The end of the American dream
Fr Ryszard Winiarski
Frank Sinatra sang, 'If you can make it here [New York] you can make it anywhere.' The city, called the Rotten Apple, provides amazing possibilities but it can also finish anyone that cannot endure its conditions. The city, which promises to fulfil each dream, became the stage of the unexpected drama.
Land version of the Titanic
On 11 September 2001 a certain world ended. The American dream ended - the American dream concerning the world, in which America imposes conditions on all other countries. The country, which did not experience any invasion apart from the Civil War, was hit in the most acute way, additionally with the weapon it invented. Bin Laden, supported by the CIA for years, turned against its benefactors and the whole 'civilisation of the Crusaders.' Sending fanatics, who are ready to die more than to live, he conquered the borders of the empire that spends over a billion dollars for its security a day. He destroyed the Twin Towers and the myth that the Americans fed themselves and the rest of the world.
The twin towers, designed by the Japanese architect Minuro Yamasaki, were built in the years 1966-73, during the war in Vietnam. When the exclusive and most profitable US restaurant 'Windows on the World' was constructed on the 106th and 107th floors of one of the twin towers the American marines burnt the rice fields with napalm, pacified whole villages and raped women. The CNN spire was placed on the other tower. The CNN owner Tedd Turner, who is a fierce enemy of Christianity, used to say that he would do his best to destroy religion, and his station would even broadcast the end of the world. Two towers - symbols of human pride - fell down in front of everybody. It was a land version of the Titanic.
A certain priest, who had visited one of the twin towers the day before the terrorist attack, listened with disgust to the guide, 'Look down. There is St Patrick's Cathedral - a work of the Church. Once it was the highest building in Manhattan. The WTC towers are a challenge to God himself.' And it happened. The priest returned to Poland luckily, is alive and lectures at the Catholic University of Lublin. The guide was on the missing list of people whose genetic codes cannot be found. Almost 3,000 people (including six Poles) lost their lives in the attack.
Before the twin towers collapsed, in Boston the local authorities had ordered to lower the two towers of the church, which was close to the airport, because they allegedly disturbed navigation. A coincidence?
The airlines with the hijackers on board took off from the airport the plate of which John Paul II had kissed when he arrived in America during his first pilgrimage. A coincidence?
Key to understand the WTC tragedy
On that tragic Tuesday (11 September 2001) the Liturgy of the Hours included a meaningful passage from the Book of Habakkuk. It is the shortest book in the Bible. It is hard to notice it but when I read its fragments for that day I was struck by their contents. I thought it was a somehow astonishingly suitable commentary. God spoke through Habakkuk, 'Cast your eyes over the nations, look, and be amazed, astounded. For I am doing something in your own days which you will not believe if you are told of it. For look, I am stirring up the Chaldaeans, that fierce and fiery nation who march miles across country to seize the homes of others. They are dreadful and awesome, a law and authority to themselves. Their horses are swifter than leopards, fiercer than wolves at night; their horsemen gallop on, their horsemen advance from afar, swooping like an eagle anxious to feed. They are all bent on violence, their faces scorching like an east wind; they scoop up prisoners like sand. They scoff at kings, they despise princes. They make light of all fortresses: they heap up earth and take them. […] Then Yahweh answered me and said, 'Write the vision down, inscribe it on tablets to be easily read. For the vision is for its appointed time, it hastens towards its end and it will not lie; although it may take some time, wait for it, for come it certainly will before too long. 'You see, anyone whose heart is not upright will succumb, but the upright will live through faithfulness.' A coincidence?
Someone will ask, 'Can the text written in the 6th century BC be a key to understand what is happening now?' Yes, it can and it should! God gave his Word for all times and each epoch has the same interpretive key, regardless of what has happened. The day after, as the Americans say, the breviary had another fragment from the Book of Habakkuk, 'Now, surely, wealth is treacherous! He is arrogant, for ever on the move, with appetite as large as Sheol and as insatiable as Death, gathering in all the nations, and making a harvest of all peoples. Are not the peoples all bound to satirise and make up cryptic riddles about him? As for instance: Disaster to anyone who amasses goods not his (for how long?) and to anyone who weighs himself down with goods taken in pledge! Will not your creditors suddenly stand up, will not those who make you shiver wake up, and you will fall a prey to them. Since you have plundered many nations, all the nations that remain will plunder you, because of the bloodshed and violence done to the country, to the city and to all who live in it. Disaster to anyone who amasses ill-gotten gains for his house, so as to fix his nest on high and so evade the reach of misfortune! You have conspired to bring shame on your house: by overthrowing many peoples you have worked your own ruin. For the very stone will protest from the wall, and the beam will respond from the framework. Disaster to anyone who builds a town with bloodshed and founds a city on wrong-doing! Is it not thanks to Yahweh Sabaoth that the peoples' toil is fuel for the fire, and the nations' labour came to nothing? But the earth will be full of the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh as the waters cover the depths of the sea. Disaster to anyone who makes his neighbours drink, pouring out his poison until they are drunk, so that he can see them naked! You are full of shame, not glory! Your turn now to drink and show your foreskin. The cup in Yahweh's right hand comes round to you, and disgrace will overshadow your glory. For the violence done to the Lebanon will overwhelm you and the massacre of animals will terrify you, because of the bloodshed and violence done to the country, to the city and to all who live in it. Disaster to anyone who says to the log, 'Wake up!', to the dumb stone, 'On your feet!' (This is the prophecy!) Look, he is encased in gold and silver, - but not a breath of life inside it! What use is a sculpted image that a sculptor should make it? - a metal image, a lying instructor! And why does the image-maker put his trust in it, that he should make dumb idols? But Yahweh is in his holy Temple: let the whole earth be silent before him.'
There are no coincidences. History is created by two powers: the Divine Providence and human genius and sometimes they crossed painfully. That happened on Tuesday, 11 September 2011. It is completely ironic that the passports of the alleged attackers survived and the black boxes of the airlines were lost! All of them! A coincidence? No, rather a big mystery!
From time to time some human remains are found at Ground Zero, where a new tower of freedom is being constructed. There is a dispute about the cross which the firemen placed spontaneously there. The lessee of the Twin Towers is at law with the insurance companies demanding gigantic compensation and the victims' families demand that nothing is built at the site of the construction. An unwanted cemetery has been created at the heart of Manhattan. It happens that a beautiful dream ends up with painful awakening.