A great article by AlterNet's Joshua Holland talks about origins of the "ground zero" terminology and how many people in the United States are choosing to deal with unresolved collective trauma by hateful treatment of Muslim-Americans. Later today I'll launch a series of related posts on our need symbolize collective trauma rather than re-enact it.
Excerpt from Holland's article (read the whole thing here):
Scientists building the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos referred to the coordinates where a test device was detonated as “point zero.” When the horror of nuclear warfare was unleashed on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the term “Ground Zero” entered our lexicon. The expression has come to mean the epicenter of a catastrophic event, be it a nuclear detonation, a disease epidemic or an earthquake. It is the point from which damage spreads, whether it’s radioactive fallout or a deadly contagion.That the site of the World Trade Center has come to be known as Ground Zero illustrates how the American public has come to fetishize the attacks of 9/11. It’s not an apt analog for the physical destruction that resulted from the attacks on the World Trade Center. But it is an appropriate metaphor for the virulent and socially acceptable bigotry against Muslim Americans that has radiated out from Ground Zero and spread across the United States.