Monday, September 11, 2023

September 11, We are Forgetting...

The Many Missed Signals Before 9/11

Few events in history have left as indelible a mark on the collective consciousness as the September 11 attacks. The catastrophic destruction of the World Trade Center towers in New York City, along with the attack on the Pentagon and the downing of United Airlines Flight 93, changed the course of history forever. But what led to this tragic day? How did U.S. leaders miss so many warning signs, allowing such a devastating event to occur?

The Long Run-Up

Al Qaeda, founded in 1988, had been brewing for over a decade before 9/11. Most Americans didn't fully grasp that the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center was just the beginning of something much larger. While it may have seemed like an isolated incident at the time, those on the periphery recognized connections to Osama bin Laden and his associates. Bin Laden himself was an unindicted co-conspirator in that earlier attack, and his name kept cropping up in relation to extremist activities.

An Organized Crime

The plot behind 9/11 was an intricate conspiracy that spanned different phases and cells over a significant period. It wasn't merely a single event but rather an organized act of terrorism. The specific conspiracy leading to hijackings and attacks on 9/11 had roots stretching back to the end of the Afghan War and fundraising operations for jihadis during the 1980s.

The Unseen Web

For most Americans, 9/11 seemed to come out of nowhere. However, it had been brewing for years. Al Qaeda's founding in 1988 marked thirteen years before that fateful day. People should have paid more attention, especially those at the CIA who ran the bin Laden unit and New York police and FBI agents focused on jihadi groups in Brooklyn.

Global Condemnation

World leaders, political representatives, religious figures, and international media universally condemned the attacks. Even governments traditionally hostile to the United States—such as Cuba, Iran, Libya, and North Korea—denounced them. However, some reports suggested celebrations of the attacks or accused the U.S. of bringing them upon itself. These claims remain uncorroborated and often link to unsubstantiated conspiracy theories.

U.S. Response

In response to 9/11, President George W. Bush declared a war on terrorism. The goals included bringing Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda to justice while preventing other terrorist networks from emerging. Economic sanctions, military actions against states harboring terrorists, global surveillance, and intelligence sharing became key strategies.

The overthrow of Taliban rule in Afghanistan by a U.S.-led coalition marked one of the largest operations directly connected to terrorism outside U.S. borders.

The Enduring Legacy

Two decades later, Americans still feel sadness when watching TV coverage of those horrific events. The attacks permanently changed how we live our lives. As we remember September 11th each year, we must also reflect on missed signals and lessons learned—so that history never repeats.

We Will Never Forget

Lastly, we all who were born and alive in 2001 into 2002 promised that "We Would Never Forget." The attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the jetplanes that were taken over were something America has never seen before. Yes, we had the battles and war during the colonies-Great Britain conflicts, the attack on Pearl Harbor, and even the bombing at the World Trade Center in 1993. We had the shoot at Columbine High School in 1999; however, September 11 in 2001 was something different and unique.

It was a coordinated effort to attack the United States of America and intimidate the nation.  Over 3,000 people died on that day.  Every year we commemorate this day by reading the names of the deceased, telling stories about their heroism, and gathering at the spots where they tragically died.   Many news networks replace the news of that day as if it were happening. The video back then looked clear despite being standard definition. It looks blurry and "old" now due to the advances in television technology with high definition, 2k, 4k, and now even 8k. Nevertheless, the news of that day is still as bothersome and shocking today as it was on that day when we all were anxious and not sure what was going on.

I remember CBS 2 as the only channel operating in the Bronx. All the others had their transmitters on the World Trade Center. CBS had one there and on the Empire State Building.  The cell phones were working erratically. We were getting calls from different numbers and our numbers showed up differently on the caller ID of others. Landlines were busy. It was total chaos. The memories are engraved in us who were conscious on that day.

