I was going to give my tribute to 9/11 today.
I’ve been watching 9/11 programs on television all today and yesterday, and the day before that. I’ve also been having nightmares all night long about it. So, I definitely needed to make a “release” effort today.
I wanted to talk about Generation 9/11. I’m interested in generation and history, as you all may know if you keep up with this blog. My focus is on the children who grew up during the post-9/11 era. This subject came to mind after MSN news made a report of a known rapper named Soulja boy who made a song that was considered controversial and disrespectful at this time, of course, it being 9/11 and all. One particular line got the public rumbling: “[insert word] the FBI and the army troops…fighting for what? Be your Own man”. The song is called Lets Be Real. It is now being removed from his album and videos are being removed. his comment was something like this:
“As an artist, I let my words get the best of me. Sometimes there are things that we feel, things that we want to express, and when we put them on paper and speak them out loud, they can come out wrong. When I expressed my frustration with the US Army, not only did my words come out wrong, I was wrong to even speak them. So, I write this to give my sincerest apology to all members of the United States military services, as well as their families that were offended by my most recent lyrics. As a young man who grew up in the post-9/11 era, I have watched our country fight two wars that seem like they are never going to end. I have seen thousands and thousands of our brave men and women get killed in battle and often times, I think for what? A lot of people in this country are struggling to make ends meet and I think a lot about what if we had never gone to war. Where would our economy be? Our schools, our after-school and work programs, our streets? I mean, damn, 48 people got shot in New York City just this past weekend … in 3 days … I’m not saying that it is just because of a bad economy, but at a certain point we have to take care of our own people. In no way would I ever want to offend those who are protecting our freedoms … a lot of homeboys who I grew up with, a lot of people who come from the neighborhoods we live in … In no way do I want to hurt any of our honorable soldiers who put their lives at risk, regardless of how they feel about the two wars we fight in. I am just frustrated that we haven’t been able to bring you all home quick enough and my frustration got the best of me. I am deeply sorry -Soulja Boy
I feel his action was controversial, especially being so close to 9/11 at the time of the release, and with there being so many people who are sensitive to the topic. However, I don’t feel he was wrong to speak up and out about it. It’s funny. People talked about him when he had no meaning in his music, but when he spoke out about a real issue no one wants to hear what he has to say. I don’t agree totally with him, but I feel that someone has to speak out their feelings. This country prizes itself on freedom of speech regardless if anyone likes it or not. Music is about speaking about feelings and one’s own truths, and though many didn’t like what he said, many people are thinking it too, especially the generation that grew up during the era. It was just like in World War Two. Many of the children didn’t see the point in the war, and when they grew up they fought to create an era of peace and civil rights. But they had to speak against first in order to bring attention to something they believed in. Even in that era, it was sensitive, and speaking out against World War Two ignited fires.
We are taught that we should honor our brave soldiers who fight for this country, a propaganda method to support the US in its trek to war. And we should because they are risking their lives to bring the harm to justice. Many families were damaged as a result of the 9/11 incident. I will never forget when it happened. I was 11 years old when it happened. It was the first major historical event I’d ever witnessed besides the death of Princess Diana. I was in school and my teacher told the class to shut up. And she said, “The US is under attack!” I panicked. She turned on the television in my classroom the next day, and all I could see were two towers falling…it was horrible. All I could think about was a family member who worked in downtown Chicago in the tallest building in the US at the time. I will not forget that day.
A few years after came the Great Recession.
And within the course of ten years we are left wondering…why are our soldiers over there? Why are more innocent lives being put in danger? I personally talked to two men who were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, and both of them said they had no clue why they were there. Has the US really found proof that those people were responsible? Or did they use that as an opening to go to war? I mean, when Barack Obama became president, most were hoping he’d bring our troops home, correct? Soulja Boy was simply expressing that viewpoint. Further, war never solves the problem completely, and often it creates more problems, more bloodshed of innocent lives, and it creates worry and fear. So although our soldiers are brave for risking their lives, it can almost seem like, “For what? To kill other innocent people? To make the people at home worry for your well-being? To focus so heavily on a nation far away and pour money to that cause for years and to neglect the people here?” Yeah, that can seem controversial, but I have heard more than 10 people say the same thing, especially when electing Obama as president. Even people who were Republicans were ready for the war to end and for our country to start focusing on the economic crisis. But now that it is so close to the memorial, it is sensitive. And yes, it is disrespectful, but what better time than now to try to make a difference or an impact? Any other time, people would’ve ignored the words, but now people will read the lyrics and ponder over the words, even if they don’t agree with them. That is the power of music. Many famous artists of the past used their words to speak out against their society: Fela Kuti being one of the most famous. Even Michael Jackson. And though everyone didn’t like what they said, you still have to think about it and use your “outside” brain. There has to be some truth to it. If there are people out there thinking this way, that means someone has a problem with it, and it becomes a public issue. One person isn’t willing to follow the crowd and the grain. He’s using his voice to bravely state that war and fighting is pointless. Though, yes, I agree our soldiers fight for the freedoms we have and they always have, people are still dying innocently over here and over there. We need to get to a point where we don’t just see ourselves as a nation, but as people part of a whole world.
Generation Next, or Generation Scorpio, I call it, is a generation that is bound to go through tragedy. Just like Scorpio, disaster marks the generation’s life. Destruction of power and authority (Egypt’s Movement), depletion of natural resources (Oil Crisis), natural disasters (Hurricane Katrina), and violence, war, and terrorism (9/11). Issues with economic shares, sharing money, destruction of property, and problems with shareholders (Great Recession). In our lifetime, we will have to deal with destruction, whether it is in our environment or within our own homes. But also like Scorpio, we are meant to bring a rebirth process. Not sure what that will be, but it begins with making a few changes. Soulja Boy’s speaking out about it could be the very first step: realizing the problem with our society. Why aren’t we doing so well? Has the war truly brought justice for those people? Is there another way?
Our generation is also Uranus in Capricorn. We have unusual ideas about career, government, laws, order, society. So, no, former generations won’t accept our ideas about those things. But we will seek to reform those laws. We saw the impact of the generation when they voted for Obama. More young people got involved in politics and voting more than their parents and even grandparents have as youth. Generation 9/11 is inspired from the horrors they’ve seen over the past years. And even though there have been eras marked by horror and hardship, today there seems to be so many things happening at once. And with the help of internet, issues around the globe almost seem like issues in our own backyards, universal in a sense.
9/11 was a tragic incident that will never be forgotten. It was the first major attack on the US, seeing this as being a fairly new country compared to the rest of the world. It was disastrous and so many lives were lost. Many families were left behind in shock and horror. The US was in fear and panic. The generation will never forget that. This is why I sense that the generation will be a powerful one and will help to restore peace once again. Using their new knowledge and advancements, they will try to bring the stability to the environment.
I just hope that today is a peaceful environment for everyone, and that people will have the chance to reflect on today and think about the changes they want to make to bring about peace for everyone so that an event like 9/11 will never happen again.