Alternate universe

More than anything else I’ve read, Another World is Possible presents an authoritative, well-researched, alternative point of view on what the 9-11 tragedy means to us all. It was quickly, but thoroughly, assembled by eight motivated 20-somethings within a short six weeks of the tragedy. The tone of this anthology—compiled from writings by survivors, rescue workers, activists, scholars and others—is deeply sympathetic and respectful of the victim’s of 9-11, but questions our nation’s response. The collection is essential reading for anybody who believes that the U.S. is a great nation made of good people, but who nonetheless questions our involvement and actions in the global community. The book was assembled for those who believe in the freedoms and privileges of the United States, but question the idea that “if you’re not with us, you’re with them.”

Another World holds 53 interviews, essays and previously published articles, grouped into six chapters. The first, “Not In My Name,” includes a letter from two parents to President Bush about their son who was killed in the WTC. They ask that Bush not use their son’s death as an excuse for war. “It makes us feel that our government is using our son’s memory as a justification to cause suffering for other sons and parents in other lands,” they wrote.

One of the book’s editors, Jeremy Glick, lost his father in the WTC, but is committed to a peaceful resolution of conflicts. His e-mails to and from friends as the tragedy unfolded are threaded throughout the book, and add a very real and personal feel. In the next chapter, “Some That Matter,” U.S. Representative Barbara Lee, who cast the only opposing vote to Bush’s war resolution, is interviewed. The “Blowback” chapter includes a piece on Ten Things to Know About U.S. Policy in the Middle East. Some of the quotes from our past elected leaders are chilling to say the least, and sadly offer me little comfort in thinking this war on terrorism will be over in my lifetime, or even the next 50 years.

Citing the many “small” skirmishes the U.S. has been involved in, but not counting Desert Storm or Vietnam, Larry Mosqueda, Ph.D., claims America has—through its policies and politics—killed 3 million people since WWII. If true, this would help to explain why there’s a lot of anti-USA sentiment in the rest of the world.

In the “Unnecessary Evils” chapter, our dependence on foreign oil is questioned as the chapter opens with the quote from George Bush Sr., “I will never apologize for the USA—I don’t care what the facts are.” In the “Collateral Damages” chapter, John Conyers Jr., a ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, asks for balance and prudence in bringing the persons and parties responsible for the WTC to justice. If we trample our own constitutional rights, he argues, we’ll slowly accomplish what the terrorists could not by subversively destroying the foundation of our democracy. Conyers quotes Benjamin Franklin, “They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Finally, the last chapter, “Where Do We Go From Here?” assembles some essays that promote actions anyone can take, some big, some smaller, to try and move toward a vision of another, more peaceful world.