But after 2011, it seemed things had been dying down. The memories are fading. People are not remembering it as before. The prayers and thoughts are gone. There are no big religious services anymore. No word from the Archbishop of NY despite his predecessor Cardinal Egan being present as the buildings fell. I remember him looking scared saying "God help us" almost in shock full of soot from the collapsed towers.  

It seems we are forgetting. We are becoming desensitized. Perhaps due to the world conflicts happening now or perhaps we are just exhausted from the constant shootings in our cities, schools, and other areas. We are just so used to violence now that September 11, 2001, is being forgotten. Perhaps the fact that the date was never declared a holiday for us to stay home from school and work to remember.  There are many reasons we can think of as to why September 11 is being forgotten.

In any event, we must continue our promise even after the last living witness has gone and passed.  We must never forget!  If we forget, history may repeat itself.  I am afraid it may be worse. As technology advances, we will see new threats. Our descendants will see even worse threats. Right now we have metal detectors and other security measures set in place to prevent the hijacking of planes. We go through long lines, remove our shoes, and even get extreme pat downs that borderline constitutionality. 

Despite these, we see people opening doors on jets in the air. We see the numerous fights that take place with rowdy passages. We saw a pilot intentionally crash the plane in Europe and there is only a matter of time before a pilot with mental illness will attempt something dangerous.  This is now in the 21st century, imagine later with the advancement of AI and ways to fool detectors and screening tactics!  We may see another September 11 take place here or around the world if we forget. If we forget, our alert will go down. We will become complacent with "well enough" like we were on September 10, 2001.  It cannot be like this!  We must never forget, not only to honor the dead on that tragic day but to prevent it from happening again.  Let us never forget!


What do you think? Post your comment below on Disqus.  Be sure to follow the rules so your comment can go through.  


Tuesday, September 5, 2023

Was Mother Teresa a Fraud? Was She Evil? Christopher Hitchens Lied

Christopher Hitchens, the heavy-drinking, Oxford-educated writer known for attacking politicians with his pen, had a vitriolic campaign against the beloved Mother Teresa. But why did he have such a problem with a Nobel Peace Prize winner who devoted much of her life to helping the poor and is a canonized saint of the Catholic Church?

At first glance, pitting Hitchens against Mother Teresa (both deceased) seems like an unfair fight. After all, how could the frail, pious nun who helped the poor with her hands be compared to the sharp-tongued writer who wielded his intellect as a weapon? But Hitchens; imagination saw through the image of an innocent do-gooder that surrounded Mother Teresa and launched a scathing critique of her life and work.

The "Myth of Mother Teresa"

Hitchens insisted that Mother Teresa was anything but the apolitical savior of the poor that she was known to be. Instead, he portrayed her as a willing political tool for the Vatican, a validator of corrupt right-wing political leaders, and even more surprisingly, a suppressor rather than a savior of the poor.

One of Hitchens' main contentions was that Mother Teresa's image was incorrectly adored by the media. He quoted Mark Twain: “Give a man the reputation for being an early riser and that man can sleep until noon.” In other words, he believed that her reputation as an early riser—someone who tirelessly served the poor—was undeserved.

The Political Side of Mother Teresa

During her Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech in 1979, Mother Teresa made strong statements against abortion and contraceptives. She declared that abortion was the greatest threat to world peace and campaigned against birth control. Hitchens found this problematic because she worked in India—a country with hundreds of millions of people living in dire poverty. He argued that her family-planning policies were disturbing since they aligned with anti-abortion sentiments while ignoring the pressing needs of impoverished families.

Furthermore, Hitchens hypothesized that Mother Teresa's use of her international fame to advocate for anti-abortion policies was due to her being a political tool for the Vatican. She allegedly urged political leaders worldwide to pass anti-abortion legislation—an issue crucial to the Catholic Church.

Controversial Associations

Mother Teresa's close alignment with controversial political figures also bothered Hitchens. She accepted awards from and praised leaders like Haiti's Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier (accused of killing tens of thousands during his rule) and former U.S. President Ronald Reagan (whose policies contributed to civil wars in Central America).

