Today when I went to school, in homeroom, when I got there, the TV was on and it was the weird school broadcast that comes on every day. But after that ended Mr. Cutler, the Parent Liason and sort of Vice-Vice-Principle started talking about 9-11. He went on for a little while. Then we were shown this bizarre montage of 9-11 in New York. And then he talked about 9-11 in the DC area and then we saw another montage about the single tower, called the “Freedom Tower,” that is going to replace the Twin Towers. Then after that two poems were read by Mr. Cutler and someone who is in some of my classes. After that we had a small moment of silence. Then the normal day started. I was pissed off.
I was pissed off for two reasons. One, no one talked about the United States retaliation with the “War on Terror,” except for once, but that was in a tone of “that was the right thing to do” and not at all about the amount of deaths that occurred because of that. And number two, which is, the day before I refused to stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance. And several days beforehand.
The school counselor called my parents the first day. During 5th “mod(ule)” two days ago I was confronted by my homeroom teacher. He told me I was giving someone a hard time. I asked him about what. He said in homeroom. That’s all he said. I thought for about a minute. And said, “Oh, you mean the Pledge of Allegiance.” He said “Yes, now why do you refuse to stand up for it?” I said “for political reasons.” I am an anti-nationalist. I do not believe nationalism, or patriotism, is any system that anyone should be running — especially on children. If someone has direct sort of sworn loyalty to any massive group of people then their kind of getting rid of a lot of their personal freedoms, like now you are expected to volunteer in the draft. As an example I told him to think about Nazi Germany, which was extremely nationalistic.
There is an insulting poster in my cafeteria. It says, “A rainbow of cultures all under one destiny.” These words circle a globe; the only land-mass in the globe is the United States of America. Can you explain which fascist did this?
So, my mother told this teacher and the guidance counselor that she wouldn’t say the pledge either because she is a pacifist. My father looked up whether or not there are legal circumstances which force me to say this pledge and there aren’t. My friend Sam sent me his blog piece about the pledge and him: http://husseini.org/2008/07/independence-from-nationalism.html
So, back to being pissed off about September 11th, which still I am. My teacher told me that I should stand up for the Pledge of Allegiance because people DIED for me to have the freedom that I do. But many people died in 9-11 and the events that caused it and it caused and I didn’t have to stand up for them. I just had to sit still for a little while like I normally do in class.
We were given a small project, to make a “Freedom Flag” or something like that. We were all given little sheets of paper where we would write a poem or draw something that was then going to be laminated onto the flag. Mine was Mark Twain’s proposal for a new American Flag. All the stars are replaced with crossbones and the white stripes are now in black. It’s in a People’s History of the United States. Mark Twain spent the last years of his life protesting the Filipino War.
This poster is in the office of my school:
This is going to be kind of boring for me. At Back To School Night, two days ago, my mother came with me to meet my teachers. I’m going to skip most of it and cut straight to the chase. After the actual Back To The School Night had occurred, me, Mr. Jones (the school counselor), my mother, my homeroom and 5th mod teacher, and my English teacher talked about me and how I’m not sued to this sort of environment. At times I might think we are doing something wrong. The way we spoke about things I felt was a little unnerving, like I had some sort of problem. But I also felt like they all cared about me.
Almost all of my teachers look like and act like they came from a working-class background. After our talk with everyone me and my mother talked about how my teachers are oppressed people too. This made me feel a little guilty and sympathetic. My teachers must see me as either odd or confused or a little bit of both.
Today on the bus some kid said that America is the “stupidest, gayest nation there is.” I screamed “HOMOPHOBE!” The person next to me joined me. We pointed out that homophobia is a stupid and terrible thing. We pretty much made him feel really bad.
That’s all I got for today.