Related rabble.ca story:
The ninth anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States should serve as a moment to reflect on tolerance. It should be a day of peace. Yet the rising anti-Muslim fervour here, together with the continuing U.S. military occupation of Iraq and the escalating war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan), all fuel the belief that the U.S. really is at war with Islam.
September 11, 2001, united the world against terrorism. Everyone, it seemed, was with the United States, standing in solidarity with the victims, with the families who lost loved ones. The day will be remembered for generations to come, for the notorious act of coordinated mass murder. But that was not the first Sept. 11 to be associated with terror:
Salman Hamdani died on Sept. 11, 2001. The 23-year-old research assistant at Rockefeller University had a degree in biochemistry. He was also a trained emergency medical technician and a cadet with the New York Police Department. But he never made it to work that day. Hamdani, a Muslim-American, was among that day's first responders. He raced to Ground Zero to save others. His selfless act cost him his life.
Challenging language is an essential part of activist work. Often, derogatory language is subtle, and can "infiltrate" everday life and common speech without much notice. One of the problematic and highly offensive terms that society seems to be hanging onto is the word "retarded." Using the r-word in place of adjectives such as harmful, annoying, troublesome (or any other negative connotation) is not only extremely hurtful but exclusionary and able-ist.