In summary, Hitchens believed that Mother Teresa's idolization wasn't earned. He criticized her stark opposition to contraception and highlighted the horrid conditions in her hospice. For him, she represented not an angelic figure but rather a complex character entangled in politics and religious dogma.


What are we to make of the claims Hitchens made which many online atheists still posit as factual?  Simply put, Christopher Hitchens was wrong about Mother Teresa. He accused her of being a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud who exploited the poor and promoted a cruel and dogmatic view of Catholicism.  Here he showed his bigotry and hate against Catholics. He just simply did not like religion and his commentaries showed it.  

He also claimed that she accepted money from dictators and criminals, opposed contraception and abortion, and faked her miracles. However, his arguments were based on selective evidence, biased interpretation, and personal animosity.  No one on earth is perfect. We all have friends who have their secrets. 

We have our own secrets as well as our own imperfections. Donors are no different. Just because someone donates to a GoFundMe and may be a Mafia member does not make the GoFundMe campaign part of the Mafia or an endorsement of it. Again, Hitchens was just showing his animosity and bias.  He ignored the testimonies of countless people who witnessed her compassion, humility, and generosity. He also failed to understand her spiritual vision of serving Christ in the poorest of the poor. This is different from the mission and view of a medical doctor who attempts to deal with the medical issues of his or her patient for monetary gain. 

Hitchens made many claims against Mother Teresa including accusing her of running clinics with poor conditions where nurses reused needles on patients and even claimed Mother Teresa sought the best medical care for herself.  Hitchens also claimed Mother Teresa funneled millions to the Vatican. He mentions this in his books Hell's Angel and The Missionary Position. Note the titles of these books. They are satirical hooks to get people to buy the books. "Hell's Angel" is a reference to the biker gang while the "Missionary Position" is a reference to a sexual act implying Mother Teresa was F*%#ing the poor. It is a vulgar sexual innuendo meant to attack Mother Teresa and be comical at the same time.  The four-letter "F" word is sometimes used to indicate when someone is hurting others, taking advantage of them, and so on. 

Mother Teresa did not exploit the Poor

One of the most common charges that Hitchens leveled against Mother Teresa was that she exploited the poor and suffering people who came to her hospices, known as "Homes for the Dying". He claimed that she did not provide them with adequate medical care, pain relief, or hygiene, but rather let them die in agony and filth while telling them that their suffering was a gift from God and a way to salvation.

This accusation is based on a distorted and selective view of Mother Teresa's work and philosophy. First of all, it is important to understand that Mother Teresa's hospices were not hospitals or clinics, but places where people who had no one else to care for them could find shelter, comfort, and dignity in their last moments. They were not meant to cure diseases or prolong life, but to offer love, dignity, and respect to those who were rejected by society and abandoned by their families. As Mother Teresa herself said: "We are not here to solve all the problems of the world but to touch those whom we can with the love of Christ."

Secondly, it is not true that Mother Teresa denied or neglected the medical needs of her patients. She had a team of doctors and nurses who visited her hospices regularly and provided basic medical care, such as antibiotics, bandages, vaccinations, and vitamins. She also referred some of her patients to hospitals or clinics when they needed more advanced treatment or surgery. She did not oppose modern medicine or science but rather used them as tools to serve the poor. She even accepted an honorary degree from Harvard Medical School in 1982, where she praised the achievements of medical science and urged the students to use their skills for the benefit of humanity.

Thirdly, it is not true that Mother Teresa imposed her religious views on her patients or forced them to convert to Catholicism. She respected the faith and culture of each person she served, regardless of their religion or background. She did not baptize anyone without their consent or knowledge, as Hitchens falsely claimed. She only offered spiritual guidance and prayers to those who asked for them or expressed an interest in them. She also encouraged interfaith dialogue and cooperation among different religious groups. She once said: "There is only one God and He is God to all; therefore, it is important that everyone is seen as equal before God."

