Monday, September 24, 2001

Over the past few weeks some of the most chilling, most disturbing images of our time have been broadcast into our homes. These continued on Friday night with America: A Tribute To Heroes.

Muhammed Ali ("he's America's greatest hero and also a Muslim"). Regular all-American family men (Tom Hanks, Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen). Action heroes and vigilantes; men accustomed to mowing down terrorists (Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, Al Pacino, Robert de Niro). Grizzled bearded tuneless country singers (Willie Nelson - or Nellie Wilson as I prefer to think of him). And troubled divas with new albums to promote (Mariah Carey). All led in a righteous, strident, anthemic, downright vengeful version of America The Beautiful.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

I couldn't help but think of the message this was sending out. Imagine turning on your telly and finding the stars of the Ay-rab world [whoever they may be] on a sombre candlelit stage, singing "Afghanistan! Afghanistan! Allah shed his grace on thee".

I'm scared.

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