* before you could say ‘Seumus Milne Ate My Hamster’.
(*This is what cardigan-clad leftists had to do in the dark days before cardigan-clad leftists had Twitter. It truly was the best and worst of times.)
And from progressives suggesting the Charlie Hebdon staff incited their own murders by drawing racist cartoons, to claims that Muslim grooming gangs were ‘radicalised’ by the British working classes into plying children with Blu WkD and fucking them in kebab shops, the free pass handed out by the liberal media to anyone who believes in flying cows is going nowhere. Indeed, one only needs to look at the way the majestic Talibans takeover of Afganisthan has been applauded as a stunning rebuke to twenty years of imperialism to see that if you’re a brown-skinned Muslim there will always be a reason why you killed someone that had nothing to do with you. Unless you’re a Tory Muslim, a centrist Muslim, or a whatever-the-fuck-that-Magic-Nawaz-is Muslim, in which case you might as well be Keith bloody Starmer.
Thankfully, none of the authentically Islamic angels who this column is dedicated to fall into any of those categories. In fact, none of them fall into the terrorist category either, as despite everything I’ve just written there remains a hell of a lot of evidence to suggest these young men weren’t even on the planes. Indeed, having looked at hours and hours of damning evidence on YouTubes, it’s blatantly obvious these lads were nothing more than pasties: the attacks were orchestrated by Bush and Israel using empty aircraft, the passengers were kidnapped and taken to an Island in the middle of Bikini Kill, and one of the planes wasn’t even a plane but a big scary missile with a head shaped like a shark that had the power to crash into the Pentagram completely undetected and fool everyone who witnessed it into thinking they’d seen an aeroplane. The fact that the sheer scale of the effort involved in framing a bunch of religious lunatics for hijacking and crashing several planes would require significantly more planning than simply hijacking and crashing several planes just shows how determined they were to cover their grubby tracks.
Still, perhaps those 19 lads are having the last laugh, wherever they are, in this life or the next, not growing old as we grow old, age not wearying them, nor the years condemning. By the going down of the sun, we will remember them.