Mother Teresa did not receive money from Dubious Sources

Another accusation that Hitchens made against Mother Teresa was that she received millions of dollars in donations from corrupt or criminal sources, such as dictators, fraudsters, and arms dealers. He claimed that she accepted money from people like Charles Keating, Robert Maxwell, Jean-Claude Duvalier, and Enver Hoxha, without questioning their motives or morality. He also alleged that she used the money for dubious purposes, such as building convents or supporting anti-abortion campaigns, rather than helping the poor.

This accusation is based on a distorted and selective view of Mother Teresa's finances and activities. First of all, it is important to understand that Mother Teresa did not personally handle or manage the money that was donated to her organization, known as the Missionaries of Charity. She had a team of accountants and auditors who were responsible for keeping track of the funds and ensuring their proper use. She also had a board of trustees who oversaw the financial affairs of the organization and made decisions about its projects and programs.

Secondly, it is not true that Mother Teresa accepted money from anyone without checking their background or ethics. She had a policy of not accepting donations from sources that were involved in activities that contradicted her values or principles, such as violence, oppression, or injustice. She also returned or refused donations that came with strings attached or conditions that interfered with her mission or vision. She once said: "We do not accept money that has blood on it."

Thirdly, it is not true that Mother Teresa used the money for dubious purposes or wasted it on unnecessary expenses. She used the money for various humanitarian and social causes, such as building and running schools, orphanages, leprosy clinics, AIDS centers, soup kitchens, shelters, and hospices around the world. She also supported various campaigns and initiatives that promoted human dignity and rights, such as the abolition of the death penalty, the protection of refugees, and the prevention of child trafficking. She was transparent and accountable about her spending and reporting and submitted annual reports to the Vatican and other authorities. Moreover, there is no way Christopher Hitchens could have known the finances of the Missionaries of Charity. So where did he get his information from?  He made it up!

Mother Teresa was not a Friend of Dictators

Another accusation that Hitchens made against Mother Teresa was that she was a friend of dictators and tyrants and that she praised or supported them in exchange for favors or recognition. He claimed that she endorsed or legitimized regimes that were responsible for atrocities, human rights violations, and oppression, such as those of Albania, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. He also alleged that she ignored or dismissed the suffering and grievances of the people who lived under those regimes and that she betrayed her own principles of peace and justice.

This accusation is based on a distorted and selective view of Mother Teresa's diplomacy and politics. First of all, it is important to understand that Mother Teresa was not a politician or a diplomat, but a humanitarian and a religious leader. She did not have any political agenda or affiliation but rather followed her conscience and her faith. She did not seek or accept any political power or influence but rather used her moral authority and reputation to advocate for the poor and the oppressed.

Secondly, it is not true that Mother Teresa praised or supported dictators or tyrants. She did not endorse or legitimize any regime or ideology but rather challenged them to respect human dignity and rights. She did not ignore or dismiss the suffering and grievances of the people who lived under those regimes, but rather spoke out for them and offered them assistance. She also criticized and condemned violence and injustice wherever she saw them, regardless of who committed them or why. She once said: "We are called upon not to be successful, but to be faithful."

Thirdly, it is not true that Mother Teresa betrayed her own principles of peace and justice. She did not compromise or dilute her values or principles but rather lived them out in her words and actions. She did not avoid or evade conflict or controversy but rather faced them with courage and compassion. She also forgave and reconciled with those who wronged her or opposed her, regardless of their status or position. She once said: "If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other."

Conclusion

On September 4, 2016, Mother Teresa was elevated to sainthood when Pope Francis canonized her at the Vatican. The late nun, already called the "Saint of the Gutters," is widely known for her decades spent caring for the poor and sick in Kolkata, India. Many Catholics and non-Catholics alike admire her.

