The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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The High School Student News Site of The American School in London

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Forgetting to remember


The administration persistently tries to propound a certain motif or “theme” for the coming year. On September 11, Jean Kilbourne, a venerated expert on interpreting media and women in advertising, paid a visit to the school and delivered a lecture on these topics. Amidst a slideshow of risqué and often demeaning advertising, Kilbourne’s presentation was credible and contained many valid points. It served to reinforce the discussion of gender equity that has been pervasive in assemblies, classes and hallway chatter.

What The Standard editorial board finds perplexing is that the gravitas of this date, 11 years ago, was not remembered. Last year, all members of our community have held a minute of silence at 8:46 a.m. in remembrance of the tenth anniversary of the day that has rocked socio-political agendas worldwide. This time, there was no function, no announcement, not even a notifier with regards to the catastrophe that lingers in living memory. Whilst schools across the world were grieving the unspeakable horrors that Tuesday morning, our students were listening to an orator attempt to diagnose a problem that has no obvious solution.

It is not a question of school identity. Although our name dons the title of “American,” compassion and respect was shown worldwide. An institution or organization doesn’t have to be “American” to participate. Tragedy knows no flag or anthem; it transcends all cultures and nationalities.

What is shocking is that school-officiated talk of 9/11 was dismissed under the parameters that we are an American school overseas. Principal Paul Richards has announced that, as always, a minute of silence shall be held on November 11 to mark Remembrance Day. That being said, a mute minute should be added for 9/11 in addition, not in lieu.

It was announced that the themes of gender equity and how we construe media will segue on through the year. Not only is it a debacle with a very murky solution, but a conversation with legs. It is timeless and perennial; it can be brought up whenever and wherever. September 11 is one of 365 days.

In the aftermath of the attacks, The New Yorker published an issue dedicated to the thoughts and reflections on the day. One contributor, Aharon Appelfeld, wrote that he dreaded waking up the next morning, as he’d find “the unwanted memory waiting…the flood of what can’t be undone.”

It is a sentiment we all shared, however young we were. The memory of the day may be “unwanted,” but it is a memory we ought to give at least one minute to reflect upon. It’s the least we can do.

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