By Patricia Molloy (auth.)
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Extra info for Canada/US and Other Unfriendly Relations: Before and After 9/11
51 Technology and communication, in other words, have made accidents more global and more harmful in their impact, as for example with Chernobyl and the case of modern wars. Thus the more advanced the technology, the greater the likelihood of a catastrophe. Virilio builds on this theme further with Unknown Quantity, an exhibition he curated at the Fondation Cartier in Paris in 2003 that feature multimedia and photographic displays of the “greatest accidents” of the last century: from the Titanic, Chernobyl, and the Exxon Valdez, to the crash of the space shuttle Challenger and the attack on the World Trade Center (the “deliberate accident”).
And the narratives presented in this chapter tell a tale of two essentially unfriendly nations, each with an emotional investment in maintaining their moral (and sovereign) righteousness. The shock and loss felt by the Canadian public is no more and no less understandable than the defensive posturing of the American pilots and their supporters, particularly considering (1) the countries’ vastly different relationships to war and warfare and (2) the always already strained relationship between the two countries (which will be elaborated more fully in the next chapter).
As I remarked earlier in the chapter, Canada does not have as extensive a warrior history and has for decades projected an ethos of peacekeeping and diplomacy. Given our combat role in Afghanistan, and the military’s need to sell it to a skeptical public, a few heroes are needed to narrate a different (and palatable) story. Why else would, subsequent to the friendly fire incident, the status 46 C a n a da /US a n d O t h e r Un f r i e n dly R e l a t ions of hero be assigned for dying from smoke inhalation in a submarine fire?