Millions, if not billions, of people around the world have long loved the woman who has become a symbol of service to the least fortunate. World leaders received and honored her, including Ronald Reagan, Indira Gandhi, Princess Diana, and the Dalai Lama. Mother Teresa received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an honorary doctorate from the University of Cambridge. President Bill Clinton made Mother Teresa an honorary American citizen in 1996, saying she had demonstrated "how we can make real our dreams for a just and good society." She was even given a State Funeral by India, the highest form of salutation to a deceased person in the nation and which is reserved for prominent members of the nation or government. Logic dictates that if Mother Teresa was the evil fraud Hitchens claimed of her, she would not have garnered so much deference, adulation, admiration, and respect. To date, nothing bad has come out of her decades after her death.

Born Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu in 1910, in what is now Macedonia, Mother Teresa joined the Loreto order of nuns in 1928. It was on a 1946 train trip through India that she was inspired to leave the Loreto order and found the Missionaries of Charity. The order was established four years later and has since opened more than 130 houses around the world to provide care for the sick and dying. Missionaries of Charity nuns must adhere to traditional vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience, as well as a fourth vow: to give "wholehearted free service to the poorest of the poor." Mother Teresa worked as head of Missionaries of Charity until six months before she died in 1997 at 86.

In conclusion, I have shown that Christopher Hitchens was wrong about Mother Teresa and that his books were a biased and misleading attack on one of the most compassionate and selfless human beings who ever lived. I have examined some of the main accusations that Hitchens made against Mother Teresa, and shown why they are either false, exaggerated, or irrelevant. I have also presented some of the evidence that supports Mother Teresa's legacy as a genuine humanitarian and a faithful servant of God.

It is interesting to note that Christopher Hitchens' books have no index, bibliography, or references. They are just small books, barely 100 pages, and are just his words. He offers no evidence, no primary, secondary, or even tertiary sources. Readers are left to simply take his word for it on his authority. This is ironic coming from the man who developed what atheists online call the "Hitchens' Razor" which is taken from a quote by Hitchens who writes in another book entitled "God IS NOT Great," "That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.”  

Ironically, he offers no evidence against Mother Teresa in his books, just conjecture and his personal animosity and bias.  On that ground, we can dismiss his books and comments because he asserted them without evidence so therefore, they can be dismissed without evidence.  Ironically, Hitchens was hired to be the devil's advocate in the cause of Mother Teresa.  His job was to show evidence of why should did not live an exemplary holy life. He failed miserably to convince the Vatican.  

And to think that there are so-called atheists online who admire this guy and see him as some intellectual when he was a clumsy polemicist and gossip making a living via bigotry and slandering others.  We can question the intelligence and integrity of these so-called atheists easily based on their choice of idols. 

Mother Teresa was not a fraud, a fanatic, or a friend of dictators. She was a saint, a hero, and a friend of the poor. She died with dignity and holiness. 

Hitchens never lifted a finger to help anyone, just sat in his chair criticizing people who did help.  He promoted division bigotry and misinformation only tolerating those who had his narrow vision and intellect. Despite his writings, he never won the Nobel Peace Prize. He died from his own vices, alone, angry, and miserable.  

His memorial or funeral service was attended by a few people - old pretentious wealthy White men who love to explain things for others- in comparison to Mother Teresa's with his brother ironically reading from the Bible, a reading from Philippians.  Mother Teresa's funeral was attended by millions and by people from all faiths and walks of life. Hitchens claimed to be a Humanist, but evidence and history show Mother Teresa was the true Humanist who focused on humans, especially the poorest of the poor.  St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us!


What do you think? Post your comment below on Disqus.  Be sure to follow the rules so your comment can go through.  


Here are some references that challenge Hitchens' allegations and defend Mother Teresa's legacy:

*Sources:*

1. [The Atheist Vs. The Saint: Why Christopher Hitchens 'Hated' Mother Teresa](https://www.christianpost.com/news/the-atheist-vs-the-saint-why-christopher

- [Mother Teresa: Beyond the Image](https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Teresa-Beyond-Image-Anniversary/dp/0385491370) by Anne Sebba. This book is a balanced and sympathetic biography of Mother Teresa that explores her motivations, challenges, and achievements.

- [Unmasking Mother Teresa's Critics](https://www.amazon.com/Unmasking-Mother-Teresas-Critics-Bill/dp/1621640407) by Bill Donohue. This book is a rebuttal of Hitchens' book The Missionary Position and other critics of Mother Teresa. It exposes the flaws and fallacies of their arguments and provides factual evidence to support her sanctity.

- [Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light](https://www.amazon.com/Mother-Teresa-Private-Writings-Calcutta/dp/0307589234) by Brian Kolodiejchuk. This book is a collection of Mother Teresa's personal letters that reveal her inner struggles, doubts, and joys. It shows her deep love for God and her desire to follow his will.

- [Mother Teresa: The Case for The Cause](https://www.catholiceducation.org/en/controversy/common-misconceptions/mother-teresa-the-case-for-the-cause.html) by Fr. Brian Kolodiejchuk. This article is a summary of the process and evidence for Mother Teresa's beatification and canonization. It addresses some of the common objections and misconceptions about her life and work.

Labels

Catholic Church (791) God (410) Jesus (351) Atheism (344) Bible (323) Jesus Christ (289) Pope Francis (237) Atheist (229) Liturgy of the Word (198) Science (157) LGBT (147) Christianity (139) Gay (82) Pope Benedict XVI (81) Rosa Rubicondior (79) Abortion (76) Prayer (66) President Obama (57) Liturgy (56) Physics (53) Philosophy (52) Vatican (51) Christian (50) Blessed Virgin Mary (48) Christmas (43) New York City (43) Psychology (43) Holy Eucharist (38) Women (35) Politics (34) Biology (32) Baseball (31) Supreme Court (31) NYPD (27) Religious Freedom (27) Health (24) Traditionalists (24) priests (24) Space (23) Pope John Paul II (22) Racism (22) Theology (21) Evil (20) First Amendment (20) Apologetics (19) Death (19) Pro Abortion (19) Protestant (19) Astrophysics (18) Christ (18) Evangelization (18) Child Abuse (17) Donald Trump (17) Illegal Immigrants (17) Priesthood (17) Pro Choice (17) Police (16) Pedophilia (15) Marriage (14) Vatican II (14) Divine Mercy (12) Blog (11) Eucharist (11) Gospel (11) Autism (10) Jewish (10) Morality (10) Muslims (10) Poverty (10) September 11 (10) Cognitive Psychology (9) Easter Sunday (9) Gender Theory (9) Holy Trinity (9) academia (9) CUNY (8) Human Rights (8) Pentecostals (8) Personhood (8) Sacraments (8) Big Bang Theory (7) Condoms (7) David Viviano (7) Ellif_dwulfe (7) Evidence (7) Hispanics (7) Spiritual Life (7) Barack Obama (6) Hell (6) Humanism (6) NY Yankees (6) Babies (5) Cyber Bullying (5) Gender Dysphoria Disorder (5) Massimo Pigliucci (5) Podcast (5) Pope Pius XII (5) The Walking Dead (5) Angels (4) Donations (4) Ephebophilia (4) Pope Paul VI (4) Catholic Bloggers (3) Death penalty (3) Evangelicals (3) Founding Fathers (3) Pluto (3) Pope John XXIII (3) Baby Jesus (2) Dan Arel (2) Eastern Orthodox (2) Encyclical (2) Freeatheism (2) Oxfam (2) Penn Jillette (2) Pew Research Center (2) Plenary Indulgence (2) Cursillo (1) Dan Savage (1) Divine Providence (1) Fear The Walking Dead (1) Pentecostales (1)